The nutmeg tree is any of several species of trees in genus Myristica. The most important commercial species is Myristica fragrans, an evergreen tree indigenous to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas of Indonesia.
The nutmeg tree is important for two spices derived from the fruit: nutmeg and mace.
Nutmeg is the seed of the tree, roughly egg-shaped and about 20 to 30 mm long and 15 to 18 mm wide, and weighing between 5 and 10 g dried, while mace is the dried "lacy" reddish covering or aril of the seed. The first harvest of nutmeg trees takes place 7–9 years after planting, and the trees reach full production after 20 years. Nutmeg is usually used in powdered form. This is the only tropical fruit that is the source of two different spices. Several other commercial products are also produced from the trees, including essential oils, extracted oleoresins, and nutmeg butter.The common or fragrant nutmeg, Myristica fragrans, native to the Banda Islands of Indonesia, is also grown in Penang Island in Malaysia and the Caribbean, especially in Grenada. It also grows in Kerala, a state in southern India. Other species of nutmeg include Papuan nutmeg M. argentea from New Guinea, and M. malabarica from India.
Just a little nutmeg grated into soup or sauce, or a few drops of nutmeg essential oil rubbed on the skin, can do a world of good for your health. Take a look at the healing benefits of this rich, aromatic spice.
Nutmeg aids sleep. A dusting of nutmeg adds aroma and enhances the taste of your food. It also gives you trace minerals that keep the immune system strong. Potassium, calcium, iron and manganese are among key minerals found in nutmeg.
Just a little nutmeg, ground and mixed with water or honey into a paste, can make skin look clearer and brighter within a few days, reducing scars and alleviating acne. You can also add nutmeg to your face scrub for the same benefits.
For centuries, nutmeg has been used as a medicinal spice that brings relief from digestive problems. So grate a little nutmeg into your soups and stews for a boost of flavor and a healty.
The star spice in dental care has traditionally been clove. But few might know that nutmeg too has proven antibacterial properties that protect the teeth and gums. Nutmeg oil has eugenol, which brings relief from toothache. That’s why you often find it listed among the ingredients of toothpaste. Combined with cinnamon, it makes a powerful antiseptic, antimicrobial paste.
Nutmeg keeps the brain sharp! It contains a natural organic compound called myristicin, which is known to shield your brain against degenerative disease.
The essential oil of nutmeg brings relief from muscular and joint pain. Apply it to a localized area of swelling and discomfort, and feel the pain melt away.
In holistic medicine, nutmeg is often prescribed to rev up blood circulation and treat kidney infections. Traditional healers believe it also strengthens the liver.
A note of caution: It is almost impossible to overuse nutmeg, because all you need is a tiny dusting of it to reap its taste and nutrition benefits. Even so, I must state that overuse of nutmeg is known to cause palpitations, sweating, hallucination and other discomforts, so do use this wonder spice in moderation.
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