Nutmeg (known as Jaiphal in India) is generally taken for granted in recipes like that of cakes and bakes. But did you take its health effects granted too?
I underestimated the values of nutmeg thinking that it was just a spice to perk up the flavour in soups, soufflés and cakes. If it was not available in the store, I never tried to hunt it down in the market too.
Ancient Beliefs About Nutmeg
- Nutmeg is a remedy for stomach cramps.
- It can alleviate cardio vascular problems.
- It can be a cure to plague.
- A great brain tonic to stimulate the brain.
- It can cure gastric problems, soothe stomach ache, stop diarrhoea and vomiting, and also enhance appetite.
- Provide relief from asthma, cold and cough.
- An excellent liver tonic to help detoxification.
Modern Findings About Nutmeg
Nutmeg can be used in the powdered form or as an oil taken from the seed of the plant. The nutmeg oil is a volatile essential oil used as a sedative, stimulant, relaxing, anti inflammatory, antiseptic and bactericide. It contains myristicin, elemicin, eugenol, and safrole. Other than for flavouring, due to its medicinal benefits, it also has a significant presence in cosmetics, cough syrups, toothpastes and the like.
- Its anti inflammatory properties makes nutmeg a great remedy for treating muscular aches, joint pains and sores. Topical use is recommended for instant pain relief from arthritis, rheumatism, lumbago etc.
- Using nutmeg in food will help your digestive system by aiding digestion, removing gas from stomach and intestine and curing flatulence.
- Instant stress relief is another benefit of using nutmeg wisely. It will tone the brain and enhance mental activity.
- As you relax and optimise your sleep with its sedative effect, nutmeg also works to lower your blood pressure.
- The anti bacterial properties of nutmeg kill the cavity causing bacteria in the mouth and keep mouth odour at bay. Treat toothaches by keeping a few drops of nutmeg oil in a cotton swab on the aching tooth!
- Use nutmeg oil as a cold rub for relief from colds and coughs!
- For kidney health and liver health, nutmeg is believed to be a good detoxifier if used in moderation.
A pinch or two can be used in your regular cooking to spice up the dishes. Too much of nutmeg can be toxic. It is not advisable to use nutmeg powder or oil if you are pregnant or are lactating.
Use and Storage of Nutmeg
Always use freshly ground nutmeg powder in your cooking. Grate the pod only when needed as a pod can remain fresh for a year. Store nutmeg in an airtight container and the used pod in a plastic wrap to retain its oil content.