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Nutmeg

Nutmeg

The Banda, or Nutmeg Islands in the Indian Ocean, are twelve in number, and the strength of the Nutmeg in its season is said to overcome birds of Paradise so that they fall helplessly intoxicated.

The habitat of the tree from which our Nutmeg comes is the Molucca Islands, and the part of the nut which constitutes the Spice is the kernel. This is called generically Nux moschata, or Mugget (French Musquรฉ) a diminutive of musk, from its aromatic odour, and properties. The Nutmeg is oval, or nearly round, of a brown wrinkled aspect, with an aromatic smell, and a bitter fragrant taste. Officinally the tree is named Myristica officinalis, and the oil distilled from the Nutmeg in Britain is much superior to foreign oil.

Ordinarily as a condiment of a warming character the Nutmeg is employed to correct cold indigestible food, or as a cordial addition to negus: and medicinally for languid digestion, with giddiness and flatulence, causing oppressed breathing. Its activity depends on the volatile oil, contained in the proportion of six per cent. in the nut. This when given at all largely is essentially narcotic. Four Nutmegs have been known to completely paralyse all nervous sensibility, and have produced a sort of wakeful unconsciousness for three entire days, with loss of memory afterwards, and with more or less paralysis until after eight days.

The Banda, or Nutmeg Islands in the Indian Ocean, are twelve in number, and the strength of the Nutmeg in its season is said to overcome birds of Paradise so that they fall helplessly intoxicated.

When taken to any excess, whether as a spice, or as a medicine, the Nutmeg and its preparations are apt to cause giddiness, oppression of the chest, stupor, and delirium. A moderate dose of the powdered Nutmeg is from five to twenty grains, but persons with a tendency to apoplexy should abstain from any free use of this spice. From two to six drops of the essential oil may be taken on sugar to relieve flatulent oppression and dyspepsia, or from half to one teaspoonful of the spirit of Nutmeg made by mixing one part of the oil with forty parts of spirit of wine; this dose being had with one or two tablespoonfuls of hot water, sweetened if desired.

A medicinal tincture is preparedย  from the kernel with spirit of wine (not using the oil, nor the essence). This in small diluted doses is highly useful for drowsiness connected with flatulent indigestion, and a disposition to faintness: also for gout retrocedent to the stomach. The dose is from five to ten drops with a spoonful of water every half hour, or every hour until the symptoms are adequately relieved. Against diarrhoea Nutmeg grated into warm water is very helpful, and will prove an efficient substitute for opium in mild cases. Externally the spirit of Nutmeg is a capital application to be rubbed in for chronic rheumatism, and for paralysed limbs. The "butter of Nutmegs," or their concrete oil, is used in making plasters of a warming, and stimulating kind. A drink that was concocted by our grandmothers was Nutmeg tea. One Nutmeg would make a pint of this tea, two or three cupfuls of which would produce a sleep of many hours' duration. The worthy old ladies were wont to carry a silver grater and Nutmeg case suspended from the waist on their chatelaines. But in any large quantity the Nutmeg may produce sleep of such a profundity as to prove really dangerous. Two drachms of the powder have brought on a comatose sleep with some delirium.

The Nutmeg contains starch, protein, and other simple constituents, in addition to its stimulating principles. Mace is the aromatic envelope of the Nutmeg, and possesses the same qualities in a minor degree. Its infusion is a good warming medicine against chronic cough, and moist bronchial asthma in an old person. Mace is a membranaceous structure enveloping the Nutmeg, having a fleshy texture, and being of a light yellowish-brown colour. It supplies an allied essential volatile principle, which is fragrant and cordial. If given three or four times during the twenty-four hours, in a dose of from eight to twelve grains, crushed, or powdered Mace will prove serviceable against long-continued looseness of the bowels; but this dose should not be exceeded for fear of inducing narcotism.

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Nutmeg Essential Oil Aromatherapy: http://aromatherapy4soul.com/nutmeg.htm

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