Nutmeg Essential Oil: properties, benefits, uses

Nutmeg essential oil:  properties, benefits, methods of use, contraindications and side effects. Nutmeg and mistricina.

Nutmeg, plant

The nutmeg is a spice obtained from the seed of several species of trees of the genus Myristica. Among the species most used for the production of nutmeg and its essential oil is Myristica fragrans, an evergreen tree indigenous to the Banda Islands in the province of Maluku (Indonesia).

The nutmeg plant requires a lot of patience: after the first sowing, it will take at least 7 – 9 years to get the first nutmeg crop.

Nutmeg essential oil

Nutmeg essential oil is rich in active ingredients that find wide applications both in the pharmaceutical field and when it comes to skin care.

In particular, it contains up to 60-80% of camphene, a water insoluble monoterpene widely used in herbal medicine and in the cosmetic sector. Among the other active ingredients we point out:

  • d-pinene
  • limonene
  • d-boneol
  • l-terpineol
  • geraniol
  • safrolo
  • eugenol
  • myristicin

The essential oil is produced by steam distillation. After extraction, the nutmeg seeds used lose any taste, smell and active principle and for this reason they are destined for combustion (combustible biomass).

Nutmeg and myristicin

In its pure form,  myristicin  is a lethal toxin to humans. Throughout history, nutmeg has been guilty of several poisonings. Excessive consumption of nutmeg can result in myristicin poisoning.

Nutmeg essential oil for internal use

Well dosed, nutmeg essential oil is used in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, food, perfume, herbal and personal hygiene industries.

It is used in the formulation of some toothpastes (thanks to the presence of eugenol, it can relieve toothache) and important cough syrups (it has a calming and disinfecting action on the respiratory tract). In folk medicine, nutmeg oil is used to soothe digestive disorders (it has carminative properties, therefore it acts on the gastrointestinal system promoting good digestion and preventing the accumulation of intestinal and abdominal gas).

Despite its uses, we strongly advise against the use of nutmeg oil for internal use. In addition to mistricin poisoning, there may be other contraindications and side effects.

High doses of nutmeg or its oil can cause convulsions, palpitations, dehydration, but also hallucinogenic and delusional effects. Myristicin is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor and thus exerts its psychotropic effect.

Nutmeg essential oil for external use

For external use, nutmeg oil can find a large number of applications even when it comes to DIY.

There is only one rule:  Before applying it to the skin, remember to dilute it in a carrier oil such as almond oil! Being highly concentrated (rich in active ingredients), if used pure it will end up irritating the skin! Make 1% dilutions.

Against joint pain
It can be used to prepare anti-inflammatory ointments, particularly useful to use to relieve joint pain. It has anti-rheumatic properties, it has a heating action which is also useful for dissolving muscle stiffness.

Purifying mask for oily hair
Thanks to its disinfectant properties, it can be used as a purifying mask for oily hair. For a synergistic action it can be diluted in avocado oil and mixed with green clay. How to prepare this hair mask?

  • A spoonful of ventilated green clay
  • 7 drops of nutmeg essential oil
  • Half a tablespoon of avocado oil

Make a localized massage by applying the mask. Let it sit for 10 minutes and rinse.

Relaxing muscle bath
After an intense workout, add 10 drops of nutmeg essential oil to the warm water of the bath, emulsifying it with a handful of epsom salt .  The nutmeg oil and splica has a relaxing effect on both the central nervous system and on all the muscles. 

Where to buy nutmeg essential oil

Nutmeg essential oil can be found in the most well-stocked herbal shops or by taking advantage of online purchases.

Regardless of the product you choose, go for a Bio branded product (certified by the Soil Association or other recognized body) but above all, make sure you buy a product that is 100% natural and undiluted!

Essential Oils

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