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(Myristica fragrans)

Other Names: Jaiphal, Mace, Macis, Muscadier, Muskatbaum, Myristica, Noz moscada, Nux moschata, Muskot.

Nutmeg is the actual seed of the tree, roughly egg-shaped and about 20-30 mm long and 15-18 mm wide, while mace is the dried 'lacy' reddish covering or arillus of the seed.

Nutmeg and mace have similar taste qualities, nutmeg having a slightly sweeter and mace a more delicate flavour. Mace is often preferred in light-coloured dishes for the bright orange, saffron-like colour it imparts. It is used in cheese sauces and is best grated fresh.Nutmeg's most common use is associated with coffee drinks, such as cappuccino, which are usually flavoured with a mixture of nutmeg and cinnamon.In Indian cuisine, nutmeg is used almost exclusively in sweets.In other European cuisine, nutmeg and mace are used especially in potato dishes and in processed meat products; they are also used in soups, sauces and baked goods.Nutmeg is a traditional ingredient in mulled cider and mulled wine.

The essential oil is obtained by the steam distillation of ground nutmeg and is used heavily in the perfumery and pharmaceutical industries for instance in tooth paste and as major ingredient in some cough syrups. In traditional medicine nutmeg and nutmeg oil were used for illnesses related to the nervous and digestive systems. Myristicin and elemicin are believed to be the chemical constituents responsible for the subtle hallucinogenic properties of nutmeg oil. Other known chemical ingredients of the oil are ?-pinene, sabinene, ?-terpinene and safrole.Externally, the oil is used for rheumatic pain and, like clove oil, can be applied as an emergency treatment to dull toothache. It is given in drop doses in honey for digestive upsets and used for bad breath. Use 3-5 drops on a sugar lump or in a teaspoon of honey for nausea, gastroenteritis, chronic diarrhea, and indigestion.Alternatively a massage oil can be created by diluting 10 drops in 10 ml almond oil. This can be used for muscular pains associated with rheumatism or overexertion. It can also be combined with thyme or rosemary essential oils. To prepare for childbirth, massaging the abdomen daily in the three weeks before the baby is due with a mixture of 5 drops nutmeg oil and no more than 5 drops sage oil in 25 ml almond oil has been suggested. In low doses, nutmeg produces no noticeable physiological or neurological response. Large doses of 7.5 g or more are dangerous, potentially inducing convulsions, palpitations, nausea, eventual dehydration, and generalized body pain.

The nutmeg tree thrives in a hot, moist climate, in a well-drained soil with partial shade.

Nutmeg requires a moist well drained soil. The roots will rot if kept in damp conditions.

When grown from seed, they should be planted singly in pots, and transplanted when 8 to 10 inches high. The trees will begin to bear in 7 to 9 years. Nutmegs are dioecious so both sexes should be planted. One male is sufficient to pollinate ten to twelve females.

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