Why Nutmeg Is So Popular
The popularity of nutmeg can be traced far back to the 15th century. It was brought to Europe during the middle ages by the Arabs and its name is derived from early French which means the ‘musky nut.’ Although nutmeg today is quite affordable, centuries back, it was heavily prized and owned only by the rich. Moreover, the nutmeg trade was a very serious affair back then and left many world explorers fighting over it!
Nutmeg was originally native to the Spice Islands (Moluccas) of Eastern Indonesia. Its scientific name is Myristica fragrans and it belongs to the Myristicaceae family. It is an evergreen tree, standing 50 meters tall and the first harvest of the takes place within seven to nine years of planting!
Nutmeg comes with its fair share of benefits. It is not only used in the culinary world but also in the field of medicine. You can experiment with nutmeg in your kitchen. Be it delicious pumpkin pies or savoury meat dishes, just a dash of nutmeg adds a whole new complexity to a dish. This is because this spice has a strong fragrance and a light tinge of sweet taste.
Nutmeg is widely used in Asian and Western cuisines as is used to add flavour to different varieties of baked goods, puddings, confection, pies, potatoes, meats, sausages, vegetables, and beverages like eggnog, coffee, etc. Nutmeg includes beneficial components like manganese, dietary fibre, thiamine, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, copper and macelignan. With such a longstanding history and a huge number of benefits, it’s no wonder then, that this holiday spice is so popular!
Benefits Of Nutmeg
- The essential oil, (macelignan) is used as a stimulant
- It helps in relieving stress
- It is also an effective sedative and has anti-inflammatory properties
- It helps in relieving body pains, muscle ache, toothache and also acts as a muscle relaxant
- Nutmeg’s anti-inflammatory and stimulant properties work wonders on the skin as well
- This spice also helps in alleviating indigestion, flatulence, constipation, etc. and promotes detoxification of the body
Beware, because when consumed in large amounts, nutmeg has psychoactive effects and is also known to be a hallucinogen. It may also cause convulsions, palpitations, nausea, dry mouth, etc. During the 19th century, nutmeg was also used as an abortifacient to avoid unwanted pregnancy. So, keep a track of the quantity you consume.