Nutmeg – An Overview of a Psychoactive Spice with Therapeutic Properties

Nutmeg – An Overview of a Psychoactive Spice with Therapeutic Properties

In this video, I will be talking about nutmeg. Specifically, I will be covering what nutmeg is, its history, my experience with taking nutmeg, nutmeg’s composition, properties and uses, nutmeg’s affect on memory, and finally how safe it is to take. Nutmeg Article: | Nutmeg on Amazon:

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Nutmeg, now a common household spice, comes from the tree Myristica fragrans, which originates from the Indonesian Banda Islands (also known as the Spice Islands). The name nutmeg comes from Latin, nux muscat, meaning musky nut. Legend has it that when M. fragrans sets seed, the musky smell of the nutmegs is so overpowering that it causes birds of paradise to fall to the ground. This may have more to do with the narcotic properties of nutmeg than with its characteristic scent, but it is this musky quality that has made nutmeg a popular flavoring for both sweet and savory dishes.

Nutmeg has a spicy sweet musky smell that is earthy & pungent. The taste is similar, with piney undertones.
The Europeans weren’t exposed to nutmeg until the Middle Ages, and were introduced to nutmeg by Arab traders. Nutmeg remained a rare commodity until the sixteenth century when the Portuguese discovered that the Banda Islands were the hidden source of nutmeg.

After this discovery, nutmeg became a major European commodity. Trade was monopolized by the Portuguese and the Dutch, but eventually came under sole control of the Dutch after an extended military campaign in 1621 that left most of the Islands’ inhabitants dead. The Dutch ran the Islands like a plantation and mounted regular expeditions to eradicate sources of nutmeg outside of their control. At the height of its value, nutmeg was carried by Europeans as a display of wealth. Nutmeg graters became fashionable accoutrements, and diners would grate their own nutmeg at fancy restaurants.

The Dutch continued to dominate the trade in nutmeg until the nineteenth century when the British took temporary control of the Banda Islands during the Napoleonic Wars and were able to break the monopoly by successfully cultivating nutmeg in the West Indies. Nutmeg has subsequently become a major export product in the West Indies and is now featured on the national flag of Grenada.

The aromatic oil of nutmeg contains myristicin, a psychoactive substance that is chemically similar to hallucinogenic compounds such as mescaline. Its psychoactive effects could be attributed to metabolic formation of amphetamine derivatives from its core ingredients, elemicin, myristicin, and safrole.

Nutmeg and its active component, myristicin, produce central monoamine oxi­dase (MAO) inhibition as evidenced by the ability to lower the convulsive dose of IV tryptamine in mice and to increase brain 5-hydroxytryptamine concentrations. Although myristicin’s potency is not comparable to that of the more potent MAO inhibitors such as tranylcypromine and iproniazid, it seems adequate when compared with its low toxicity.

Nutmeg extract is associated with a significant anti­depressant effect in mice, which seemed to be mediated by interaction with the adrenergic, dopaminergic, and serotonergic systems. Nutmeg is associated with sustained increase in sexual activity in animal studies.

Psychoactive effects can be achieved by ingesting 5 to 15 g of nutmeg. Acute nutmeg intoxication produces palpitations, dizziness, anxiety, and hallucinations, mostly resolving within 24 hours, while effects of chronic abuse are reported to be similar to Cannabis use, including euphoria, giddiness, anxiety, fear, sense of impending doom, detachment, confabulation, and hallucinations. Urine drug screens are negative unless other psychoactive substances have been ingested.

In case reports, myristicin poisoning induced CNS neuromodulatory signs that mimicked an anticholinergic hyperstimulation state. Fatal myristicin poisoning is rare; 2 cases have been reported, 1 in com­bination with flunitrazepam (not available in the United States). Nutmeg also has sedative properties and can cause GI symptoms when ingesting excessive amounts. Other side effects include dry mouth, increased hunger, disruption to memory (positive or negative), etc.