Nutmeg originated in the Banda Islands of Indonesia, and was discovered by the Portuguese in 1512. The importance of the nutmeg seed was propagated by the Dutch. The name nutmeg is derived from the Latin nux muscatus, meaning "musky nut." In India, nutmeg is known as Jaiphal. According to the ethno-medical literature, nutmeg seed oil was used for intestinal disorders by Indians, in embalming by Egyptians, and to cure plague by Italians. In ancient times, nutmeg seeds were used in medicines as an aphrodisiac, abortifacient, and anti-flatulent, a narcotic, and as a means to induce menses. The effect of the nutmeg seeds on the central nervous system was first observed in the early 19th century. Traditional uses of nutmeg seeds include treatment of hemorrhoids, chronic vomiting, rheumatism, cholera, psychosis, stomach cramps, nausea, and anxiety. Nutmeg seed oil also has antiseptic, analgesic, and antirheumatic properties.
Was this article helpful?