Nutmeg And Mace

What other names is Nutmeg known by?

Jaatipatree, Jaiphal, Jatiphal, Jatiphala, Jatiphalam, Muscade, Muscade et Macis, Muscadier, Muskatbaum, Muskatnuss, Myristica, Myristica fragrans, Myristica officinalis, Myristicae Semen, Noix de Muscade, Noix de Muscade et Macis, Nuez Moscada, Nuez Moscada y Macis,Nutmeg, Nux Moschata, Ron Dau Kou.

What is Nutmeg?

Nutmeg and mace are plant products. Nutmeg is the shelled, dried seed of the plant Myristica fragrans, and mace is the dried net-like covering of the shell of the seed. Myristica fragrans is native to the Banda Islands of Indonesia. The tree is now grown in several other tropical regions, such as Malaysia and the Caribbean. Grenada is also one of the world's greatest nutmeg exporters.

Nutmeg is taken by mouth for diarrhea, nausea, stomach spasms and pain, and intestinal gas. It is also taken by mouth for treating cancer, kidney disease, and trouble sleeping (insomnia); increasing menstrual flow; causing a miscarriage; as a hallucinogen; and as a general tonic.

Nutmeg is applied to the skin to kill pain, especially pain caused by mouth sores, and toothache.

In foods, nutmeg is used as a spice and flavoring.

In manufacturing, nutmeg oil is used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics. Nutmeg oil is distilled from worm-eaten nutmeg seeds. The worms remove much of the starch and fat, leaving the portions of the seed that are rich in oil.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of nutmeg and mace for these uses.

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How does Nutmeg work?

Nutmeg contains chemicals that might affect the central nervous system. Nutmeg might also kill bacteria and fungi.

Are there safety concerns?

Nutmeg is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth and used appropriately. Nutmeg is a commonly used spice in foods.

Nutmeg is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in doses larger than amounts found in foods and for long periods of time. Long-term use of nutmeg in doses of 120 mg or more daily has been linked to hallucinations and other mental side effects. People who have taken larger doses of nutmeg have experienced nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, agitation and hallucinations. Other serious side effects have included death.

There is not enough reliable information available to know if nutmeg is safe when applied to the skin or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Nutmeg is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in doses larger than amounts found in foods. In pregnant women, it might cause miscarriages or birth defects.

There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking nutmeg if you are breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Infertility: Early research suggests that taking high doses might reduce fertility in men. Avoid nutmeg if you are trying to have a baby.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Drying medications (Anticholinergic drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Nutmeg might increase levels of certain chemicals in the body that work in the brain, heart, and elsewhere. Some drying medications called "anticholinergic drugs" can also these same chemicals, but in a different way. These drying medications might decrease the effects of nutmeg, and nutmeg might decrease the effects of drying medications.
Some of these drying medications include atropine, benztropine (Cogentin), biperiden (Akineton), procyclidine (Kemadrin), and trihexyphenidyl (Artane).



Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A1 [CYP1A1] substrates)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Nutmeg might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking nutmeg along with some medications that are changed by the liver can lead to a variety of effects and side effects. Before taking nutmeg talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include chlorzoxazone, theophylline, bufuralol, and others.



Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 [CYP1A2] substrates)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.

Nutmeg might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking nutmeg along with some medications that are changed by the liver can lead to a variety of effects and side effects. Before taking nutmeg talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include clozapine (Clozaril), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), fluvoxamine (Luvox), haloperidol (Haldol), imipramine (Tofranil), mexiletine (Mexitil), olanzapine (Zyprexa), pentazocine (Talwin), propranolol (Inderal), tacrine (Cognex), theophylline, zileuton (Zyflo), zolmitriptan (Zomig), and others.



Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2B1 [CYP2B1] substrates)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.

Nutmeg might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking nutmeg along with some medications that are changed by the liver can lead to a variety of effects and side effects. Before taking nutmeg talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.



Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2B2 [CYP2B2] substrates)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.

Taking nutmeg along with some medications that are changed by the liver can lead to a variety of effects and side effects. Before taking nutmeg talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.



Medications for Alzheimer's disease (Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Nutmeg might increase certain chemicals in the brain, heart, and elsewhere in the body. Some medications used for Alzheimer's disease also affect these chemicals. Taking nutmeg along with medications for Alzheimer's disease might increase effects and side effects of medications used for Alzheimer's disease. Some medications used for Alzheimer's disease include bethanechol (Urecholine), donepezil (Aricept), echothiophate (Phospholine Iodide), edrophonium (Enlon, Reversol, Tensilon), neostigmine (Prostigmin), physostigmine (Antilirium), pyridostigmine (Mestinon, Regonol), succinylcholine (Anectine, Quelicin), and tacrine (Cognex).



Phenobarbital (Luminal)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

The body breaks down phenobarbital (Luminal) to get rid of it. Nutmeg might increase how quickly the body breaks down phenobarbital (Luminal). Taking nutmeg along with phenobarbital (Luminal) might decrease the effectiveness of phenobarbital (Luminal).



Sedative medications (CNS depressants)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Nutmeg might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. In theory, taking nutmeg along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.



Various medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions (Cholinergic drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Nutmeg might increase certain chemicals in the brain, heart, and elsewhere in the body. Some medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions also affect these chemicals. Taking nutmeg with these medications might increase the chance of side effects.
Some of these medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions include bethanechol (Urecholine), donepezil (Aricept), echothiophate (Phospholine Iodide), edrophonium (Enlon, Reversol, Tensilon), neostigmine (Prostigmin), physostigmine (Antilirium), pyridostigmine (Mestinon, Regonol), succinylcholine (Anectine, Quelicin), and tacrine (Cognex).

Dosing considerations for Nutmeg.

The appropriate dose of nutmeg depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for nutmeg (in children/in adults). Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011