Nutmeg spices were a source of life in Indonesia in the 15th century. Later nutmeg was also found to be a source of aromatic oil which was used as a remedy to joint pain and inflammation, stomach pain and other digestive problems in Europe and in traditional Chinese medicine. Nutmeg is a versatile fruit; its seed, aril and rind are all useful. Enjoy this blog post which is mainly about nutmeg essential oil that comes from the seeds and more that you’ve never heard before!
History – Nutmeg Was Involved in War!
Records show that nutmeg trees are a native to Banda Islands in Indonesia. When the islands were conquered in 1621 by the Dutch that were in conflict with the Portuguese, English and the Spanish, a large unrecorded number of native Bandanese were massacred. Survivors left were used in forced labor – working in nutmeg plantations. The Dutch settlers brought along their workers but they didn’t know anything about nutmeg cultivation. Aside from supremacy as conquerors and colonizers, one of the reasons of the conflict was nutmeg which offered a very lucrative business at that time.
Nutmeg spices were valued at high prices in Europe while Indonesia was producing twice as much for local demand. In August 9, 1810 the British took the Dutch by surprise with a battle that only lasted for a few hours. The Englishmen uprooted a lot of nutmeg trees to be transplanted to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and other English colonies. During the 15th – 16th century, only nutmeg fruits appeared of value. After the British victory the essential oil became known having multi uses and benefits in Europe. Nutmeg eventually spread to other parts of the world.
Nutmeg is a tropical, evergreen tree that belongs to the Myristiceae family under botanical name Myristica fragrans. It is typically a small tree that only grew in the Banda Islands in Indonesia during the 15th century. Today it is widely cultivated in Sri Lanka, Sumatra, Java, Penang Island, many parts of India and the Antilles for its commercial values. A nutmeg tree can grow from 25- 45 feet tall (or more) yielding more than 2000 fruits per year when fully matured.
The trunk of a nutmeg tree is covered by smooth gray or pale brown bark. The tree bears flowers and fruits throughout the year. The sweet aromatic flowers are small; they are soft-fleshy in texture and pale yellow in color. Fruits are fleshy and oblong having only one seed. They are a source of pure essential oil, spice and food flavoring. It takes about 8 years before a nutmeg tree bears the first fruits.
The aroma of nutmeg essential oil is distinctively spicy, soft, sweet woody and slightly musky. It is best blended with clary sage, cypress, rosemary, orange, black pepper and lavender. Nutmeg oil is thin. It is clear to very light yellow in color. This all-natural oil is extracted from the dried crashed nutmeg seeds by steam distillation. Our undiluted nutmeg essential oil comes from India.
More Info: Every Part of a Nutmeg Fruit is Useful!
A nutmeg seed has two important parts, the SEED and the ARIL. The Aril is the net-like membrane covering the seed which is called MACE when made into spice. Both seeds and aril have many uses in the food industry around the world especially in Europe, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, India and other countries in Southeast Asia.
The RIND (shredded or dried) is also used in food and juice preparations. Nutmeg fruits take about two months to dry before they are crashed or grated to extract the essential oil; and also powdered for culinary uses. Nutmeg powder makes pumpkin and apple pies so yummy! No part of the fruit is thrown away! In addition, nutmeg trees are a source of oleoresins and nutmeg butter.
Aside from being an effective pain and inflammation remedy, anodyne, anticancer, stimulant, astringent and antispasmodic, nutmeg essential oil is again a good detoxifier. It is safe and effective when inhaled or used in massage to produce body heat that promote sweating. This is how toxins are eliminated either through the skin or the gastrointestinal tract. Simply Earth’s nutmeg essential oil is 100% pure, undiluted and all-natural. You can get all the benefits when you use it the right way.
Just like other essential oils in our shelves, nutmeg essential oil can be used in aromatherapy, inhaled, in massage or applied on the skin. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe food additive. It is rated as ‘Generally Regarded As Safe’ (GRAS) and as such it is best to use it in food only in recommended safe amount. Do not overuse it. It contains myristicin which is toxic in large doses that may cause nausea, vomiting or convulsion. Any essential oil taken internally must be upon approval of a certified aromatherapist.
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Please note: This post is a compilation of suggestions made by those that have extensively used essential oils and has not been verified scientifically with clinical tests nor reviewed by medical experts. It is anecdotal information and should be treated as such. For serious medical concerns, please consult your doctor.