Nutmeg is native to the Middle East and the West Indies, and is cultivated in the West Indies, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. The tree is about 25 feet (7.6 meters) high and has aromatic leaves. The spice mace is obtained from the covering of the seed shell. Nutmeg is the kernel, which has been dried over heat in its shell. The spice has been used in cookery for many years. Nutmeg has been used in herbal medicine for hundreds of years, mostly for the treatment of digestive complaints, such as flatulence, indigestion and diarrhoea, and also for kidney disorders.
Essential oil of nutmeg is obtained from the dried seeds by steam distillation. The oil is white or pale yellow in color. It has stimulant and analgesic properties and is warming in its effect when used in massage. It is beneficial in the treatment of muscular aches and pains, rheumatism and arthritis. It can also help in the treatment of digestive problems, such as flatulence, indigestion and nausea, and can stimulate a jaded appetite. Its effects are calming and strengthening and can benefit those who are chronically tired, depressed and lacking in energy. Nutmeg oil is not recommended for home use as it can, when used in high dose, cause hallucinations and hypnosis. It is unsuitable for bathing as it is a skin irritant.
Warning: Use only under the supervision of a trained aromatherapist. Not suitable for bathing. Avoid during pregnancy.