Throughout the history of nutmeg was widely used in medicine. Medicines prepared on the basis of nutmeg, were treated in ancient Egypt, ancient Greece and ancient Rome, it was thought that nutmeg activates the brain. Nowadays, nutmeg is widely used in cooking and perfumes, its therapeutic effects much less is known.
What it is and where it grows nutmeg
Nutmeg (nutmeg tree miristika) - an evergreen tree height of 10-15 m and more, with a dense pyramidal crown, referring muskatnikovyh family. The leaves are dark green on top, bottom - whitish, leathery, alternate. Year-round blooming flowers on the tree, in the sixth year of the tree begins to bear fruit - flowers turn into fruit. Fruit length of 9 cm, yellow, with one seed, a solid peel. When ripe, the fruit bursts and becomes visible seed, covered with a thin shell and juicy hard thin shell.
Nutmeg has been taken by the Portuguese from Indonesia in the 14th century, where it grows wild in the Moluccas. He loves a tropical humid climate with temperatures no lower than 20 ° C. Over time, the tree began to grow in all tropical countries.
Fruits harvested at the time of opening (up to three or more times a year). Securities products of this plant are mace and nutmeg, which are dried and used as a spice. The dried nutmeg (without hard rind) has a length of about 3 cm, an oval shape, brown color, at one end of the lighter and on the other - a darker. If the nut cut, you can see the marble pattern with alternating light and dark stripes.
Mace (mace) - a dried bag, which was concluded seed. It is obtained by squeezing the nut, so in the center hole is formed, dried in the sun and flattened by special rollers. Mace - a brittle, slightly transparent plate, a diameter of about 3 cm, with a hole in the center. The best varieties of muscat color is obtained from the leaves, lying closer to the seed. On the world market the most prized Penang mace.
The fruits contain a lot of nutmeg oils: essential oils it contains about 10% fat and 40% oil. The nutmeg also contain vegetable protein, starch, pigments and saponins.
Essential oil of nutmeg - a pale yellow fluid liquid with a rich, warm, spicy and sweet flavor. The essential oil has a complex composition, which include terpenes such (aromatic substance) as pinene, geraniol, ovgenol, dipentene, linalool and others. Moreover, the essential oil contained biologically active substance (myristicin, elemicin, safrole, etc.), which jointly interact with each other (some of which have sedative and other - stimulating properties) exert effects on the central nervous system similar strong synthetic psychostimulants amphetamine. Terpenes enhance absorption of psychotropic substances.
Nutmeg and mace have different aroma and taste, which allow to use them both together and separately. Subtle spicy and pungent smell of spicy taste of tropical gifts made them necessary in cooking and perfumes. Modern medicine uses this plant mainly in the form of external agents.
Medicinal properties of nutmeg
Nutmeg has a very strong stimulant and also a calming effect on the central nervous system, inhibits (slows down the formation of) the prostaglandin system stomach (prostaglandins - biologically active substances that cause inflammation), which promotes the healing of gastric ulcer and 12 duodenal ulcer, has antimicrobial and antitumor action, strengthens the immune system, the structure of the hair and cartilage, nerves and memory, heals various sexual disorders. In small doses, nutmeg relaxes muscles and soothes the body, promotes the removal of gases from the body. But large amounts of nutmeg is a poison, welcome it may even be fatal.
In traditional medicine, the East nutmeg in very small doses used to treat benign tumors, and for the prevention of cancer, to treat tuberculosis
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, Sexual disorders, hair tonic
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, The immune system and the whole organism, to reduce any pain. It was thought that nutmeg is useful in diseases of the muscles and joints, osteochondrosis, diseases of the stomach and intestines (including when swelling), nausea and diarrhea. Long-term use of nutmeg in very small doses helps to improve memory and strengthen the nervous system.
Outwardly nutmeg essential oil is used, mixed with vegetable oil (5 drops per tablespoon). So oil rubbed joints and muscles for pain, make compresses. A few drops of essential oil
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nutmeg can be added to the bath, stir it into the pre-milk.
Contraindications and side effects
Nutmeg oil is only used externally. It can not be used when you are hypersensitive, children (may cause skin irritation), pregnant women (causing a rush of blood to the uterus), people suffering from seizures and increased excitability.
Inside all drugs nutmeg in our country are not accepted: We have no tradition of treating this plant. Since nutmeg has many side effects (increased blood pressure
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, Palpitations, shortness of breath and so on), and it is fraught with fatal overdose, it is better not to tempt fate and apply it topically, and only as a spicy seasoning to dishes.