10 Nutmeg Oil Benefits That Will Make You Use It More
Did you know that nutmeg oil has eugenol, which is widely used in dentistry to relieve toothaches? This isn’t it. The nutmeg oil benefits are abundant, and the ones proven by recent research are pretty surprising.
Let’s understand them in detail.
What is nutmeg oil?
Nutmeg oil is a volatile essential oil gained from the seeds of nutmeg through the process of steam distillation. The oil consists of various phenolic components, which are responsible for its unique aroma. (1)
Nutmeg oil has several fruitful medicinal benefits. It is widely used in the perfume industry. The oil has significant amounts of terpene hydrocarbons – approximately 90%.
About the plant:
Nutmeg trees are topical and evergreen. They can reach about 65 feet in height. Nutmeg is native of Indonesia but is also widely cultivated in India for its fruit. The bark of the tree is greyish black and its leaves are elliptical or oblong to lanceolate.
While its flowers have a creamy fragrance, the fruits look similar to apricots. When they mature, the fruit splits into two, and the crimson edible pulp is exposed surrounding the single seeds.
Dried nutmeg is greyish brown and oval-shaped with a furrowed surface of 1-1.5 inches long. The spice has a pleasant fragrance and warm taste. Hence, it is widely used in the preparation of meats, sauces, vegetable, and sausages.
Scientific name of nutmeg oil
The botanical name of nutmeg is Myristica fragrans.
History of nutmeg oil
Nutmeg essential oil has been used in various civilizations since ages. In India, Jaiphal or nutmeg was used to treat intestinal problems whereas, in Egypt, nutmeg was used against the plague. In those days, nutmeg was considered a delicacy. Hence, treatments with nutmeg were regarded to be highly expensive.
It is well-known for its antibacterial properties. Nutmeg is also elaborated in Ayurvedic medicinal system. It can be used for dental caries, fever, personal care product, headache, and digestive discomfort.
Color, Consistency, and Smell of nutmeg oil
- The color of nutmeg oil is transparent to pale yellow.
- The consistency of nutmeg oil is thin.
- The smell of nutmeg oil is pleasant, spicy, and fresh.
Note: The aroma of nutmeg varies according to its origin.
Properties of nutmeg essential oil
- Sedative – Helps in inducing sleep
- Stimulant – Stimulates several functions
- Relaxing – Relaxes mind and body
- Anti-inflammatory – Reduces the inflammation)
- Antiseptic – Heals all kinds of sepsis
- Antibacterial – Kills bacteria
- Analgesic – Reduces pain
- Antipyretic – Reduces fever
- Emmenagogue – Relaxes menstrual cramps and prevents irregular menstruation
- Anticonvulsant – Reduce epileptic fits and other convulsions
- Digestive – Promotes healthy digestion
- Anti-asthmatic – Prevents respiratory diseases like asthma
- Cardioprotective – Protects against heart diseases
- Hepatoprotective – Protects the liver
- Renoprotective – Protects the kidneys
- Antidepressant – Helps to cope with depression
- Aphrodisiac – Increases sexual power
Chemical compounds in nutmeg oil
Nutmeg oil is a rich source of Proteins, Folates, Niacin, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin, Thiamin, myristicin, limonene, α-pinene, β-pinene and sabinene, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Zinc, Carotene- β, and Crypto-xanthin –β. It also contains traces of lutein-zeaxanthin, which is a powerful antioxidant.
Health benefits of nutmeg oil
Though nutmeg oil benefits are abundant, the most noteworthy ones include:
- Treats leukemia
- Lowers high blood pressure
- Potent anti-collagenolytic agent
- Fortified with antioxidants
- Reduces inflammation
- Kills the microbes
- Creates hallucinations
- Helps cure renal problems
- Protects the hepatic cells
- Effective against seizures
1. Treats leukemia
Nutmeg oil is a potent essential oil and has multiple medicinal properties. It is a well known antioxidant and anti-cancerous agent. It contains methanol and its derivatives, which induces cell death of the affected cells. It is also found effective in reducing the onset of leukemia or blood cancer, especially in young children. (4)
2. Lowers high blood pressure
Nutmeg essential oil is a diuretic and diaphoretic agent. It reduces excess salt from the body through urination and perspiration. When excess salt is excreted, it reduces the chances of hypertension and works as a cardio-protective.
3. Potent anti-collagenolytic agent
Nutmeg essential oil has a collagenolytic effect. The collagen is the primary structure of periodontal connective tissues. It is an important group of proteins of the extracellular matrix, which participates in several biological events.
Resynthesis and degradation of collagen usually take place as it is considered to be the key process of tissues remodeling. The undeterred degradation of extracellular matrix and collagen plays a major role in the pathogenesis of periodontium disease and inflammation.
The enzyme collagenase plays a major role in the breakdown of connective tissues, augmentation of matrix metalloprotein, collagenase type 4, interstitial collagenase, and gelatinases. (5)
Nutmeg oil has macelignan in enough amounts, which helps in regulating the expression of MMp-1 & procollagen type 1 in UV irradiated human skin.
It also inhibits MMP-9 expression. Thus, nutmeg essential oil can be used as an anti-collagenolytic agent.
4. Fortified with antioxidants
In the destruction of several connective tissues and bones, bacterial antigen PMN produces abundant of free radicals. These free radicals are considered as generated oxygen species, which can harm different tissues of the body severely.
They can cause alterations in different mechanisms including DNA damage, lipid peroxidation, oxidation of enzymes, stimulation of release of pro-inflammatory cytokinins, and degradation of several proteins.
ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) can generate several moieties of free radical in intra & extracellular environment. (6)
Phenolic components and antioxidants have a positive correlation. Nutmeg essential oil is rich in phenolics, whereas its antioxidant capacity is found to be the highest in seeds and pulp. Nutmeg has high antioxidant potential and can inhibit isoproterenol-induced changes in hepatic markers and myocardial levels of anti-oxidant enzymes.
5. Reduces inflammation
Nutmeg oil is a well known anti-inflammatory. It plays a major role in tissue injury and other diseases. It is well known that neutrophils act as the first line of defense and next to it are monocytes or macrophages, T cells, and the B cells. On activation, inflammatory mediators are produced, such as anaphylatoxins, kinins, leukotrienes, neuropeptides, and prostaglandins.
Cytokines are even responsible for early response of IL-1β, IL1α, TNF-α, and IL-6. Other inflammatory factors are also affected such as oncostatin M (OCM), transforming the growth factor beta (TGF-β), leukemia inhibiting factor (LIF), IL-8, IL-11, IL-12, IL-17, IL-18, and other variety of chemokines that attract inflammatory cells.
The compounds limonene, α-pinene, β-pinene, and sabinene in nutmeg oil are known as 5-lipoxygenase inhibitors. The compound limonene works as a COX-2 inhibitor and has a significant inhibitory effect on the production of PGE2.
Terpene-4-ol, on the other hand, suppresses the production of TNF- α, IL-8, IL-1 β, IL-10, and PGE 2. α-pinene reduces pro-inflammatory IL-6 but does not suppress IL-1 β. Sabiene, α-pinene, and eugenol inhibit the production of TNF- α. (7)
6. Kills the microbes
Nutmeg is an antimicrobial agent. It can kill accumulated microbes naturally. In periodontal disease, the enamel of the teethers is coated with a thin film formed due to deposition of hydrophobic macromolecules of the saliva.
This thin film or pellicle provides space for attachment of microbes. The gram-positive bacteria accumulate and form colonies. Nutmeg essential oil is a natural anti-microbial agent and mitigates systemic toxicity.
7. Creates hallucinations
Nutmeg essential oil has been used from ancient times to create an effect of hallucination. The compound behind this activity is myristicin. In 1 gram of nutmeg oil, about 4% of myristin is found. Therefore, it is also used for insomnia and even slight doses of it are recommended in the treatment of depression. (8)
8. Helps cure renal problems
Nutmeg essential oil is also a renoprotective drug and has been used widely for the treatment of different renal issues. Due to prolonged hypertension, the way your renal functions gets impaired and even the kidneys are badly affected. (9)
However, this oil when taken in the diet with dilution can repair all kinds of renal impairments. Phenolics present in nutmeg oil works as a renoprotective drug and reduces inflammation in the kidneys by suppressing the proinflammatory factors such as IL-6, IL-1, and TNF-α.
9. Protects the hepatic cells
Nutmeg oil is hepatoprotective in nature and many studies have found that the compound myristicin in nutmeg is found to have extraordinary property of protecting the hepatic cells.
Myristicin suppresses LPS/D GaIN induced TNF –α concentration in serum and hepatic DNA fragmentation in mice. This hepatoprotective activity might be due to inhibition of TNF–α released from macrophages. (10)
10. Effective against seizures
Nutmeg oil has anticonvulsant property. It has been known for its effects against electroshocks and seizure tests. The essential oil of nutmeg showed a rapid onset of action and an anticonvulsant effect in a short time. (11)
The dose-dependent anticonvulsant activity was found against the electroshock-induced extension of the hind limb. Nutmeg essential oil also exhibits pentyl-enetrazole induced tonic seizures. The lower doses of nutmeg essential oil are recommended for proconvulsant effect and the higher doses are recommended for bicuculline and pentylenetetrazole-induced clonic seizures.
What blends with nutmeg oil?
Nutmeg oil blends the best with:
- Bay oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Almond oil
- Clary sage oil
- Coriander oil
- Geranium oil
- Lavender oil
- Lime oil
- Mandarin oil
- Oakmoss oil
- Orange oil
- Petitgrain oil
- Rosemary oil
- Thyme oil
- Jojoba oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Ginger oil
- Ylang ylang oil
How to use nutmeg oil?
Nutmeg oil can be used to treat various health conditions.
- For bad breath, dilute 1-2 drops of nutmeg essential oil with a glass of water. Use this mixture to gargle. Doing this regularly helps in killing harmful bacteria and gets rid of bad breath.
- The oil should be diluted with a carrier oil and massaged to relieve muscular pain and inflammation. It also enhances sleep and has a calming as well as sedative effect.
- Nutmeg oil is widely used in the food industry to add different flavors in food.
Side effects of nutmeg oil
- Nutmeg oil is a heavily concentrated oil and must be used only after dilution. It should be diluted with a carrier oil like grapeseed oil, coconut oil, and olive oil or almond oil.
- Perform a patch test before applying it on the skin to check if it actually suits you.
- Nutmeg oil has myristicin content in it. This compound is responsible to create a hallucination effect. So, excess dosage is strictly not recommended.
- Consult your doctor if you are on any other medication.
- Due to the stimulant nature of nutmeg essential oil, individuals suffering from epilepsy should refrain from using it.
- It must also be avoided during pregnancy and lactation.
- Nutmeg oil should not be used on children or toddlers because it can damage their sensitive skin.
- Nutmeg oil is a strong stimulant and hence, it should never be used for aromatherapy. It can cause depression, nausea, vomiting, and delirium if overdosed.