Nutmeg is a warming spice that is grown from nutmeg trees, which are evergreen trees native to the tropical islands of the East Indies. The trees are a member of the Myristicaceae family, scientifically known as Myristica fragrans. The nutmeg tree is unique in that two spices can be made from the one seed, namely nutmeg and mace. Nutmeg is made from the kernel of the seed, and mace is made from the aril, which is the reddish covering of the seed.
Nutmeg is considered an aphrodisiac and a curative, and is used to treat indigestion, detoxify the body, reduce pain, increase the immune system, improve circulation, strengthen cognitive functioning and regulate blood sugar levels. Nutmeg is believed to contain a compound called myristicin, that can potentially be used to fight cancerous cells. Nutmeg also contains antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
Nutmeg is a good source of essential nutrients like calcium, copper, manganese, potassium, iron, zinc and magnesium. It’s also rich in B-complex vitamins, as well as flavonoids like crypoxanthin and beta-carotene. Nutmeg is a popular spice for insomnia remedies because it contains a chemical called trimyristin, which is believed to act as a relaxant to calm the muscles and nerves. Other sleep-inducing chemicals found in nutmeg are elemicin, safrole and eugenol.
To use nutmeg as a sleep aid, just add a pinch to any beverage, and drink before bed. Warm milk works best, as warm milk can also induce sleep. You can also mix a teaspoon of honey into some warm water and add a pinch of nutmeg to that. Nutmeg is not considered a nut and is safe to be consumed by those with nut allergies. Allergic reactions to nutmeg are rare but they can occur, with symptoms including a runny nose, sneezing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, stomach pain and bloating.