The nutmeg tree is any of several species of trees in genus Myristica. The most important commercial species is Myristica fragrans, an evergreen tree indigenous to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas (or Spice Islands) of Indonesia. The nutmeg tree is important for two spices derived from the fruit: nutmeg and mace. Nutmeg is the seed of the tree, roughly egg-shaped and about 20 to 30 mm (0.8 to 1 in) long and 15 to 18 mm wide, and weighing between 5 and 10 g dried, while mace is the dried "lacy" reddish covering or aril of the seed. The first harvest of nutmeg trees takes place 7–9 years after planting, in case of bud / grafted plants it will take 3-4 years. Nutmeg is usually used in powdered form. This is the only tropical fruit that is the source of two different spices. Several other commercial products are also produced from the trees, including essential oils, extracted oleo-resins, and nutmeg butter.
Botany and cultivation
Nutmeg is a dioecious plant which is propagated sexually and asexually, the latter being the standard. Sexual propagation by seedling yields 50% male seedlings, which are unproductive. As there is no reliable method of determining plant sex before flowering in the sixth to eighth year, and sexual propagation bears inconsistent yields, grafting is the preferred method of propagation. Epicotyl grafting, approach grafting and patch budding have proved successful, epicotyl grafting being the most widely adopted standard. Air-layering, or marcotting, is an alternative, though not preferred, method, because of its low (35-40%) success rate.
Health Benefits of Nutmeg and Nutmeg oil
Nutmeg is extensively used in traditional medicinal preparations because of its various medicinal properties. Nutmeg is used as an appetizer as it encourages appetite. Nutmeg cures constipation and gallstones. It is also recommended in ayurveda as a tonic for the reproductive system. Nutmeg cures keratin menstrual disorders by regulating scanty periods. Nutmeg is used for curing sexual problems such as frigidity and impotence. Nutmeg is recommended for aiding child birth also by strengthening contractions. Nutmeg oil is used in ayurvedic medicine as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, analgesic, antirheumatic, carminative, digestive, emmenagogue, parturient, stimulant laxative and tonic. Nutmeg powder if consumed in low doses has several health benefits as the compound macelignan present in nutmeg powder exerts antimicrobial activity against various bacterial infections including carcinogenic bacteria. Nutmeg oil may be applied externally for relieving rheumatic pain, tooth ache, and for curing digestive upsets and bad breath. Nutmeg oil in combination with honey is a best traditional medicine for curing chronic diarrhea, nausea, gastroenteritis, and indigestion.