The 10 Best Health Benefits of Taking Nutmeg (Spice) and Nutmeg Tea
Who doesn’t love that sweet fragrance of nutmeg or nutmeg tea? That very pleasing aroma that just fills the house to every corner as that family spiced pie bakes in the oven; or perhaps that comforting broth made more soothing by the addition of this menthol-like spice.
For nutmeg tea lovers like I am, having a cup of nutmeg tea is just like having calmness wrapped in the palm of your hands. It's hard to explain how it can give you perceptions of being warm while being cool at the same time; how sweet yet earthy its flavor could be. It is amazing how such aroma seems to whisper into our minds, that we should take a moment to relax.
Fancy a Cup of Nutmeg Tea?
Since you are reading this post, you most probably are considering nutmeg tea as an addition to your current diet, or you may well be a tea lover too, in search of interesting alternatives to your current favorites.
Let me start off with a basic recipe for nutmeg tea. You may want to read on though for the many health benefits you’ll get from drinking nutmeg tea, a brief overview of nutmeg, and of course some guidelines for its safe consumption.
Ginger and Nutmeg Tea
2 cups water
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 piece ginger (1/2 cm)
1 teabag, or 1 tbsp. tea leaves
sugar, to taste
1. Boil ginger and nutmeg powder in water for about 3 minutes.
2. Add the tea leaves
3. Remove the pot from heat and allow the tea to steep for about a minute.
4. Strain into a mug.
5. Add sugar or milk as preferred.
What is Nutmeg
The nutmeg tree is an evergreen species of the genus Myristica which is indigenous to the Banda Islands of Indonesia. The commonly known fragrant spice nutmeg comes from the tree’s seed while its red lacy outer covering is a source of the spice known to us as mace.
It is best cultivated in tropic regions, and while Indonesia still being the most dominant producer up to the present, countries like India, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and the Caribbean Islands are making agricultural efforts to meet the current worldwide demand for these two spices.
Traditional Uses of Nutmeg
Prior to modern consumption of nutmeg tea, the spice was anciently used in religious ceremonies to induce hypnotic trances among its members.
This fact about its psychotropic properties must not be taken lightly and should remind us that ingestion of nutmeg in quantities beyond limits safe for human consumption could lead to several ill effects such as hallucinations, seizures, and even death.
Aside from the aroma that it gave to various food preparations, nutmeg is also commonly used as a fragrance for the home and body. At present, the essential oils extracted from this spice through steam distillation is widely used in the industries of perfumery and pharmaceuticals.
While consuming nutmeg in excessive quantities may have been proven to cause some serious side effects, it was well-regarded for its antifungal and antimicrobial properties if administered externally to the human body. It was then used as a very safe and effective remedy for skin infections and irritations.
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Recognized as safe when used in food as a flavoring agent. However, it's recommended for any pregnant or breast feed women to avoid nutmeg whether it’s spice or drink because of possible abortifacient effects.
Culinary Uses of Nutmeg
Aside from the preparation of nutmeg tea, this spice’s fragrance and slightly sweet profile go very well with a wide variety of savory dishes and sweet recipes.
It is, in its ground or grated form, used in practically every cuisine around the world to flavor everything from the Indonesian spicy oxtail soup, the ais kacang of Penang, Indian chutneys, the potato dishes from Europe, Japanese curries, to American pumpkin pies.
Its distinct sensory characteristics, made available in the form of essential oils, is also used to flavor baked goods, syrups, and beverages.
Health Benefits of Nutmeg
Incorporating nutmeg tea into our diets would totally make sense if we look at the wonders that this spice could contribute to our wellness. Here is a short list of how the human body can benefit from nutmeg or nutmeg tea to be more specific:
- Relief from Pain. Consumption of nutmeg tea or the addition of nutmeg as a spice to your dishes can reduce the sensation of pain from wounds, injuries, and inflammations, be it injury-related or chronic in nature like in the case of arthritis.
- Digestive Health. The fibers present in nutmeg, which is well-retained after grinding, stimulate peristaltic movement in the intestines, leading to improvements in digestive function, and reduce any likeliness of constipation. Furthermore, nutmeg promotes the release of gastric juices that are vital for better digestion. Nutmeg tea would hence be a well worthy substitute if taken for this purpose.
- Brain Health. Studies have shown that myristicin and macelignan, two components present in nutmeg’s essential oil, slow down the degradation of the brain’s neural pathways and cognitive function, which are symptoms common to people affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
- Detoxification. The consumption of nutmeg tea in conjunction with a detoxification regimen may be worth considering. Nutmeg can help eliminate the body’s toxins which generally accumulate in the liver and kidneys
- Oral Health. The active antibacterial components found in nutmeg kills the bacteria responsible for halitosis or bad breath as it is more commonly known. Having nutmeg tea regularly could also boost tooth and gum immunity.
- The cure for Insomnia. Small amounts of nutmeg in a warm mug of milk, or perhaps a serving of nutmeg tea supplies the body with high levels of magnesium which reduces nerve tension and stimulate the release of serotonin. This serotonin is converted to melatonin in the brain which then induces relaxation and better sleep.
- Fights Cancer Cells. Clinical studies show that a certain compound present in nutmeg and its essential oils can induce cell death, particularly in leukemia cells and potentially other cancerous cells in general.
- Skin Health. Topical application of nutmeg, in the form of a paste, has long been used to reduce skin irritation, inflammation, and lighten the appearance of scars.
- Better Blood Circulation. The presence of the mineral potassium in nutmeg effectively relaxes the blood vessels, resulting in reduced blood pressure and thus less strain on the heart. Nutmeg tea, as part of your diet, may certainly lead to better cardiovascular health. Also, the iron content of nutmeg can boost red blood cell count to slim down your chances of acquiring anemia or any other symptoms related to a deficiency of this mineral.
- Bone Growth. Calcium, another mineral present in nutmeg boosts the growth and repair of bones. Nutmeg tea, in this regard, may well be a good prevention against the effects of osteoporosis.
Precautions with the Use of Nutmeg
The safe use of nutmeg tea practically boils down to common sense in that much like most controlled substances; it must be used within quantities known to be safe for human consumption.
Some reading, or even better, a short consultation with a health professional should enlighten most of us on how to adjust the quantity of nutmeg for an individual of a certain weight or metabolic condition.
As a basic guideline when taking nutmeg tea, or nutmeg in general, is that it should not be taken in conjunction with any prescription medicine, nor should it be given to children and pregnant women unless advised otherwise by a doctor.
And of course, buying your nutmeg tea from a reputable source means that you’re getting nutmeg in a form that is unadulterated and regulated for safe human consumption.
It’s flavorful, fragrant, and easy to prepare. It is also proven to be safe for consumption within a very few, simple guidelines. All these on top of a long list of wonders it can do to our health, nutmeg tea may just be worth all the praise that it gets.
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