Nutmeg-(Myristica fragrans) is the spice made from the seed of the fragrant nutmeg tree. The spice has a distinctive pungent fragrance and a warm slightly sweet taste; it is used to flavour many kinds of baked goods, confections, puddings, potatoes, meats, sausages, sauces, vegetables, and such beverages as eggnog.
The seeds are dried gradually in the sun over a period of six to eight weeks. During this time the nutmeg shrinks away from its hard seed coat until the kernels rattle in their shells when shaken. The shell is then broken with a wooden club and the nutmegs are picked out. Dried nutmegs are grayish brown ovals with furrowed surfaces. The nutmegs are roughly egg-shaped, about 20.5–30 mm (0.81–1.18 in) long and 15–18 mm (0.59–0.71 in) wide, weighing 5–10 g (0.18–0.35 oz) dried.
Nutmeg and mace spice contain many plant-derived chemical compounds that are known to have been antioxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties.
The spicy nut contains fixed oil trimyristin and many essential volatile oils such as which gives a sweet aromatic flavor to nutmegs such as myristicin, elemicin, eugenol and safrole. The other volatile oils are pinene, camphene, di pentene, cineole, linalool, sabinene, safrole, terpineol.
The active principles in nutmeg have many therapeutic applications in many traditional medicines as anti-fungal, anti-depressant, aphrodisiac, digestive, and carminative functions.
This spice is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. The human body uses manganese and copper as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for cytochrome oxidases enzymes.
It is also rich in many vital B-complex vitamins, including vitamin-C, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-A and many flavonoid anti-oxidants like beta-carotene and cryptoxanthin that are essential for optimum health.
Names in Indian Languages:
Hindi : Jaiphal Bengali : Jaiphal Gujarati : Jaiphal Kannada : Jayikai Kashmiri : Zaaphal Malayalam : Jathikka Marathi : Jaiphal Oriya : Jaiphala Punjabi : Jaiphal Sanskrit : Jatiphala Tamil : Jathikai Telugu : Jajikai Urdu : Jaiphal
Name in Foreign Languages:
Arabic : Jouza at-Teeb Chinese : Dou kou shu Dutch : Nootmuskaat French : Muscade German : Muskatnu Greek : Moschokarido Indonesia : Pala Italian : Noce moscata Spanish : Moscada