Aromatic Note: Top note
The dried kernel (seed) of the peach-like fruits from this large, bushy, tropical evergreen tree have been treasured as a valuable spice for thousands of years.
Another spice, Mace, is the bright red fleshy layer covering the kernel. Both are rich in volatile oils.
Nutmeg and Mace have been traded since at least the 1st Century AD, mainly for medicinal purposes. Later, it’s value as a spice was such that in 1512 the Portuguese successfully took the Moluccas Islands to monopolize its trade.
Origin: East India, now cultivated in Indonesia and the West Indies
Parts Used: kernel (seed)
Aroma Description: warm, suave, spicy-balsamic and strongly aromatic
Cosmetic Uses: perfumery, aromatherapy; ‘nutmeg butter’ is widely used in perfumery, soaps, candles, etc., and by the pharmaceutical industry
Culinary Uses: a key ingredient of tomato ketchup, it’s also widely used to flavor bakery products, desserts, drinks, meat dishes, vegetables, cheese dishes, sauces, and pasta stuffing’s. The flesh of nutmeg fruits are candied, pickled, and made into jams and jellies.
Medicinal Attributes: warming digestive tonic, antispasmodic, with antibacterial properties, used to treat diarrhea, digestive disorders, toothaches, eczema, rheumatic and abdominal pains, labor pains. In Ayurvedic medicine it’s also used to treat insomnia.
*Warning: Excess use can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, and delirium
Essential Oil: Yes, extracts, steam distilled essential oils, and alcohol/solvent extracted absolutes are all widely available. Nutmeg extracts are considered to have a more truer-to-nature aroma.