Myristica fragrans Houtt. Nutmeg has great medicinal value
By Ashwani Kumar
| October 27th 2009 06:30 PM | Print
Scientific Name Myristica fragrans Houtt.
Used Part Seeds
Distribution Area In India, it is grown in Madras State (Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Salem, Ramanathapuram, Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Madurai districts); a few trees are found in various localities in Kerala, Assam and other States.
Common Uses . Nutmeg and mace constitute the herbal drug `Prajana' possessing neurological activity. The drug reduces spontaneous locomotor activity in a dose dependant manner without affecting forced locomotor activity. It potentiated phenobarbitone sleeping time. In all, it exerted only a moderate degree of CNS depression. Mace is found to be non-toxic, whereas nutmeg has an LD50 of 1320 mg/kg i.p. In Ayurveda, nutmeg and mace are considered useful in heart disease.
Therapeutic uses on Disease or Syndrome
Similar crude drugs Bombay nutmeg is obtained from
Chemical Constituent--Analysis of nutmeg gave the following values: moisture, 14.3; protein, 7.5; ether extr., 36.4; carbohydrates, 28.5; fibre, 11.6; and mineral mater, 1.7%: calcium, 0.12; and phosphorus, 0.24%; iron, 4.6 mg./100 g. Nutmeg contains a volatile oil (6-16%), starch (14.6-24.2%), pentosans (2.25%), furfural (1.5%) and pectin (0.5-0.6%). The principal constituents are a fixed oil, a volatile oil and starch. According to the specification of the Health Ministry, Government of
India, nutmeg spice shall contain : total ash not >5%; non-volatile ether extr., not <25%; and crude fibre, not >10%; for medicinal use, it should contain not less than 5% volatile oil and not more than 3% ash. The flavour and therapeutic action are due to the volatile oil. The percentage of volatile oil in nutmeg varies from 6to 16%, according to the origin and quality of the spice. A sample from Travancore gave 10.2% volatile oil. Wormy nutmegs give a much higher yield than do sound ones; in the former, most of the fixed oil, present in the endosperm which tends to retain the volatile oil during distillation, would have been devoured by worms, while the strongly aromatic oil in the inner layer of perisperm remains intact. Commercial oil is derived from broken and wormy nutmegs. The material is comminuted, pressed to remove fixed oil, and immediately subjected to steam-distillation. Loss of volatile oil from ground nutmegs is relatively rapid (c. 80% in 2 months). Cohobation of distilled waters may be necessary for the recovery of the total oil.
The major components of oil from seeds are d -Pinene and d -camphene ; together they constitute c.80% of the oil.
Other constituents present are ß-pinene, dipentene, p -cymene, d - linalool, 1-terpinen-4-ol, dl-a- terpineol, geraniol, safrole, eugenol, isoeugenol, an aldehyde with citral odour, myristicin (3-methoxy-4:5- methylenedioxy-1-allylbenzene), myristic acid and esters of myristic and other fatty acids. Myristicin is toxic; when ingested in large amounts, it is liable to cause fatty degeneration of the liver