Nutmeg (Myristicae semen, aril)

Published September 18, 1986.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Myristicae semen, nutmeg seed.
Myristicae aril, mace.

Composition of Drug

Nutmeg consists of the dried seed, separated from the aril and coat, of Myristica fragrans Houttuyn [Fam. Myristicaceae], as well as preparations thereof. Mace consists of the dried aril of M. fragrans Houttuyn, as well as preparations thereof.

The spice contains essential oil.


Nutmeg and/or Mace is used for ailments and complaints of the gastrointestinal tract, such as diarrhea, gastric spasms, intestinal catarrh and flatulence.

The claimed efficacies have not been sufficiently documented.


Intake of 5 g causes a series of psychic disturbances manifesting themselves in a range from mild changes of consciousness to intense hallucinations.

With ingestion of 9 teaspoons of Nutmeg powder per day, an atropine-like effect was observed.

When taken in larger amounts, the herb has abortifacient action.

Safrole, contained in the essential oil, shows mutagenic and carcinogenic effects.

No mutagenic effects are known for nutmeg essential oil.


Since the effectiveness of Nutmeg preparations is not sufficiently demonstrated, a therapeutic application cannot be justified because of the risks involved.

There are no concerns for its use as an aroma or flavor corrigent.


MAO inhibition
Inhibits prostaglandin synthesis.