Native to the spice islands (Maluku islands) of Indonesia. Nutmeg is a tropical evergreen tree from which the spices Nutmeg and Mace come from.
Nutmeg tree can reach up to a height of 65 feet and yields fruits after 8 years. When the fruits are ripening they split into two parts exposing the black coloured seed which is Nutmeg surrounded by a reddish coloured aril called Mace.
Nutmeg is covered by a thick shell, So the seeds(nutmeg) are dried and the shells are removed.
Both the Nutmeg and Mace are used as a spice and have amazing medicinal properties, Nutmeg is greatly useful as a digestive aid, analgesic, for skin and oral care and even to treat sleep-related disorders like insomnia.
Nutmeg for sleep: How is it useful
Good sleep is very important to optimize your overall health and is essential for maintaining proper brain function. Certain foods can actually help you to sleep better.
Nutmeg is one such food that can help you in getting better quality sleep and also in treating several sleep-related disorders.
It can improve the quality and duration of sleep
Research has shown that nutmeg may improve the duration and quality of sleep (1,2). A study conducted on young chickens had proven that the ligroin extract of nutmeg had significantly increased the light and deep sleep duration (3).
Nutmeg can treat Insomnia
Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which people feel difficulty to fall asleep or stay asleep or both.
Nutmeg can help you to treat insomnia and is still a popular medicine to treat several sleep-related disorders in its place of origin Malaku and also in India (4).
It acts as an anti-depressant
A factor that can influence your sleep is depression. The link between depression and sleep disorders is complex. Depression can cause sleep disorders and vice versa.
Nutmeg can be extremely useful to reduce depression symptoms and to improve your mood and further to treat your sleep-related problems.
Research conducted on rats using the nutmeg extract had evaluated that nutmeg has potential anti-depressant properties (5).
How to consume Nutmeg?
You can consume nutmeg in a variety of ways, here are some
Nutmeg with milk
If you have a habit of drinking warm milk before going to sleep, then just add a pinch of nutmeg powder to it before consumption. The sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan present in the milk and the amazing nutmeg powder can help you to have a better sleep.
Nutmeg with water
Add a pinch of nutmeg powder to a glass of water and just drink before an hour to sleep.
Nutmeg and Honey
Mix a pinch of nutmeg powder with a spoon of honey and consume it before bed. Honey is a great food that can induce sleep and adding a pinch of nutmeg powder to it will get you more deep sleep.
You can even consume a pinch of nutmeg powder directly without adding it to any other food.
Nutmeg tea can work great if you are suffering from any sleep disorder. Prepare the nutmeg tea by just boiling the water with a small nutmeg piece or with a pinch nutmeg powder along with tea leaves for 2-3 minutes. Then you can add sugar to it and you can even add milk if you want.
Nutmeg in your food
You can even consume nutmeg by adding a little amount of nutmeg powder to the foods you prepare like curries or as a drink topper.
Word of Caution
Please make sure that you take only a very little amount of nutmeg. A pinch of nutmeg is enough to help you with your sleep-related problems. Consuming high amounts than the advised can cause severe side effects like excessive thirst, nausea, vomiting, gastric problems.
Consuming large doses of nutmeg can be hallucinogenic.
In Ayurveda, Nutmeg is strictly prohibited for the patients suffering from Apoplexy and is also believed to increase heat in the body.
Where to buy nutmeg
Nutmeg as a whole will be normally available in any spice shops. A whole nutmeg is aromatic and nutty than the powdered form and stays good for years if properly stored. you can even buy the whole or powdered form from several online shopping sites.