Nutmeg Essential Oil: Uses, Benefits, and Blends
The secrets of nutmeg essential oil are mysterious and evocative, telling tales of piracy, bloodshed, fortunes lost and gain and even underlies one of the United States’ most elite financial hubs and Britain’s incredible 19th-century global power. Here we tell the stranger-than-life story of Banda Run and how to use the most desirable and exotic nutmeg essential oil to heal mind, body, and spirit.
Scientific Name: Myristica fragrans
Plant Part: Seeds
Scent: Spicy, sweet, and woody
Composition of Oil: Sabinene, a-Pinene, B-Pinene, Myristicin, Terpinene-4-ol, Gamma-Terpinene, Linalool, (+)-Limonene, a-Phellandrene, a-Terpinene, Safrole, a-Thujene
Perfumery Note: Middle
Initial Aroma Strength: Medium - Strong
Extraction Method: Steam Distilled
Suitable Blending Oils: Lavender, Clary Sage, Geranium, Rosemary, Petitgrain, Orange, and other Spice Oils.
Nutmeg Essential Oil Benefits: Component Breakdown
- Sabinene - Sabinene is a dominant constituent in carrot seed and black pepper essential oils and contributes to the pepper’s spiciness. Sabinene has been studied for its possible uses for soothing skin eruptions, relieving arthritis pain, and digestion complaints. Sabinene is demonstrated to possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
- a-Pinene & B-Pinene- In a scientific study published in Molecules magazine in 2019, Salehi et al. proclaimed a-Pinene and B-Pinene as “A Miracle Gift of Nature”, citing their actions as including antibiotic resistance modulation, anticoagulant, antitumor, antimicrobial, antimalarial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-Leishmania, and analgesic effects.
- Myristicin -Myristicin is a precursor for amphetamine derivative compounds structurally associated with MDMA; it is thought to be metabolized into MMDA in the human body to produce hallucinogenic effects (See below.)
- Terpinene-4-ol- Powerful antibacterial agent.
- Gamma-Terpinene -Thought to have antioxidant properties.
- Linalool - A component appearing in many essential oils, clinical trials demonstrate linalool to have anti-inflammatory and anti-depressive properties.
- (+)-Limonene - appears mainly in essential oils that have been expressed from citrus fruit rinds, but also in some conifer resins. It is very good at cleaning things, able to dissolve oily residues, so is often found in cleaning products. In the same way, it has mild effects on thick conditions in the body, like phlegm, and can sometimes be indicated for bronchitis. Limonene also has a vital part to play in the insecticidal actions of trees.
- a-Phellandrene - is believed to reduce pain and increase energy levels, reduce pain, and may have potential as an anti-cancer agent. It is often added to perfumes and as a fragrant addition to cosmetics.
- a-Terpinene - antioxidant constituent.
- Safrole - has a characteristic sweet shop aroma, and is often added to e in root beer, chewing gum, toothpaste, and soaps. Safrole is a powerful insecticide and is also a natural precursor in the synthesis of the drug ecstasy.
- a-Thujene - Tends to be the constituent that gives herbs and spices their pungency. Thujenes are useful to relieve minor aches and pains, support healthy digestion digestive issues, reduce inflammation, and as antibacterial agents.
According to Chrissie Wildwood in her Encyclopaedia of Aromatherapy nutmeg essential oil is:
Analgesic, antiemetic, antioxidant, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, emmenagoguic & stimulant.
Historical Uses of Nutmeg Essential Oil
Historical successes of using nutmeg essential oil have included:
- Rheumatic pain
- Stimulating to the circulation and heart
- Supports the pituitary gland
- Diarrhea (chronic)
- Intestinal infections
- Aids digestion of greasy and starchy foods (Get the rice pudding out!!!)
- Bad breath
- Loss of appetite
- Scanty periods
The Historical Importance of Nutmeg Essential Oil
It is impossible to view the importance of nutmeg essential oil strongly enough because our everyday medicine chests now have antibiotics and all manner of clever drugs, but that was not always the case and, for a long time, spices were all doctors had. This tale is quite long and convoluted, but if it does nothing else, it will show you just how powerful an essential oil it is and just how desired in the past, nutmeg essential oil has been.
The ocean waters surrounding Indonesia are home to more than 17,000 islands, their unique climate has always been the perfect terroir for spice ingredients to grow. The fifteenth century was a time of great exploration of the area, especially by the Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese, hungry to dominate the lucrative spice market and to hopefully cut out Asian and Arabic middlemen who fiercely protected the islands’ locations allowing them to increasingly force prices higher.
High on the list of ingredients, the explorers wanted to locate was nutmeg, whose essential oil was being used as a treatment for the bubonic plague.
The Race To Find Nutmegs
Eventually, in the spring of 1599, Dutch ships entered the waters of the Banda Sea and finally located the eye-watering amounts of fragrant wealth their nation had searched centuries for. To fiercely protect the location of their valuable prize, they formed a trading company known as the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The brutality that ensued was dreadful, with the Dutch slaying much of the local Bandanese population to gain control of the evergreen nutmeg trees, these plantations, the only place in the world that had the right conditions and climate for the spice to grow.
The local population was oppressed and put to work as slaves. With the supply chain literally quite literally secured under lock and key, the Dutch spice trade monopoly was being hampered by just one thing.
In 1616, British explorers had scuppered their efforts a tad, by gaining control of one of the Banda Islands called Run; That shouldn’t have been such a problem, but despite the best efforts of the VOC to monopolize nutmegs, nature had taken a turn. Somehow, seeds had perhaps been washed up by the sea or excreted by a bird, and even though all nutmegs had previously been preciously protected and guarded upon one specific island, this tiny speck of land, less than 2 miles long and just more than half a mile wide, now also had nutmegs growing upon it.
The English claimed it as their first colony, formed the English East India Company, and in doing so launched the organization that would, by the 1920s, lay claim to one-fifth of the world’s population, The British Empire.
The Political Strength of Nutmegs
The British must have felt incredibly pleased with themselves, but it was short lived. They only managed to defend Run against the VOC for four years – but they steadfastly refused to give up their claim to Banda Run. For years, the English remained bitter until In 1664, the entire world was now in the grips of the plague. The British could take the Dutch behavior no more. In retaliation for the insults, they despatched four English frigates across the Atlantic in a bid to seize a seat of the colonial Dutch government, that could be found at the southerly outcrop of the island now known as Manhattan, by the name of New Amsterdam.
Only 2000 people inhabited New Amsterdam. Unable to hold out against the British for long, finally, they capitulated and submitted to their conquerors. But the situation was not improved, because now England and the Netherlands were now in a stalemate, and remained that way for years.
In 1677, since neither would give up their claims to the other’s islands, the two countries decided they would trade and ratified a treaty. Ownership of the islands was swapped. The Dutch gained proprietorship of all nutmeg territories, now having ownership of Banda Run, and the English gained control of New Amsterdam. They changed its Dutch name to something more befitting of England, New York, the place that was swapped for nutmegs.
What is Nutmeg Essential Oil Good For?
Like black pepper essential oil, nutmeg has a warming action, but really its most important action is on exhaustion.
Long-term stress causes the body to chemically signal differently. One of the main areas to suffer in these cases is the pituitary gland, which acts as a kind of foreman to the entire body, instructing and triggering hormonal charges.
When the pituitary becomes exhausted, then it no longer supports hormonal balance. The long-term effects of this in men might be impotence, loss of libido, or simply emotional withdrawal, apathy, lack of fight, and depression.
In women, clearly, periods go awry, but more pertinently, fertility is almost impossible. If a normal cycle cannot take place, then the body creates a problem called Corpus luteal deficiency syndrome which is a fancy way to say it doesn’t make enough progesterone to support the pregnancy.
Nutmeg is reputed to support healthy pituitary function and fertility.
Nutmeg Essential Oil and The Mind
Think about how the history played out in Banda Run...whatever happened, the fighting continued, there was a desire to succeed, a determination not to be bested, pigheadedness, stubbornness, or whatever the positive sides of these would be!
Nutmeg essential oil is not actually used that often anymore, which is a terrible shame because it is wonderful against the effects of stress. Potentially, that might be down to a scare that took place in 2019. Misinformation started to emerge that nutmeg essential oil was hallucinogenic and as such, the blog writer claimed, it should no longer be used.
Is Nutmeg Essential Oil Safe?
Both nutmeg and its naturally surrounding spice mace contain myristicin, which can, in turn, be isolated to help produce stronger psychotropic drugs, like MMDA and the more popular, potentially therapeutic analog MDMA which is being used to help PTSD sufferers to process memory properly. Nutmeg and mace also contain safrole, again, a compound that is a known precursor to MDMA.
That said, the difference between the concentration you would use to achieve these effects, is starkly different from the suggested maximum dilution of 0.8% that is recommended for aromatherapy.
If you are tempted to use more than that small dilution, perhaps take warning from the tales of Victorian jails where prisoners apparently consumed huge amounts of nutmeg for its narcotic effects, to protect them against the lurking germs and as a means of getting off their heads and mentally escaping the hellish environment surrounding them. Conditions must truly have been heinous for them to have so readily accepted the vile, severe stomach cramps, hideous diarrhea, and continuous painful vomiting that using too much nutmeg essential oil can also bring. Women too often found nutmeg acted as an abortifacient. The dilution of 0.8% seems small for topical application, but it is most certainly enough.
Nutmeg Essential Oil Uses: For Wholesale Purposes
Nutmeg Essential Oil Uses for Aromatherapists
Its actions are very similar in nature to black pepper essential oil, in that it adds heat and drive to the system, so again, it would be indicated for listlessness and depression to give someone a bit of oomph, but also to strengthen them, put armor on and make them more resilient to battle.
Similarly, like black pepper essential oil, again, you could consider using nutmeg digestive issues, circulatory problems, chills, and musculoskeletal pain
Nutmeg Essential Oil Benefits For Soapmakers
Tiny dilutions for a deliciously comforting aroma, but use with care.
Nutmeg Essential Oil Uses for Natural Perfumery
Nutmeg essential oil is a traditional component of floral, exotic, Fougere amber perfumes and chypres usually acting as an interesting top note, that has a woody dry down. A classic combination used is clove, vanilla, cinnamon.
For inspiration on making your own blend, perhaps sample CK One by Calvin Klein, Fahrenheit by Dior, or Eau d’Issey by Issey Miyaki
Also try blending with black pepper essential oil, coriander frankincense, or galbanum.
Nutmeg Essential Oil Blends: DIY Recipes
Nutmeg Rollerball for stress
- 10ml Jojoba Carrier Oil (Simmondsia chinensis)
- 1 drop Rose Geranium Essential Oil (Pelargonium roseum x asperum)
- 1 drop Nutmeg Essential Oil (Myristica fragrans)
- 1 drop Vetiver Essential Oil (Vetiveria zizanoides)
Method of use: Use on the insides of the wrists where there is good blood supply and fast efficient access to the bloodstream. In the first week, use up to five times a day, to build up the essential oils in the system, then drop to twice a day or as and when soothing is needed.
Safety: Not suitable for use during pregnancy.
Comforting Nutmeg Diffuser Blend
- 1 drop Nutmeg Essential Oil (Myristica fragrans)
- 1 drop Vanilla Essential Oil (Vanilla planiflora oleoresin)
- 1 drop Cinnamon Essential Oil (Cinnamomum verum)
Safety: Not designed for topical use.
Safety: Use in small dilutions as has been reported to be psychotropic! Do not use with the drug, Pethidine. Not recommended for use in pregnancy. Do not exceed 5% dilution.
Not suitable for use in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Tisserand and Young suggest a maximum dilution of 0.8% with Indian nutmeg essential oil.
Why Choose VINEVIDA?
At VINEVIDA, we love botanicals and the planet they come from. We believe in stocking the best at affordable prices and supplying to the discerning, which is why we are also members of both the Alliance of International Aromatherapists and the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy. In recognition of our excellent standard of product, we are proud to hold a 2021 Certificate of Registration as a Cosmetic Products Establishment with the U.S. Drugs and Food Administration.
Our joy at seeing people make beautiful things means we stock from the smallest amounts to the largest. Our wholesale essential oil prices begin with our smallest carrier oil of 120ml to our largest of 396lb, meaning any manufacturing company can afford to stock as many or as few oils their business can accommodate without running the risk of spoilage of some of nature’s most precious commodities. Why not see if you can save money by buying your nutmeg essential oil in bulk?
Don’t forget too, we like to look after our customers with reasonable prices and excellent customer service and reward the loyal ones with money off discounts over the year.
Why not check out if you qualify for our loyalty scheme and start saving today with an environmentally friendly choice of oil for skin, hair, massage oils, and soap making. Add Vinevida Nutmeg essential oil to your cart today.