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Nutmeg, Mace and Ginger; Health Benefits and Side Effects

Jo has been an ITU nurse at the London North West NHS Trust for 14 years. She obtained her RN at University College London Hospital.

Nutmeg Fruit with Mace and Nutmeg seed


The fruit, Mace Aril, and Seed of the Nutmeg Plant are all Usable

Nutmeg is a drupe like apricot, fleshy fruit surrounds a shell of hard endocarp containing a seed (nutmeg) enveloped by mace aril, a redish brown lace-like fibre.

Nutmeg is a drupe like apricot, fleshy fruit surrounds a shell of hard endocarp containing a seed (nutmeg) enveloped by mace aril, a redish brown lace-like fibre.

Grenadian Flag Proudly displaying the Nutmeg Fruit


A Brilliant original history of the Spice Trade

Nutmeg, Mace Ginger Health Benefits and Side Effects

Nothing shouts holiday quite as loudly as the aroma of ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon drifting merrily throughout the house. But those wonderful aromatic spices are not just for the holidays.

Many of the humble herbs and spices we use to flavour our foods have been around since time immemorial. These herbs and spices were used medicinally by ancient civilisations in the treatment of a diverse range of conditions. These plants from nature's medicinal chest, have a plethora of natural healing ingredients that benefit our health.

However, before you rush off to the shops to stock up on those exotic beauties, a word of warning. Some of these herbs and spices have a sting in the tail. When taken in excess, they can have dangerous side effects.

For this hub, I chose to look at nutmeg, mace and ginger, for my next hub I will endeavour to delve into the many wonders of the incredible cinnamon.

While the use of herbs and spices in complementary medicine continues to grow in popularity, comprehensive clinical research studies on the efficacy of natural treatment continue to be sparse; results are often mixed or inconclusive.

Natural herbal medicine has been known to have adverse effects and should be taken with care. Some may interact with pharmaceutical drugs. Therefore, always consult your healthcare professional before taking herbal medicinal products.

Grenada The Nutmeg Island

I was surprised to find that many of the exotic spices found in my local supermarket originated from my ancestral home of Grenada, also known as the 'Isle of Spice' or The Nutmeg Island.

With the 17th century craze for nutmeg and the monopoly of the Asian nutmeg trade by the Dutch, the British needed to grow their own. Grenada's climate of high humidity and high annual rainfall proved to be ideal for growing the valuable spice.

The two largest producers of nutmeg today are Indonesia and Grenada in the Caribbean.

Grenada is known for its top-quality nutmeg and mace; this buoyant industry contributes to the livelihood of many Grenadian. While visitors to Grenada are advised to enjoy the beauty of the island but leave nothing but footprints, taking home a piece of paradise in the form of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamons and mace are positively encouraged.

A Brief History of Nutmeg

Nutmeg is one of the oldest spice known to man. In the first century AD., Roman author Pliny described a tree bearing nuts, having two separate flavours, historians now believe that Pliny might have been describing the nutmeg tree. Pepper, clove and nutmeg have been referred to as the original holy trinity of the Asian spice trade. Nutmeg was brought to Europe by Arab traders from the Moluccas through India. However, the source of the precious spice would remain a closely guarded secret.

The Moluccas was not mentioned by the spice traders as the source of nutmeg until 1300 AD.

Physicians in Elizabethan London promoted their nutmeg pomanders as the only sure cure for the plague. That is how highly the Europeans regarded the nutmeg spice. The European valued nutmeg spice above gold; they fought wars for control of the nutmeg-producing Indonesian Islands. Many of the islanders were killed and enslaved in the pursuit of nutmeg.

Nutmeg became a valuable commodity that only the rich were able to afford. When King Henry V l of Germany was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in Rome, it was reported that the streets were fumigated with nutmeg and strewing herbs.