When you think of nutmeg, you may think of that spice in your kitchen pantry that you add to pumpkin pie, or other holiday desserts, but did you know that nutmeg has many health benefits other than just a tasty spice?
Ancient Chinese and Indian cultures have been using nutmeg for centuries, due to its therapeutic properties. Today, nutmeg is being used for alternative medicine to help treat certain ailments like digestive issues, arthritis, and other health concerns.
What Exactly Is Nutmeg Oil?
Nutmeg oil is created through a steam distillation process using the dried kernels of ripe nutmeg seeds. Nutmeg seeds grow from a specific type of evergreen tree that is common to the Spice Islands of Indonesia.
Indians would use nutmeg to treat digestive problems, while Egyptians used it to embalm their dead. In the Elizabethan era, nutmeg was thought to protect against the plague, thus gaining significant popularity with a high price tag.
Today, nutmeg is used for all sorts of products including candles, soaps, personal care products, and of course as a common kitchen spice to jazz up different recipes.
Many Uses For Nutmeg Oil
Studies have shown that nutmeg oil contains numerous amounts of chemical compounds that have tremendous health benefits, which make it very useful for treating issues like cardiovascular disease, viral and bacterial infections, and even cancer.
Not only does nutmeg possess anti-carcinogenic properties, it’s also known for its stimulant, astringent, narcotic, deodorizing, and aphrodisiac qualities that are used to help treat things like:
- Kidney stones
- Urinary tract inflammation
- Bad Breath
- Digestive issues
- Joint and muscle pain
- Skin disorders
- Hormonal imbalances
- Menstrual cramps
- Low blood pressure
- Respiratory issues, like asthma and colds
How To Make Nutmeg Oil
If you want to make your own nutmeg oil at home, it’s fairly easy to do, but keep in mind that it won’t be as potent as a pure nutmeg oil. Because nutmeg oil is traditionally extracted using a steam-distillation process with the dried kernels, making your own at home won’t be as concentrated. If you want to skip on making your own, you can get high quality nutmeg oil here.
Here’s how to make your own nutmeg oil at home!
What You’ll Need
- 1/2 cup of a carrier oil (coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, or grapeseed oil all work great)
- Whole nutmegs
- Mortar & pestle or blender/food processor
- Measuring cup
- Mason Jars (8 ounce jars work perfectly for this)
- Small glass bowl
- Dark-colored glass container for storage
- Use the mortar & pestle to crush the whole nutmegs into a medium-coarse powder, or use a blender/food processor and pulse the nutmegs until you get a medium-coarse texture.
- Pour 1/2 cup of the crushed nutmeg into a Mason Jar.
- Add 1/2 cup of carrier oil to the Mason Jar until all the nutmeg is completely covered.
- Seal the Mason Jar tightly and shake well until the nutmeg and carrier oil are thoroughly combined.
- Place the jar in direct sunlight, or somewhere warm, for at least 48 hours. Shake mixture every 12 hours during this process.
- After 48 hours have passed, strain the oil and nutmeg mixture through a piece of cheesecloth into a clean glass bowl. Discard the used spices. You should have a nice brown colored oil at this point.
- Transfer this oil back into the Mason jar and add another 1/2 cup of crushed nutmeg to the jar, then repeat steps 4-7. You can repeat this process 2-3 times, or more, to get a stronger nutmeg oil mixture.
- Once the mixture is to your liking (I do this about 3-4 times), pour the filtered oil into a dark-colored glass jar or bottle, and store in a dark, cool place.
- This nutmeg oil is intended for topical use only. Do not ingest.
- If kept in a dark, cool place, this mixture will last anywhere between 6 to 12 months.
How To Use Nutmeg Oil
Now that you have your nutmeg oil, you’re going to want to know how to use it for different ailments. I’ve put together a list of the most common issues you can use this oil for here:
To Treat Digestive Issues
- Add 5-6 drops of oil to a warm bath and soak for at least 30 minutes, or mix 4 drops of nutmeg oil with a carrier oil, and massage onto abdominal area to help alleviate appetite loss, diarrhea, nausea, constipation, gas, bloating, and gallstones.
To Relieve Muscle and Joint Pain
- Add 3-4 drops of nutmeg oil to a few drops of carrier oil, and massage on the affected area for pain relief.
To Improve Memory and Concentration
- Add 2-3 drops of nutmeg oil to a soft cloth, or handkerchief, and gently inhale.
To Reduce Stress and Anxiety
- Add 2-3 drops of nutmeg oil into an aromatherapy oil diffuser.
To Treat Bad Breath
- Add 2-3 drops of oil to a 1/4 cup of lukewarm water and use as a gargle, or add it to your homemade mouthwash.
To Reduce Gum Pain and Swelling
- Apply a drop or two of nutmeg oil to a clean cotton swab and apply it to the affected gums. Alternatively, you can add a few drops of nutmeg oil to your oil pulling routine to help relieve pain.
To Treat Insomnia
- Add 2-3 drops of oil to a cloth and inhale slowly before bedtime, or leave the cloth next to your pillow while you sleep. You can also add the oil to a diffuser next to your bed.
To Relieve Respiratory Ailments
- Use a few drops of oil in steam inhalation therapy, to help relieve respiratory issues.
Words of Caution
Nutmeg oil, as with most essential oils, is highly concentrated and should never be used without a carrier oil, as you can have an allergic reaction or gain a sensitivity to the oil. Always test on your arm first, before applying anywhere else, to see how your body reacts.
Nutmeg has a natural myristicin content, which has some hallucinogenic properties when used in excess. While this chemical compound is only dangerous when in an isolated form, and nutmeg oil usually has around 3-4% concentration of myristicin, always use the oil in moderation to avoid any potential side effects.
Another thing to be cautious about is the stimulant properties of nutmeg. As such, it’s not recommended for use on anyone with epilepsy, pregnant women, or children under six years of age.
I recommend starting slow with nutmeg oil, and only using occasionally when needed. It’s best if mixed with other oils, especially carrier oils to help dilute it and make it safer. While it’s unlikely to harm you if you practice safe usage of the oil, an overdose of oil could lead to hallucinations, visual impairment, vomiting, delirium, and prolonged sleep.
If you’re still unsure on whether nutmeg oil is right for you, check with a naturopathic doctor, or professional aromatherapist, for information on how to properly use any essential oil for health.
Have you ever used nutmeg oil to treat any health ailments before? How did it go?