Report on Nutmeg Side Effects and Usage


Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 – Contraindications: Pregnancy, lactation or any chronic disease of the gastrointestinal tract, such as stomach ulcers, duodenal ulcers, ulcerative colitis, spastic colitis, diverticulosis, diverticulitis, or esophageal reflux (reflux esophagitis).

Warning 2 – Antidiarrheals: Nutmeg may increase the effect of antidiarrheal drugs, monitor for constipation.

Warning 3 – MAOIs: Nutmeg may increase the effects of MAOIs too much. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 4 – Psychotropic agents: Nutmeg may increase the effects of psychotropic medications too much. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 5 – Drug testing: If you are subject to drug testing you need to know that ingestion of nutmeg can produce amphetamine derivatives through bioconversion of the phenylpropane derivatives in the human body. (See Medical Toxicology of Natural Substances: Foods, Fungi, Medicinal Herbs, Plants, and Venomous Animals by Donald G. Barceloux)

Used as a natural health remedy: Nutmeg is used internally for the following benefits and conditions:

  • Aphrodisiac
  • Cramps
  • Delirium Tremens
  • Diarrhea
  • Dysentery
  • Expectorant
  • Flatulence
  • Grand mal and partial seizures
  • Impotency
  • Inflammation of the stomach membranes
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Spermatorrhoea
  • Stimulates central nervous system
  • Stimulates muscular movement of intestinal tract
  • Vomiting

Externally, the nutmeg oil is used for:

  • Rheumatism
  • Sciatica
  • Neuralgia
  • Disorders of the upper respiratory tract

Side Effects of Nutmeg

There are no side effects on the body, either good or bad, when this herb is used in small amounts to enhance the flavor of food.

Overdosing on nutmeg causes a short period of euphoria and vision changes often followed by one or more of the following serious side effects:

  • Dry mouth and fever, which may result in dehydration
  • Facial skin flushes
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Psychotic episode, which can cause out-of-control behavior
  • Fatal cardiac event
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea and stomach spasms often followed by vomiting
  • Shock
  • Sensation of doom

Symptoms arise about 30 minutes to three hours after eating nutmeg and can continue for up to 2 days. These serious side effects require immediate medical care. It is important you tell the doctor that you have eaten nutmeg and how much.

Nutmeg is a spice used in cooking. Nutmeg is the seed and mace is the fibrous covering of the seed.

As with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. These may include a rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

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