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Ayurvedic Spice Cabinet: How Nutmeg Combats Insomnia, Inflammation & More
Nutmeg is a powerfully aromatic spice that gives a rich nutty, earthy flavor to any dish. It’s so potent it should be used only sparingly: containing a chemical called myristicin, which can induce side effects like hallucinations, dizziness and nausea, nutmeg should only be consumed in small quantities. Research suggests that 5 grams (or one teaspoon) of nutmeg is enough to induce negative symptoms, so it’s best to consume it sparingly; most recipes only call for ¼ to ½ teaspoons of it, and that tends to be disbursed over several servings.
When consumed in appropriate quantities, nutmeg provides a number of health and wellness benefits. In Ayurveda, nutmeg pacifies Vata and Kapha and aggravates Pitta due to its acidic, bitter and astringent qualities. A warming and nourishing spice, it is believed to stimulate appetite and digestion and to help one fall asleep.
Here’s a breakdown of some of nutmeg’s major benefits.
Health & Wellness Benefits of Nutmeg
Rich in Antioxidants
Containing cyanidins, phenolic compounds, phenylpropanoids and more, nutmeg’s wide variety of antioxidant sources make it an especially potent antioxidant powerhouse. The benefits of antioxidants are numerous, as they combat free radical damage, which can cause illnesses like heart and neurodegenerative diseases. Free radical damage also leads to signs of aging such as wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. (That’s part of why we include nutmeg in our UMA Ultimate Brightening Rose Powder Cleanser, which combats unevenness and promotes glowing skin.) Nutmeg both helps to protect the body from disease and to promote anti-aging.
Several studies have indicated that nutmeg may help to alleviate symptoms of depression, enabling it to boost one’s overall mood and to combat stress and anxiety.
Combats Joint Pain & Other Inflammation
In addition to its high antioxidant content, nutmeg also contains potent anti-inflammatory properties due to its abundance of monoterpenes, which are compounds that reduce inflammation. Several of its antioxidant compounds also contain anti-inflammatory benefits. This means that nutmeg can help alleviate inflammation, including joint pain and other inflammation-related pain.
Promotes Restful Sleep
In Ayurvedic medicine, nutmeg has long been used as a natural sleep aid. Simply adding a small pinch of nutmeg to a warm glass of milk can help the body and mind to relax and prepare one for a good night’s sleep. You can also add some nutmeg to golden milk for an extra-powerful wellness elixir.
Boosts Heart Health
Given its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, research also suggests that nutmeg may help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol.
In Ayurveda, it is believed that nutmeg boosts circulation to the reproductive organs and increases one’s sex drive. Several animal studies support this ancient intuition, suggesting that nutmeg effectively increases libido.
To reiterate, nutmeg is a powerful tool for sleep, inflammation and more, but it should only be consumed in small amounts. Take precaution when enjoying a dash of nutmeg with your milk or in your curries to fully enjoy its benefits.
- anti inflammatory, Ayurvedic herbs, ayurvedic sleep remedies, Ayurvedic Spice Cabinet, sleep, Words of Wellness
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