Myristica fragrans, « Fragrant nutmeg » in English and « Muscadier » in French, belongs to the Myristicaceae botanical family. Native to Indonesia and widely cultivated in the tropics, it is an aromatic tree that can reach a height of 12 m or more. It produces two spices, nutmeg (noix de muscade in French) and mace (macis).
Nutmeg is used in various dishes, as components of tea, soft drinks and alcohol. In folk medicine, its oil is used as a stomachic, stimulant, carminative, for intestinal catarrh and colic, to stimulate appetite and control flatulence; it has a reputation as an emmenagogue and abortifacient. Mace is widely used as a flavouring agent, a hair dye and a folk medicine. It possesses antipapillomagenic, anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory activities.
The species’ main components are alkyl benzene derivatives (myristicin, elemicin, safrole etc.), terpenes, alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, myristic acid and trimyristin. Nutmeg and mace essential oils have different pharmacologically active components.