Myristica fragrans Houtt.

DeFilipps, Robert A. & Krupnick, Gary A., 2018, The medicinal plants of Myanmar, PhytoKeys 102, pp. 1-341: 125-126

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Myristica fragrans Houtt.


Myristica fragrans Houtt. 


Myanmar: zar-date-hpo, zar-pwint. English: mace, nutmeg.


East Indies. A cultivar that thrives in Tanintharyi Division, Myeik and Mawlamyaing townships; likes hot and humid climates; prefers ravines close to coastal areas.

Conservation status.

Data Deficient [DD] ( IUCN 2017).


Myristica fragrans  has an astringent, bitter, and hot taste. It is used in preparations for semen control and hemorrhoid relief, and also considered an important component of thway-hsay (literally means "blood medicine"), the traditional blood purification mixture, as well as tonics and medicines for male and female maladies. Unspecified plant parts are taken orally with warm water and sugar for blood purification, indigestion, insomnia, and tumors; with warm water alone, the mixture is used for gas, colic, diarrhea, and menstrual disorders. Oil: Easily digestible and fragrant, nutmeg oil stimulates appetite, increases strength, and controls fevers. M. fragrans  is combined with tha-na-kha ( Limonia acidissima  ), taungtan-gyi ( Premna integrifolia  ), and turpentine oil for external use in the treatment of tumors. Fruit: Given as a remedy for chronic diarrhea, digestive problems, spleen inflammation, and gas pain. Seed: A paste of ground seeds and honey is eaten to strengthen a weak heart and alleviate male-related dysentery. The paste made with cold water is eaten, licked, or applied all over the body to cure cholera; it is applied to the outer ear to relieve inflammation, and licked to overcome nausea. Seed paste applied topically clears pimples.


Medicinal uses of this species in India are discussed in Jain and DeFilipps (1991). Chemical constituents, pharmacological action, and medicinal use of this species in Indian Ayurveda are discussed in detail by Kapoor (1990). Indigenous medicinal uses of this species in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (India) are described by Dagar and Singh (1999). Medicinal uses of this species in China are discussed by Duke and Ayensu (1985).

The medicinal uses of this plant in the Caribbean region, as well as its chemistry, biological activity, toxicity and dosages, are discussed by Germosén-Robineau (1997).

Traditional medicinal uses, chemical constituents and pharmacological activity of this species are discussed by Ross (2001). A pharmacognostical profile including medicinal uses of this plant in Africa is given in Iwu (1993). Details of the active chemical compounds, effects, herbal usage, and pharmacological literature of this plant are noted in Fleming (2000). Worldwide medicinal usage, chemical composition and toxicity of this species are discussed by Duke (1986).

Nutmeg contains myristicin, a hallucinogenic substance that is dangerous when ingested in large amounts (fewer than three seeds). One product of the fruits and flowers of Myristica fragrans  is nutmeg oil, which causes convulsions after being ingested and has hypnotic activity from the chemical isolemicin; fruits and leaves also contain the reputedly psychotomimetic compound myristicin, borneol which affects the central nervous system, and the low grade hepatocarcinogen known as safrole ( Lan et al. 1998). The grated or powdered seed is the source of nutmeg, and the aril provides the source of mace.


Agricultural Corporation (1980), Ministry of Health (2001).