Nutmeg as aphrodisiac

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nutmeg aphrodisiac

Nutmeg has been well-known for centuries because of its medicinal properties. Nutmeg has been widely used since AD 540 when it was brought from India to Constantinople. It was used as a cosmetic to remove freckles. Medicinally, it was first mentioned by Avicenna in the 11th century, who called it "the nut of Banda." It was given for stomach upsets, headaches, and to ease gas. It has also been taken as a hallucinogen. The essential oil is good for rheumatic pain.

Among the Arabs it has been used to treat digestive problems and also been valued as an aphrodisiac; the Indians used it to combat asthma and heart complaints and still use it as a sedative. The Hindus embraced the spice for its more sensual properties as a stimulant in raising body heat and sweetening breath.

St. Hildegard, the sibyl of the Rhine, wrote down her medical discoveries in 1147, including the pharmaceutical properties of nutmeg. In this period, popular belief held that getting a nutmeg at New Year and keeping it in your pocket throughout the year would prevent you from breaking even the smallest bone.

During the Renaissance, nutmeg was still considered a preventive medicine by western medical authorities but its properties were usually used to treat memory loss, dizziness and blood in the urine.

Nicholas Culpeper (1616-54), the famous English herbalist, attributes to nutmeg the capacity to induce sleep delirium. William Salmon, on the other hand, said that the oil of mace or nutmegs, if rubbed on the genitals, excited sexual passion (thereby echoing the Arabs' use of its aphrodisiac qualities).

Nutmeg also was seen as having magical properties and is one of the ingredients of a magical perfume described in the most famous of all the grimoires, or black books of the sorcerers, The Key of Solomon the King. The use of nutmeg as a magical medicine continued far into the twentieth century in England. The belief that carrying nutmeg in the pocket could cure various complaints has been recorded from various parts of the country. In Yorkshire it was considered as the best way to relieve rheumatic pain, in Lincolnshire it was said to cure backache and in Devon it was eaten to clear up boils. Elsewhere it was used by gardeners as a prophylactic measure against the occupational hazard of backache. As late as 1966 a Hampshire coalman who suffered from lumbago was told to carry nutmeg, and when he did so he swore he never suffered from it again.

Nutmeg was also believed to be lucky in gambling. A newspaper article from the mid-1960s reported that an individual sprinkled nutmeg powder on their football pools coupon and, on the advice of a gypsy, left it for twenty-four hours before posting it.

This baking spice with a bite is well known in the medical community to be a narcotic. In large doses it can be hallucinogenic. In even larger doses, it is strongly stimulant, hallucinogenic, and toxic. The consumption of just 2 whole nutmegs has been known to cause death. Myristicin is the constituent most responsible for this toxicity, and it is also hallucinogenic.

Because of its psychoactive properties it has been known as a substitute for narcotic substances that for one reason or another were unavailable or unaffordable. Thus prisoners, soldiers, seamen and struggling musicians were among its users. A jazz musician who played regularly with the legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker (known as 'Bird') recalled that: 'Bird introduced this nutmeg to the guys. It was a cheap and legal high. You can take it in milk or Coca-Cola. The grocer across the street came over to the club owner and said, "I know you do all this baking because I sell from eight to ten nutmegs a day." And the owner came back and looked at the bandstand and there was a whole pile of nutmeg boxes.'' In 1946, before his conversion to Islam, Malcolm X used nutmeg whilst in jail when his supplies of marijuana ran out. In his autobiography he wrote: 'I first got high in Charlestown [prison] on nutmeg. My cellmate was among at least a hundred nutmeg men who, for money or cigarettes, bought from kitchen worker inmates’ penny matchboxes full of stolen nutmeg. I grabbed a box as though it were a pound of heavy drugs. Stirred into a glass of cold water, a penny matchbox full of nutmeg had the kick of three or four reefers.' When the authorities became aware of such uses of nutmeg it was removed from many prison kitchens.

Researches dealing with the potency of nutmeg as an aphrodisiac substance found out that at low dosage it is capable of increasing the sexual activity, increasing both libido and potency which might be attributed to its nervous stimulating property, of most males without any conspicuous adverse effects; thus providing a scientific rationale for the traditional use of nutmeg in the management of male sexual disorders.


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