Myristica fragrans Houtt

Family ► Myristicaceae.

Habitat ► Native to the Moluccas Islands; grown in the Nilgiris, Kerala, Karnataka and West Bengal.

Ayurvedic ► Jaatiphala, Jaatishasya, Maalatiphala (seed kernel).

Jaatipatri, Jaatipatra, Jaatipatraka, Jaatikosha (mace).

Siddha/Tamil ► Jaathikkai, Saadikai (nutmeg); Saadippatthiri, Jaadip-patiri (mace).

Action ► Nutmeg—carminative, spasmolytic, antiemetic, orexi-genic; topically anti-inflammatory. Mace—stimulant carminative. Narcotic in high doses.

Nutmeg is used in flatulency, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Mace is used in rheumatism, chronic bowel complaints and asthma. When roasted, both nutmeg and mace are used for diarrhoea, colic, flatulence and dyspepsia.

Key application ► Dried seed and aril—included among unapproved herbs by German Commission E. Following actions have been considered: antispasmodic, MAO inhibition, inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India recommends the kernel of the fruit in spermatorrhoea.

An aqueous extract of nutmeg is reported to show anti-secretory activity against E. coli heat-labile enterotoxin; the hexane soluble fraction of the alcoholic extract inhibited the heat-labile and heat-stable-enterotoxin-induced secretory response in animal studies.

Myroxylon balsamum Harms. 429

The hexane extract contains myris-ticin, an anti-inflammatory principle, and licarin-B and dehydro di-isoeugenol which exhibited CNS depressant properties. The extracts of nutmeg decreased kidney prostaglan-din levels in rats. They also inhibited platelet aggregation (due to eugenol and isoeugenol). The anti-inflammatory activity observed in carrage-enan-induced oedema in rats and enhanced vascular permeability in mice, are attributed to myristicin present in mace.

Mace also activates hepatic detoxification process. Monomeric and dimer-ic phenyl propanoids (myristicin, de-hydro diisoeugenol) from mace, on p.o. administration in mice, produced suppression of lipid peroxidation in liver.

Seeds contain about 0.24% myris-ticin, whereas volatile oil about 3.12%.

The resorcinols, malabaricones B and C, isolated from the seed coat (mace) exhibited strong antibacterial and antifungal activities. Neoplasm inhibitors, phenylpropyl derivatives, have been isolated from pulverized mace.

Dosage ► Endosperm of dried seed (kernel of fruit)—0.5-1.0 g powder. (API, Vol. I.)

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