A to Z Herbarium: NutmegPosted by Sara C. Snider on Apr 17, 2017 in A to Z Challenge, Fairytales and Folklore | 32 comments
Luck, Money, Health, Fidelity
Fun fact: Nutmeg is the seed of an evergreen tree native to the Banda Islands of Indonesia. The seed, while still in its husk, is shrouded in a lacy red covering. This covering is dried to become the spice mace.
Carry a whole nutmeg seed to bring good luck. It will also ward off rheumatism, cold sores, neuralgia, boils, and sties. (I’m not sure how it does all that from your pocket, but OK.)
According to an old Creole spell, if you sprinkle nutmeg into a woman’s shoe at midnight, then she will fall in love with you.
To ensure the fidelity of a loved one, cut a nutmeg in exactly four pieces (good luck with that). Bury one part in the earth, throw one off a cliff, burn the third, and boil the last piece in water. Take a sip of the water and carry the nutmeg piece with you wherever you go. Even sleep with it under your pillow (seriously, it is a part of you now). Your loved one will apparently stay true to you as a result.
Nutmeg is calming and can help one sleep. Sprinkling it in some warm milk with honey is supposed to be especially helpful. It also aids in digestion and whets the appetite. It reduces gas and excess acid in the stomach, and can help with discomfort caused by diarrhea. Nutmeg oil helps with joint and muscle pain.
Interestingly, in large doses nutmeg is hallucinogenic. However, taking such large doses of the spice results in vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal distress. It can also lead to heart and nerve problems. (So, you know, don’t party with the nutmeg). Nutmeg intoxication epidemics were apparently a thing in the early 1900s and then in the 1960s
Pregnant women shouldn’t take nutmeg medicinally, and one should not consume more than one teaspoon.
Cunningham’s Encylopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham, 2016, Llewellyn Publications