Myristica fragrans Houtt.

Myristica fragrans Houtt.                                                         

Botanical Name:                  Myristica fragrans Houtt.Myristica-fragrans-Houtt.st_

Synonym:                              Myristica officinalis L. f.

Kingdom:                              Plantae

Order:                                     Magnoliales

Genus:                                   Myristica

Family:                                   Myristicaceae

Species:                                  M. fragrans

Sindhi Name:                       Jafar

Local Name:                         Jaifal

English Name:                     Nutmeg

Part Used:                             Fruit, leaves, and seeds


Myristica fragrans Houtt. is a dioecious, moderate sized, evergreen, and aromatic tree which is up to 12 m tall. It has a sticky red sap. Flower buds are green. Fruit is fleshy and light greenish yellow. Seedsare red in color containing essential oils.1 Golden yellow fruits have a single seed. Leaves are simply ovate. Flowers are yellow in color, fleshy, and aromatic.4


M. fragrans is found in tropical South-East Asia.1 It is native to Molucas Islands in Malaysia. It is also grown in the Nilgiris, Kerala, Karnataka, and West Bengal.2

Ethanomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:

Ground M. fragrans is mixed with water and this paste is applied for the treatment of wounds and ringworm in Districts Thatta and Sukkur (Sindh).

A glass of sheep milk containing Amomum subulatum Roxb. (Black cardamomum), crystal sugar, and M. fragrans is taken once daily for the treatment of measles in District Jacobabad (Sindh).


M. fragrans seeds contain myristicin and volatile oil. Seed coat contains resorcinols, malabaricones B, C, and phenylpropyl derivatives.2 It also contains fat, phytostearin, large amount of starch, protein, and amylodextrin. Volatile oil contains terpenes like pinene, camphene, and sabinene. Dipentene, elemicin, safrole, eugenol, isoeugenol, neolignan, erythrosurinamensin, diaryl phenyl propanoid, virolane, and methyl eugenol are also important constituents.3,4 Fruit pericarp contains lignans and neolignans.6 Allylbenzene and propylbenzene derivatives are its dominant constituents.7

Chemical Structures:




Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/Scientific studies:

M. fragrans exhibits insecticidal, fungicidal, and bactericidal properties. It is stimulant, carminative, and astringent. It cures dysentery, pain, sickness, dyspepsia, and peptic ulcer. It is also used for the treatment of lungs and heart diseases. It is applied externally for the treatment of rheumatism. Fruit paste is applied on teeth for dental caries and pyorrhea.1 Roasted seeds are useful for the treatment of diarrhea and dyspepsia. M. fragrans also activates hepatic detoxification.2 It treats sciatica and early stages of leprosy. Powdered M. fragrans (5-15 grams) mixed with apple juice or banana, is used as a specific remedy for the treatment of diarrhea due to indigestion of food. An infusion made from half a nutmeg in half a liter of water, mixed with tender coconut water at doses of 15 grams at a time is an effective remedy for the treatment of cholera. Nutmeg is also used for the treatment of skin diseases, such as ringworm, and eczema.4 It exhibited analgesic, anticancer, antiedemic, antioxidant, antiparasitic, antiseptic, antitumor, carminitve, larvicide, hypocholesteromic, sedative, and stomachic properties.5


  • Umberto Quattrochi, F. L. S. (2012), CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants, V. 5, p.237, CRC Press, U. S. A.
  • Khare, C. P. (2012), Indian Medicinal Plants, p. 428-429, Springer Science Publishers, New Delhi-110058, India.
  • Daniel, M. (2006), Medicinal Plants Chemistry and Properties, p. 75, Oxford and IBH Publishers, New Delhi, India.
  • Pullaiah, T. (2006), Encyclopedia of World Medicinal Plants, p. 1389-1390, V. 3, Regency Publishers, New Delhi, India.
  • Duke, J. A. (2002), Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, IInd Ed, CRC press, New York, Washington, DC, U. S. A.
  • Sajin, K., Francis, Suresh, E., and Mangalam, N. (2014), Chemical constituents of Myristica fragrans fruit, Natural Product Research, 7.
  • Muchtaridi, Subarnas, A., Apriyantono, A., and Mustarichie, R. (2010). Identification of compounds in the essential oil of nutmeg seeds (Myristica fragrans) that inhibit locomotor activity in mice. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 11(11), 4771–81.