Nutmeg isn’t just for pumpkin spice and eggnogs. In a study, researchers from the Institute of Chinese Materia Medica found that the spice — which has a botanical name of Myristica fragrans — can be used to improve blood clotting and even prevent diabetes.
Researchers from the Institute of Chinese Materia Medica looked at the effects of nutmeg in promoting blood clotting and preventing diabetes. They discovered that certain compounds in nutmeg can inhibit fibrinolysis, that is, the normal breakdown of blood clots. The anti-clotting properties of nutmeg were better than that of Danshen, a herb used to treat blood stagnation in traditional Chinese medicine. In addition, nutmeg can also inhibit alpha-glucosidase, an enzyme responsible for breaking down carbohydrates into glucose.
The study was published in the Journal of Medical Food.
Preventing diabetes with holiday spices
Earlier studies have already seen the anti-diabetes potential of nutmeg, albeit with other spices. In a paper in the International Journal of Health Sciences & Research, the authors concluded that using cinnamon, nutmeg, and peppermint extracts can significantly reduce blood glucose, based on animal studies. The researchers compared the effects of the spices using rats treated with alloxan to induce diabetes. The rats were then treated with either nutmeg, peppermint, or cinnamon for three weeks. The team found that rats that have been treated with cinnamon, nutmeg, and peppermint had significant decreases in blood glucose levels.
“We can conclude that the oral administration of cinnamon, nutmeg, and peppermint extracts have beneficial effects on blood glucose levels,” the team wrote in their report.
The spice isn’t just for preventing diabetes. Those already suffering from the condition can still take nutmeg to manage severe complications that come with diabetes. The study, presented at the British Pharmaceutical Conference in the U.K., gave credence to traditional claims that nutmeg is beneficial for managing diabetes. Their findings, which used controlled tests on rats, showed that the spice: (1) can greatly reduce blood sugar; (2) improves the blood’s lipid profile, which includes decreases in “bad” cholesterol levels; (3) helps beta-cells to produce more insulin; and (4) improves the weight of the liver and pancreas.
For lead researcher Rahul Somani of the Sinhgad College of Pharmacy in India, these results highlight the use of nutmeg in diabetes treatment. “Diabetes affects thousands of people all around the world,” he added. “This research suggests that nutmeg has a significant anti-diabetic effect and may offer a user-friendly, non-invasive way to manage the disease.”
“Worth its weight in gold”
For something that you can get just about anywhere these days, nutmeg was once called a spice “worth its weight in gold.” The spice, native to the South Pacific, was only found in the homes of the rich and famous at first. It was also one of the reasons for the “Spice Wars,” a five-way battle between countries looking to control spice trade between Asia and Europe.
Of course, nutmeg is still worth its weight in proverbial gold, thanks to its multiple health benefits:
- Use nutmeg to relieve pain. When used as an essential oil, nutmeg can treat inflammation which causes muscle and joint pain. A few drops are all you need to get relief from aches and pains, as well as swelling. (Related: Natural Essential Oils – What Happens In Your Body When You Use Nutmeg Oil.)
- It helps with digestion. Nutmeg is known for its carminative effect, that is the ability to soothe an upset stomach, bloating, or even gas. To make the most of this effect, place a pinch of nutmeg in your soups and stews.
- Treat bad breath with nutmeg. In Ayurveda, nutmeg is the main ingredient in most gum pastes — a testament to its ability to remove bacteria from the mouth and treat toxins.
Learn more about natural treatments for diabetes at DiabetesScienceNews.com.