Nutmeg: A Natural Drug in Your Kitchen
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Nutmeg: A Natural Drug in Your Kitchen

See how something already in your kitchen cupboard could be a natural intoxicant. How people have been using nutmeg to get high for decades.

Can nutmeg get you high? Bottom line: yes.

It may be strange to think that a spice in your kitchen that goes mostly ignored until the winter holiday season has such a mind-altering effect. And for the most part, it doesn’t. In your eggnog or pumpkin pie, the only sensation you’re likely to feel is the effect of its flavor on your tongue. But there’s a hidden history to the nutmeg spice that goes well beyond the Christmas dinner. In larger doses, nutmeg packs a punch.

The fact is, nutmeg has psychoactive effects in large enough doses. If you freshly grind actual nutmeg cloves, you will be ingesting myristicin, an essential oil in nutmeg that also exists in such spices as dill and parsley, albeit to a much lesser extent.

So what will taking too much nutmeg do? People who’ve taken large enough doses of nutmeg to feel its psychoactive effects reported feelings of excitability and having a confused state with headaches, nausea and dizziness. Some users have even reported having hallucinations, including bouts of paranoia.  These effects often came about several hours after ingestion and could last several days after.  

Overuse of nutmeg at high doses can be dangerous, leading to very uncomfortable side effects or even poisoning. Some of the major negative effects have included nausea, collapse, hallucinations anxiety and irrational behavior.

It’s believed that Hindus of the West Indies hundreds of years ago took nutmeg of large doses intentionally for its intoxicating effects. It was probably also used like snuff in India and rural parts of Indonesia for the same reasons.

But you don’t have to go that far back or even across the globe to see instances of nutmeg being used as a drug. In his own autobiography, Malcolm X admitted to taking nutmeg for mind-altering purposes while in prison. Also “bohemians” of America’s post-World War II era also were known for taking nutmeg for its drug-like results.

Most recently, a writer for the Atlantic Monthly looked into this alternative use of the nutmeg spice as well as even trying a larger-than-usual dose as an experiment to its psychoactive effects.

Rest assured, the amount of nutmeg called for in your festive holiday meals and drinks do not amount to the level that can cause these intoxicating effects. So enjoy your eggnog and know that whatever ill effects you face is not because of the nutmeg, but perhaps you included a few too many liquors in your mix.

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Comments (2)

godo works, voted

Good information about nutmeg. thank you Sophie. Hope to avail your friendship and support.