Nutmeg: offering help for the liver?

The smell of nutmeg evokes memories of apple pie, but the spice has also long been believed to have medicinal properties. Used for years in traditional Chinese medicine to treat gastrointestinal illnesses, in England in Elizabethan times its price skyrocketed because it was believed to ward off the plague. It has also been used to treat asthma, rheumatic pain, toothaches and infections.

Now, according to a report in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research, it appears nutmeg can help other organs, in particular the liver. The researchers used a mouse animal model of liver toxicity and found that nutmeg is likely to protect against liver damage by restoring more healthy levels of various lipids and acylcarnitines. Perhaps of most interest, nutmeg was found to have a specific compound, myrislignan, with a strong protective effect against liver damage. However, more research is needed. So in the meantime enjoy a sprinkle of nutmeg with porridge or in mashed sweet potatoes.

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