Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
Fun fact: Yankee peddlers used to sell unsuspecting housewives fake "nutmegs" whittled from wood, bilking them out of money and leaving town before being found out.
Nutmeg is valued by great cooks everywhere for its versatility in the kitchen. It's nutty, spicy, and slightly sweet taste makes it a valuable ingredient in everything from meat dishes to desserts. So prized was nutmeg that in the Middle Ages the Dutch plotted extreme measures to keep the price high, while the English and French hatched their own counterplots to obtain fertile seeds so they could cultivate it themselves. Besides its culinary uses, nutmeg is also a highly valued aromatic. The Romans used it as incense, and the Egyptians for embalming. Indians found nutmeg to be perfect for intestinal disorders, and Italians found it useful in combating the Plague. In the Middle Ages, nutmeg was grated and used with lard as an ointment for hemorrhoids. Today, nutmeg is used in aromatherapy for a variety of ailments, from circulatory problems to boosting libido.
Mixes well with: Bergamot, clary sage, clove, geranium, lime, myrrh, orange, rosemary, tangerine, and tea tree.
Parts used: Dried worm-eaten nutmeg seed (worms eat all the starch and fat content).
Extraction method: Steam or water distillation.
Safety Information: Avoid if pregnant. Very large doses can cause nausea or stupor.