Nutmeg milk really is nature’s soother. It helps calm digestion, ease pain and inflammation and can even help you sleep. It may also help protect your liver, improve your brain health and much more.
What’s more, nutmeg milk is easy to make, vegan-friendly and tastes wonderful.
What is nutmeg milk?
Cold or warm. For digestion, warm is often more helpful, so just gently heat the milk in a pan. Then grate and stir in 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg.
I like using oat milk. You can also use almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk or any other plant-based alternative todairy. If you tolerate dairy well, then regular milk is fine – and may add benefits if you’re drinking this to help you sleep. If you know or suspect dairy may be problematic for you, then the best bet for soothing pain and inflammation in your digestive system and throughout your body will most likely be a non-dairy option.
You can buy ready ground nutmeg, but I like the ritual and flavour of grating it fresh each time. It only takes seconds, and means I get to use my cute mini grater. I buy whole dried nutmegs.
Some recipes add honey, but I don’t think you need to. In fact, nutmeg has such a deliciously delicate flavour, I don’t want to ruin it with anything else.
How much nutmeg can I use
As suggested above, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon is plenty to make an effective cup of nutmeg milk. BUT JUST DRINK 1-2 CUPS A DAY. Less is often more when it comes to effectiveness, but in this case, more can also mean poisonous. 1-3tsp can lead to nutmeg intoxication, with potential symptoms of temporary psychosis, including “profuse sweating, flushed face, delirium, dry throat etc. There is always an altered state of mind, e.g. hallucinations, confusion and an impending sense of doom.”
Having said that, if you’re sticking to less than a teaspoon a day, then you’ll have a host of amazing benefits at your fingertips.
Nutmeg trees (Myristica fragrans) are native to Malaku, the Spice Islands of Indonesia.
Nutmeg’s health properties seem largely due to a range of phytochemicals, which include limonene, sabinene, α-pinene, β-pinene, myristicin, sabinene, safrol, phellandrene, camphene, terpinene, myrcene and pcymene
This spice has long been used to help with indigestion, diarrhoea, stomach ulcers and other gastrointestinal conditions. Its ability to settle the digestive system may in part be down to its antibacterial properties, including its ability to inhibit E. coli. A 2002 study resulted in nutmeg alleviating diarrhoea, while improving intestinal tone and providing mild pain relief.
Nutmeg has also been studied and used for its anti-inflammatory effects, which may benefit the digestive system, cardiovascular health, joint health and much more.
Out of 21 different spices studied for the ability to deal with liver damage, nutmeg was “found to possess extraordinarily potent hepatoprotective activity.”
Compelling studies around sleep are lacking right now, but nutmeg milk has long been used to help combat insomnia. Try it, and see if it works for you.
My favourite thing about nutmeg
The smell. I love that warm, sweet, uniquely nutmeggy aroma. My cat (rest her soul) smelled of nutmeg, and that was one of the things I loved about her too. So next time you’re drinking nutmeg milk, inhale deeply, and smile.
Varghese, F., Teji, K.T. and Philo, T.J., 2017. Bactericidal activity of nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) pericarp. Peer Reviewed National Science Journal, 13(1), pp.35-38.
Sylvester, C., 2018. Izah., et al.“Antibacterial Efficacy of Aqueous Extract of Myristica fragrans (Common Nutmeg)”. EC Pharmacology and Toxicology, 6, pp.291-295.
Grover, J.K., Khandkar, S., Vats, V., Dhunnoo, Y. and Das, D., 2002. Pharmacological studies on Myristica fragrans–antidiarrheal, hypnotic, analgesic and hemodynamic (blood pressure) parameters. Methods and findings in experimental and clinical pharmacology, 24(10), pp.675-680.
VIMAL, K. and SANJEEV, A., 2016. Myristica Fragrans: a comprehensive review.
Morita, T., Jinno, K., Kawagishi, H., Arimoto, Y., Suganuma, H., Inakuma, T. and Sugiyama, K., 2003. Hepatoprotective effect of myristicin from nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) on lipopolysaccharide/d-galactosamine-induced liver injury. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 51(6), pp.1560-1565.
Abourashed, E.A. and El-Alfy, A.T., 2016. Chemical diversity and pharmacological significance of the secondary metabolites of nutmeg (Myristica fragrans Houtt.). Phytochemistry Reviews, 15(6), pp.1035-1056.