Nutmeg Madness: Common Household Spice or Killer Narcotic?

There is a hidden killer lurking in the shadows of your mother’s kitchen spice rack.

A dangerous and potent substance that, if consumed, can cause brutal side effects like vomiting, hallucinations, seizures, and even DEATH!

Yes it is true – at least according to this Global News segment – that nutmeg is destroying the lives of unwitting, buzz-hungry teenagers everywhere.

“They’re snorting it, smoking it, and swallowing it,” Global reporter Minna Rhee tells viewers, “teens desperate to get high are turning to the Internet and learning that nutmeg – yes that common household spice – can take them there.”

Though it is true that significant doses of nutmeg can cause discomfort and indeed get you high for extended periods, the spice you love to put in your eggnog is not quite the lethal gateway drug (to heroin) depicted by Global TV’s sensational reporting.

Nutmeg comes from the egg-shaped seeds of the Myristica fragrans tree and is a common spice found in most grocery stores. Far from being just a “newfound high” for desperate teenagers, the plant has been used by many cultures around the world for thousands of years as a medicine, narcotic, dream enhancer and aphrodisiac.

In this exhaustive article on Nutmeg, Ibo Nagano of the Entheogen Review lays out a detailed history of the plant and its various uses.

As well as providing relief for a list of ailments like rheumatism, limb pains, general aches, and inflammation; the drug has been used for its sedative effect and to treat upset stomachs. A host of studies suggest myristicin, one of the active chemicals in nutmeg, may even reduce and inhibit the growth of tumors.

Many users have noted a mood-elevating quality to nutmeg taken in small doses, and clinical studies suggest it may be a potent aphrodisiac and a safe and effective natural remedy for treating sexual disorders.

Nutmeg was so sought after by 17th-century Europeans that the Dutch reportedly traded what is now Manhattan for control of a nutmeg-producing island called Run (one of the smallest of the Banda Islands – part of Indonesia).

The high from nutmeg? In larger doses, the spice can cause inebriation (similar to marijuana or alcohol) and even hallucinations lasting for up to 30 hours. Some people report discomfort, but others enjoy the dream-like effects that come with increased dosage.

But what about the reports of DEATH, you ask? According to Nagano’s research, there have been only two cases in all recorded history that showed nutmeg as a possible cause of death (one suggested it was mixed with other drugs), but that “almost all cases of nutmeg poisoning are resolved without note and most emergency room visits are accounted for by accidental poisonings or by panic reactions.”

Despite Global’s euphoriaphobic coverage, I think I may sprinkle a little extra nutmeg on my eggnog next Christmas.

Check out Erowid’s Nutmeg Vault for more information.

Jeremiah Vandermeer is editor of Cannabis Culture. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Jeremiah Vandermeer
Jeremiah Vandermeer

Jeremiah Vandermeer is Cannabis Culture Chief of Operations and Editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine & Pot TV.