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All About Nutmeg | Know Your Fine Spice Jaiphal or Jaifal

All About Nutmeg (जैफल) | Know Your Fine Spice Jaiphal (Myristica fragrans)

Know more about Nutmeg or Jaiphal (Myristica fragrans)

Nutmeg or Jaiphal (Myristica fragrans) comes from a dark-leaved evergreen tree cultivated for two spices derived from its fruit: nutmeg, from its seed, and mace, from the seed covering or arillus.

Nutmeg is not a nut, but the kernel of an apricotlike fruit. Mace is an arillus, a thin leathery tissue between the stone & the pulp; it is bright red to purple when harvested and turns amber when dried.

Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India are the main producers of jaiphal and mace.

Jaifal or Jaiphal contains antibacterial, antiviral & anti-cancer activities. It is used in traditional medicine for treating various disorders. In Ayurveda, it is used to balance Kapha & Vata doshas.

As of 2019 Grenada is the world’s second largest nutmeg producer after Indonesia. Grenada’s flag even depicts a nutmeg fruit.

What are the vernacular names for nutmeg?

The names of nutmeg or jaifal in international languages are given below.

Indian Languages International Languages
Hindi: Jaiphal (जैफल)
Bengali: Jayphal (জায়ফল)
Jaypatri (જાયફળ)
Kannada: Jakayi (ಜಾಕಾಯಿ), Jatiphala (ಜಾತೀಫಲ)
Zaaphal (زاپَھل)
: Jathi (ജാതി), Jathikka (ജാതിക്കാ), Jathikkayu (ജാതിക്കായ്), Jathikosham (ജാതികോശം)
Marathi: Jayphal (जायफळ)
Oriya: Jaiphala (ଜାଇଫଳ)
Jaiphal (ਜੈਫਲ)
Atipalam (ஆதிபலம்), Jatikkai (ஜாதிக்காய்), Jatippu (ஜாதிப்பு)
Jajikaya (జాజికాయ)
Latin (Botanical): Myristica fragrans
Arabic: Juzat altayib (جوزة الطيب)
Bulgarian: indijsko orekhche [индийско орехче]
Dauh kau syuh (豆蔻樹)
Nootmuskaat, Muskaatnoot
Farsi: Jowz hendi [جوز هندی]
Noix de muscade, Muscade
German: Muskatnuß
Greek: Moschokarido (Μοσχοκάρυδο)
Italian: Noce moscata
Japanese: Natumegu (ナツメグ)
Portuguese: Noz-moscada
Moscada, Nuez moscada
: Muskotnöt
Turkish: Hindistancevizi
Uzbek: Musqat (Мусқат)

What exactly is nutmeg?

Get to know more about Nutmeg or Jaiphal (Myristica fragrans)

Fresh nutmeg fruit or jaiphal (जैफल)

Nutmeg (Jaiphal: जैफल) is the seed or ground spice of several species of the genus Myristica.

Myristica fragrans is a dark-leaved evergreen tree cultivated for two spices derived from its fruit: nutmeg, from its seed, and mace, from the seed covering.

The seeds are dried gradually in the sun over a period of six to eight weeks. During this time the nutmeghrinks away from its hard seed coat until the kernels rattle in their shells when shaken.

The shell is then broken with a wooden club and the nutmeg are picked out. Dried nutmeg are grayish brown ovals with furrowed surfaces.

The nutmeg are roughly egg-shaped, about 20.5–30 mm (0.81–1.18 in) long and 15–18 mm (0.59–0.71 in) wide, weighing 5-10 g (0.18–0.35 oz) dried.

What is the nutritional value of nutmeg?

Find out about the nutritional value of nutmeg or jaiphal (Myristica fragrans)

Nutmeg is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc and magnesium.

It is also rich in many vital B-complex vitamins, including vitamin-C, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-A & many flavonoids like beta-carotene & cryptoxanthin that are essential for health.

Nutmeg is very low in cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of dietary fibre.

One serving (1 teaspoon or 2.2 grams) of ground nutmeg provides around 12 calories, according to USDA data. Calories come from carbohydrate (1.08 grams), protein (0.13 grams), and fat (0.8 grams).

What is the chemical composition of a nutmeg or jaiphal?

Know and understand about chemical composition of a nutmeg or jaiphal (Myristica fragrans)

Nutmeg con­tains about 10% essen­tial oil, which is mostly com­posed of terpene hydro­carbons (sabinene and pinenes.

Further­more camphene, p‑cymene, phell­andrene, terpinene, limonene, myrcene, terpene derivatives (linalool, geraniol, terpineol) & phenyl­propanoids (myristicin, elemicin, safrole, eugenol and its derivatives).

Of the latter group, myristicin (methoxy-safrole, typically 4%) is responsible for the hallucinogenic effect of nutmeg.

What is the history of nutmeg or jaiphal?

Know more about the origins & the story behind nutmeg or jaiphal (Myristica fragrans)

Nutmeg originated in the Banda Islands of Indonesia, and was discovered by the Portuguese in 1512. The importance of the nutmeg seed was propagated by the Dutch.

The earliest evidence of nutmeg usage comes in the form of 3,500 year old potsherd residues from the island of Pulau Ai, one of the Banda Islands in eastern Indonesia.

The Banda Islands consist of eleven small volcanic islands, and are part of the larger Maluku Islands group.

These islands were the only source of nutmeg and mace production until the mid-19th century.

In the 6th century AD, nutmeg spread to India, then further west to Constantinople.

By the 13th century, Arab traders had pinpointed the origin of nutmeg to the Indonesian islands, but kept this location a secret from European traders.

The name nutmeg is derived from the Latin nux muscatus, meaning “musky nut.” In India, nutmeg is known as Jaiphal.

According to the ethno-medical literature, nutmeg seed oil was used for intestinal disorders by Indians, in embalming by Egyptians, and to cure plague by Italians.

In ancient times, nutmeg seeds were used in medicines as an aphrodisiac.

The first Europeans to reach the Banda Islands were the Portuguese. Their expedition remained for about a month.

They bought and filled their ships with Banda’s nutmeg and mace, and also with cloves in which Banda Islands had a thriving trade.

In order to obtain a monopoly on the production and trade of nutmeg, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) waged a bloody battle with the Bandanese in 1621.

Only 1,000 Bandanese were left after this battle, the rest were killed, starved while fleeing, exiled or sold as slaves. Nutmeg is considered to be one of the most tragic spices in history.

The Dutch East India Company constructed a comprehensive nutmeg plantation system on the islands during the 17th century.

The British invaded and temporarily took control of the Banda Islands from the Dutch and transplanted nutmeg trees, complete with soil, to Sri Lanka, Penang, Bencoolen, and Singapore.

From these locations they were transplanted to their other colonial holdings elsewhere, notably Zanzibar and Grenada.

In fact, the Dutch traded the island of Manhattan, as part of the Treaty of Breda in 1667, with the British for the Bandanese island of Rhun in order to keep control of the spice trade of nutmeg.

The Dutch retained control of the Spice Islands until World War II.

How is Nutmeg different from Mace?

What is the difference between nutmeg and mace?

Nutmeg and Mace are from the same fruit of the nutmeg tree (Myristica frangrans).

The nutmeg is the oval-shaped pit, which is the fruit, and mace is the bright red webbing that surrounds the shell of the pit.

The mace is removed, dried and that turns into a reddish colour. The nutmeg can either be dried and left whole and packaged for grating or dried and grated fresh.

Does mace taste like nutmeg?

What is the difference between taste of nutmeg and mace?

The taste between nutmeg and mace is slightly different. Mace is more pungent and spicier, which is similar to the combination of cinnamon and black pepper.

On the other hand, nutmeg can be described as less intense with a sweetness similar to cinnamon or cloves but more piquant.

Both spices actually include some of the same oils that flavour black pepper and cloves. Even though they have similar uses in recipes they are rarely used together.

Jaiphal does have a sweeter more delicate flavour and fragrance than mace or javitri.

What are the uses of nutmeg or jaiphal?

How are nutmeg or jaiphal (Myristica fragrans) used?

  • Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) is a spice that is commonly used in baked goods, holiday treats, ethnic cuisine, and beverages.
  • While nutmeg is commonly used in cooking and baking, some also use the spice or its essential oil to gain a nutmeg high which is dangerous, hence inadvisable.
  • The leaves and other parts of the tree are used in extracting essential oil as well as nutmeg butter.
  • The oils are used as condiments and carminatives and to scent soaps and perfumes.
  • The essential oil is also used in the manufacturing of toothpaste and cough syrups.
  • An ointment of nutmeg butter has been used as a counterirritant and in treatment of rheumatism.
  • In addition to its use as a flavoring spice in Asian, European, Middle Eastern, and African cuisines and traditional American baked goods, nutmeg has a history of medicinal use.
  • Historically, grated nutmeg was used as a sachet, and the Romans used it as incense.
  • Nutmeg is used in medicines such as Vicks Vaporub, Agua del Carmen, Aluminum Free Indigestion, Incontinurina, Klosterfrau Magentoniuum, Melisana, and Nervo Spur.

What does nutmeg taste like?

What is the taste of nutmeg or jaiphal?

Nutmeg has a fresh, rich aroma and a woody, bittersweet flavour with hints of clove. It is warm, nutty and aromatic with a deep flavour.

How many nutmeg or jaiphal should I use?

What is the the recommended quantity of Nutmeg or Jaiphal for a day?

A very small amount of nutmeg in cooking is generally considered safe. The harmful effects of nutmeg are because of myristicin, which is a toxic compound if taken in excess.

On an average, a recipe cooked for 2-4 people calls for about ¼ – ½ teaspoon of nutmeg, so it helps in minimising the negative effects of the spice.

What are the ayurvedic properties of nutmeg or jaiphal?

Information about ayurvedic details of Nutmeg or Jaiphal (Myristica fragrans).

According to ayurvedic studies, jaiphal have Ushna property, which is beneficial for removing Ama, which is the body’s toxic remains. Nutmeg help remove bad toxins from the body by clearing the bowels as it has rechana property.

Rasa (Taste): Tikta (Bitter), Katu (Pungent)
Guna (Qualities): Laghu (Light), Teekshna (Piercing, Strong, Penetrative)
Veerya (Potency): Ushna (Hot)
Vipaka (Taste conversion after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
Karma (Actions): It balances Vata and Kapha doshas.

What can I use Nutmeg for?

Learn how to use Nutmeg or Jaiphal (Myristica fragrans) in your food & beverages.

Ground or grated nutmeg adds a spicy depth to various recipes – both sweet & savoury.

As a culinary spice, nutmeg impart a strong aroma and pungent taste that have enhanced the human enjoyment of many foods in cuisines all over the world.

  • It is used to make a Tambula Paan – the Ayurvedic paan.
  • Ground nutmeg combines well with many cheeses, and is included in soufflés and cheese sauces.
  • While ground nutmeg is used in preparations like baking, puddings, confections, eggnog, pumpkin pie, and apple pie, it is also used to make nutmeg butter.
  • In soups it works with tomatoes, split peas and black beans.
  • In Italy nutmeg is used to craft Mortadella sausages and fill stuffed pastas.
  • It complements meat well and goes great with root vegetables and winter squash.
  • In its native Indonesia, nutmeg is a frequent addition to warm soups and stews, like oxtail soup and beef stew, and is used in meat rubs for dishes like Indonesian pork bistik.
  • In Indian cuisine, nutmeg is added to savory spice blends like garam masala and curry powder, and is used in the preparation of various Indian meats, biryani and sweet desserts.
  • in Scotland the spice is traditionally used to make the savory meat pudding haggis.
  • In Dutch cuisine, nutmeg is paired with potato dishes and hearty vegetables like cauliflower and brussels sprouts.
  • In Middle Eastern and Caribbean cuisine, nutmeg is a key ingredient in ras el hanout and jerk seasonings.
  • You can add it to drinks like mulled wine, coffee and tea.

A Few Recipes that Use Nutmeg or Jaiphal

What Indian desserts are made with jaiphal or nutmeg?

Learn how to use nutmeg or jaiphal for Indian mithai or desserts.

Some examples of Nutmeg or Jaiphal based desserts are as follows:

  1. Dry fruit barfi, Gulab jamun, Sweet pongal
  2. Chenna Malpua, Kahrek ka halwa
  3. Kesar pista biscuits, Coconut barfi
  4. Mango kulfi & mango ice cream

How do I prepare nutmeg for eating?

Learn how to prepare Nutmeg or Jaiphal (Myristica fragrans) for your food & beverages.

To use whole nutmeg, you will need a microplane or nutmeg grater to shave off a small portion of the seed. Alternatively, nutmeg powder is easily available.

Can I use all parts of nutmeg?

What parts of Nutmeg or Jaiphal (Myristica fragrans) plant are used for food & beverages.

Nutmeg is found in the seed (nut), which after drying produces two different spices, nutmeg and mace which are both used for food.

How long does nutmeg last?

Learn about how long does Nutmeg or Jaiphal (Myristica fragrans) last in storage.

Nutmeg is available as a whole spice as well as in the pre-ground form. While the powdered form is convenient to use, some people complain that it loses its flavour over time.

Whole nutmeg will remain good for a few years, while the powder will lose its potency in a few months.

How do I store nutmeg?

Learn about how to store nutmeg or jaiphal (Myristica fragrans).

Use an airtight container to store nutmeg. Keep it in a cool, dry, and dark place to ensure it has a long shelf-life.

Health benefits of nutmeg, jaiphal ke fayde

Is there a substitute for Nutmeg or Jaiphal?

Learn how to use a substitute for Nutmeg or Jaiphal (Myristica fragrans) if unavailable

If the recipe you want to make calls for nutmeg but you don’t have any, don’t worry. Here are some best substitutes for nutmeg or jaiphal.

  1. Mace is the closest and best substitute for nutmeg. Mace is actually the outer membrane that surrounds nutmeg before it’s harvested, so it shares a lot of the same flavours. Replace the nutmeg in your recipe with an equal amount of mace.
  2. Cinnamon is the next best and adds warmth to sweet and savoury dishes, their flavours are a bit different. Use about half as much cinnamon as you would nutmeg.
  3. Allspice tastes like a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorn. It makes a great substitute for nutmeg in any recipe – use it as a one-for-one replacement.
  4. Ground ginger has a lot more zing than nutmeg, but it makes for a good substitute if you don’t mind a little extra spicy flavour. Use about half of ground ginger as you would nutmeg.
  5. Cloves – When replacing nutmeg with cloves, use about half the quantity because cloves can easily overpower the taste of a dish.

Where do I buy Nutmeg or Jaiphal from?

Where to Locate Nutmeg or Jaiphal (Myristica fragrans) in a Grocery Store?

You can find nutmeg in supermarkets and local stores near your house. It is available as a whole spice as well as in the pre-ground form.

Buy nutmeg or jaiphal on Amazon: India | USA

What are the health benefits of nutmeg ?

Learn more about health benefits of nutmeg or jaiphal (Myristica fragrans)

Jaifal or Jaiphal contains antibacterial, antiviral and anti-cancer activities. It is used in traditional medicine for treating various disorders. In Ayurveda, jaiphal is used to balance Kapha and Vata doshas.

Jaifal is found to have several health benefits. It has the ability to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen the cognitive function and detoxify the body.

Read on to find out about the health benefits of nutmeg or health benefits of jaiphal:

  1. Health Benefits of Nutmeg in Blood Pressure & Circulation – Nutmeg is rich in minerals like calcium, potassium, manganese, and iron, all of which help in regulating blood pressure and enhance the circulation of blood. These minerals have the effect of reducing stress, and further, relax the blood vessels and aid in the regulation of blood pressure.
  2. Health Benefits of Jaiphal for Countering Depression – A lot of Ayurvedic-based medicines use nutmeg as a part of the medication in treating depression and anxiety. Nutmeg also has sleep-inducing properties.
  3. Health Benefits of Nutmeg for Protecting Your Liver – Nutmeg is rich in myrislignan, which can help treat liver disorders and injuries. Research suggests that the extracts found in nutmeg can help treat hepatitis inflammations. Nutmeg, as mentioned before, has anti-inflammatory properties as well, and can help treat an inflamed liver.
  4. Health Benefits of Jaifal as a powerful antioxidant – Nutmeg contains an abundance of antioxidants, including plant pigments like cyanidins, essential oils, such as phenylpropanoids and terpenes, and phenolic compounds, including protocatechuic, ferulic, and caffeic acids. These neutralize free radicals, preventing cellular damage and keeping your free radical levels in check.
  5. Health Benefits of Nutmeg oil – It has anti-inflammatory properties and that makes it an effective joint and muscle pain reliever.
  6. Health Benefits of Jaiphal to Relieve Stomach Troubles – In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, nutmeg is used to relieve stomach disorders including gas, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. In fact, some over-the-counter remedies include nutmeg.
  7. Health Benefits of Jaifal as an Aphrodisiac – Nutmeg is often called an aphrodisiac and is added in small amounts to herbal aphrodisiac potions. The powerful plant compounds of Nutmeg have significant properties of being relaxing and calming.
  8. Health Benefits of Nutmeg as an Antibacterial agent – Nutmeg is often used as a natural remedy for bad breath and mouth sores. According to a PubMed abstract, when researchers isolated the various constituents of nutmeg seeds, they were all found to have good antibacterial properties.
  9. Health Benefits of Jaifal for weight loss – Nutmeg helps in aiding weight loss as well. It can help the body eliminate toxins, and the digestive properties that it has can help in increasing metabolism, thereby helping with weight loss.
  10. May Help Treat Leukemia – A study on the effect of nutmeg extract on Jurkat leukaemia T cell line had exciting results. The extract inhibited Jurkat cell proliferation and caused cell death in concentrations of 50 and 100 ig/ml.
Health Benefits of Nutmeg, Jaiphal ke Fayde

Nutmeg - Homemade Nutmeg Powder - Jaiphal Powder

Nutmeg - Homemade Nutmeg Powder - Jaifal Powder or Ground Nutmeg Powder is known as Jaiphal Powder in India. Apart from being an aromatic flavouring for food & drinks, it is also really helpful in healing & combating cough, depression, sexual issues and digestion related problems.
Course Condiment, Spice Powders
Cuisine Indian
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword Homemade Nutmeg Powder, How to make nutmeg powder, Jaifal, Jaifal Powder, Jaiphal, Jaiphal Powder, Nutmeg, Nutmeg Powder
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Servings 10 people
Calories 3kcal
Author Sumit Malhotra


  • 100 gram Whole Nutmeg Jaiphal or Jaifal
  • 1 tsp Brown Sugar Bhuri Chini


  • Dry roast the whole Nutmeg or Jaiphal/ Jaifal & the cool to room temperature.
  • Crush them and then grind with sugar into a fine powder.
  • Store Nutmeg Powder or Jaiphal Powder in a dry airtight jar.


  • If stored in a dry place, jaifal powder or nutmeg powder will last you a year.
  • You can use it for your desserts, in milk or coffee, in biryani and your curries.

How to grate nutmeg into powder

What are the side effects of nutmeg or jaiphal?

What are the risks associated with nutmeg or jaiphal?

Jaiphal or jaifal is unlikely to cause any sort of harm when consumed in smaller quantities. Taking it in high doses may cause adverse side effects. It contains the compounds myristicin and safrole.

Consumption of jaiphal in a dose of 120 mg or more over a period of time daily has been linked to loss of muscle coordination, hallucinations and other mental side effects.

What is a nutmeg high?

Myristicin is the chemical compound in nutmeg that causes nutmeg intoxication. It also occurs naturally in the essential oils present in certain plants, including parsley and dill.

When a person consumes myristicin, the body metabolises it, forming 3-methoxy-4,5 methylenedioxyamphetamine (MMDA).

MMDA has hallucinogenic properties, and it is the effects of MMDA on the central nervous system that lead to the nutmeg high.


All About Nutmeg or Jaiphal | Uses & Benefits of Jaiphal

Fresh nutmeg fruit or jaiphal

Nutmeg or Jaiphal (Myristica fragrans) comes from a dark-leaved evergreen tree cultivated for two spices derived from its fruit: nutmeg, from its seed, and mace, from the seed covering or arillus.

Nutmeg is not a nut, but the kernel of an apricot-like fruit. Mace is an arillus, a thin leathery tissue between the stone & the pulp; it is bright red to purple when harvested and turns amber when dried.

Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India are the main producers of jaiphal and mace.

Jaifal or Jaiphal contains antibacterial, antiviral & anti-cancer activities. It is used in traditional medicine for treating various disorders. In Ayurveda, it is used to balance Kapha & Vata doshas.

As of 2019 Grenada is the world’s second largest nutmeg producer after Indonesia. Grenada’s flag even depicts a nutmeg fruit.


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This article is for general information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition/s. has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but offers no warranty as to its accuracy or its use in any possible form.

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