Secret Natural Ingredient: Nutmeg
Spice it up
From banishing blemishes to soothing your stomach, this warming spice makes everything nice.
Zap an emerging zit with this home remedy: In a bowl, combine a few pinches of ground nutmeg with enough whole milk to make a thick paste. Apply the cream to your trouble zone, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse clean.
Nutmeg is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects, and vitamin-rich milk soothes skin thanks to its proteins, explains Ranella Hirsch, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine.
Try treating gut gripes with nutmeg, which has been used for centuries to ease indigestion, diarrhea, and intestinal gas. Essential oils and other chemicals naturally found in the spice help regulate your gastrointestinal tract, explains herbalist Andrew Gaeddert, author of Healing Digestive Disorders.
To improve digestion, sprinkle a little (no more than 1/2 teaspoon—consuming large quantities of nutmeg can cause nausea) on a bowlful of fiber-filled oatmeal each morning for a couple of weeks.
If you’re having trouble getting some shut-eye, pour yourself a mug of warm milk with a dash of nutmeg. Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that converts to sleep-promoting serotonin in the body, while nutmeg may help keep that serotonin from breaking down (so it lasts longer in the brain), says Michael Murray, ND, co-author of The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods.
Nutmeg oil has long been used to soothe toothaches and sore gums. “Try massaging a drop or two of nutmeg oil onto your gums if they are painful or inflamed,” says Sara Snow, author of Sara Snow’s Fresh Living. (Find the oil at natural foods retailers or online.) Bonus benefit: Research has shown that compounds in nutmeg oil fight common oral bacteria that lead to cavities.