Nutmeg or Myristica fragrance is an evergreen tree indigenous to Indonesia. The fruit of the tree is the source of two different spices â�� nutmeg and mace. The nutmeg seed is encased in a mottled yellow, edible fruit, the approximate size and shape of a small peach. The fruit splits in half to reveal a net-like, bright red covering over the seed. Nutmeg is slightly sweeter while mace has a more delicate flavour. Mace is often preferred in light dishes for the bright orange, saffron-like hue it imparts, while nutmeg is used when a stronger flavour is required, such as cheese sauces.
Nutmeg is generally grated, often in a cheese grater, before adding to dishes.
Nutmeg is used as a major ingredient in some cough syrups.
In traditional medicine nutmeg and nutmeg oil were used for illnesses related to the nervous and digestive systems.
Other health benefits of nutmeg come from potassium (for heart rate and blood pressure control), zinc, and iron (for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for cytochrome oxidases enzymes) as well as B-vitamins, vitamins A and C, folate, riboflavin, niacin, and the flavonoid antioxidants beta-carotene and cryptoxanthin, which are essential for optimum health.