Nutmeg as a narcotic


The seeds and arils ofM. fragmns have powerful narcotic properties. In man, they have frequently caused serious but almost never fatal intoxications. Most Westerners are ignorant of these toxic properties and know nutmeg and mace only as flavoring agents.

Both spices are used as narcotics, probably by significant numbers of people, although information on this use of Myristica is scarce. When taken deliberately as psychotropics, nutmeg and mace often cause reactions quite unlike those described in classical accounts of Myristica poisoning and much more like typical hallucinogenic drug experiences.

Thorough investigations of the history, sociology, and biochemistry of Myristica narcosis would be valuable from many points of view.

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Correspondence to Andrew T. Weil.

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Thesis for Honors in Biology, Harvard University.

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Weil, A.T. Nutmeg as a narcotic. Econ Bot 19, 194–217 (1965).

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  • Economic Botany
  • Isoeugenol
  • Mescaline
  • Myristicin
  • Safrole