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Mace (Myristica fragrans)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Aflatoxins, alpha-pinene, alpha-terpineol, basbas (Arabic), basbasah, (Arabic), basbaz (Persian), beta-phellandrene, beta-pinene, bicuiba (Portuguese), borneol, buah pala (Malay), bunga pala (Malay), chan thet (Thai), chant heed (Laotian), cineole, dâu khâu (Vietnamese), diarylpropanoids, dihydroguaiaretic acid (DHGA), dilignan, dok chand (Thai), elemicin, estragole, eugenol, fleur de muscade (French), flor de noz moscada (Brazilian Portuguese), foelie (Dutch), gamma-terpinene, gerinol, industan djevisi (Turkish), isoeugenol, jaaiipatrii (Nepali), jaayphala (Hindi), jadikkai (Tamil), jaephal (Hindi), jaiphal (Bengali), jaiphul (Hindi), jaitri (Hindi), jajikaia (Telugu), jajipatri (Sanskrit), jajiphalam (Sanskrit), japatri (Telugu), jathi seed (Malayalam), jathikkai (Thai), jati pattiri (Tamil), jatikka (Tamil), javitri (Hindi), jayaphal (Nepali), josat al teeb (Arabic), jousbuva (Arabic), jouzboyah (Persian), jouzuttib (Arabic), kambang pala (Malay, Java), kembang pala (Malay), licarin B, lignans (macelignan), ligroin, look jun (Thai), macia (Spanish), macis (French, Spanish), malabaricone B, malabaricone C, meso-dihydroguaiaretic acid (DGA), methoxyeugenol, methyleugenol, moscada (Spanish), moscadeira (Portuguese), moscadero (Spanish), moschokarydo (Greek), muscadier (French), Muskatbaum (German), Muskatblüte (German), muskatnii orekh (Russian), muskatnød (Danish), muskatnogo orekha (Russian), muskatnoi drechi (Russian), Muskatnuβ (German), Muskatnuβbaum (German), muskott (Swedish), myristic acid, myristica, Myristica argentea, Myristica cagayanensis, Myristica fragrans, Myristica malabarica, Myristica officinalis, Myristicaceae (family), Myristicae aril, Myristicae semen, myristicin, neolignans, nhuc dâu khau (Vietnamese), nikuzuku (Japanese), noce moscata (Italian), nogal moscado (Spanish), noix de banda (French), noix muscade (French), nootmuskaat (Dutch), nootmuskaatboom (Dutch), noz moscada (Brazilian Portuguese), nuez moscada (Spanish), nutmeg, nux moschata, nuz moscada (Portuguese), otobaphenol, pala (Indonesian), pala banda (Malay), pattiri (Tamil), pied de muscade (French), resorcinols, rou dou kou (Chinese), rou dou kou yi (Chinese), rou guo (Chinese), rou kou (Chinese), sadikka (Sinhalese), safrole, sekar pala (Malay), sushonaya shelukha (Russian), taiphal (Hindi), taipmal (Hindi), taukau (Chinese), terpene, terpinen-4-ol, terpineol, trimyristin, vicuiba (Telugu), volatile oil, yu guo (Chinese), yu guo hua (Chinese), zadeikpo (Burmese).
  • Note: This monograph focuses on mace, and not nutmeg, although mace is the aril (seed covering) of the nutmeg seed, of the Myristica fragrans plant. Nutmeg has a history of abuse as a recreational psychoactive drug (1;2); however, although theoretically similar effects could be obtained from mace, mace does not have popular use as a recreational psychoactive drug. Therefore, this is not discussed in the mace monograph. For more information in this area, see the nutmeg monograph.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Nutmeg and mace are two commonly used spices originating from the same tree, Myristica fragrans. Myristica fragrans is indigenous to the Banda Islands of Indonesia, once the only source for these spices, although the tree is now cultivated in several other tropical regions, such as Malaysia and the Caribbean. Nutmeg is derived from the seed of the tree and mace from the aril (seed covering).
  • Mace is most commonly known for flavoring food, although traditional medicinal uses include measles, diarrhea, insomnia, and rheumatism. Based on secondary sources, high doses of mace may induce euphoria and hallucinations; however, unlike its sister herb nutmeg, mace is not typically used as a hallucinogenic agent.
  • Evidence from human study suggests that mace extract, when used as part of chewing gum, may decrease plaque and gingivitis. However, well-designed clinical trials in this context, or any other human indication, are currently lacking.
  • Early animal and in vitro study suggests that mace and its constituents may have antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects. Further study is required in these fields.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.