Toxicity of Nutmeg (Myristicin): A Review

Rahman N.A.A, Fazilah A, Effarizah M.E


In this paper a detailed review of myristicin is reported. Numerous literatures report that myristicin is responsible for hallucinogenic effects, which induced by the consumption of nutmeg due to its metabolism structure of 3-methoxy-4,5-methylendioxyamphetamine (MMDA). Minimum dosage of nutmeg that can cause psychogenic effect is 5 g (ground nutmeg) with 1 to 2 mg myristicin content and this dosage is considered as ‘toxic dose’. At higher dosage of myristicin death may occur. Additionally, Myristicin poisoning can lead to many health problems that related to brain problem. Those symptoms usually occur 3 to 6 hours after ingestion of myristicin or foodstuffs containing it, and effects may persist up to 72 hours. California Poison Control System (CPCS) electronic database 72.3% exposures between 1997 and 2008 that were intentional for recreational purposes (between ages 13 and 20 years old). The remaining considered as unintentionally exposed. Between 1998 to 2008, Texas Poison Center Network (TPCN) received seventeen nutmeg poisoning and 64.7% from that cases involved abuse, and the rest was unintentional exposure. Most of the nutmeg exposures were via the oral route and minor cases of nutmeg exposure occurred through insufflated nutmeg, unintentional dermal and ocular exposures. Nutmeg also has been misused by mixing it with other drugs in order to get “high”. For intoxication cases, treatments like decontamination (cathartic, charcoal, dilution, fresh air, IV fluids) and supportive care (benzodiazepines) will be provided to reduce the effects.


Nutmeg; Myristica fragrans; Myristicin; Toxicity; Intoxication

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Published by INSIGHT - Indonesian Society for Knowledge and Human Development