Nutmegs have long been employ ed both for culinary and medicinal purposes. On distilling them, one pound of this fruit affords, according to GLEDITSCH, only four or five drams of essential oil, which possesses the flavour of the spice itself. An inspissated decoction produces an extract of an unctuous, slightly bitterish taste, which is somewhat astringent. Rectified spirit extracts the whole virtue of nutmegs by infusion. When heated, this spice likewise yields by expression a large portion of a lim pid yellow oil, namely, four or five ounces from every pound ; and which, on cooling, concretes into a soapy consistence.
In the Island of Banda, the whole fruit of the nutmeg-tree is preserved, by boiling it first in water, and afterwards in syrup ; or by pickling it in brine, vinegar, etc. in a manner similar to walnuts.
With respect to their effects on the human body, nutmegs are strongly aromatic, stomachic, and astringent : hence this drug has often been used for diarrhoeas and dysenteries, in doses from 10 to 20 grains in powder, or in larger quantities, when infused in Port -wine. In violent head-achs, aris ing from a debilitated stomach, small doses of this medicine have frequently been found of real ser vice ; but, if injudiciously employed, it is apt to affect the head, not unlike opium and other powerful narcotics. - The officinal preparations of nutmeg are, a spirit, and an essential oil : the nutmeg in substance is also roasted, to ren-der it more astringent.- See Mace.