Most human being who indulge in vacation eggnog suppose to feel a little bit of boozy warmth, but couple of realize the the nutmeg sprinkled on its creamy surface carries its very own potent punch. The timeless holiday spice, which has long been well-known as a powerful psychedelic, hasn’t constantly had such a festive reputation.

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These days, you only likely to have pleasant encounters v nutmeg, whether as a garnish on winter-weather treats, grated right into a wealthy bechamel sauce, or powdered alongside canisters the cocoa and also cinnamon in ~ your neighborhood Starbucks. That is, indeed, a heady, woody-smelling spice the adds depth to both sweet and savory foods. But background hasn’t always seen it the way.


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Prisoners and also peasants in 12th-century Europe believed it an ext of a drug than sensory decoration: establish its extreme physical side results — which, in enhancement to the intuitive hallucinations and an obstacle moving properly, can include up to fifty percent a job of vomiting, dizziness, nausea, and seizures — they provided it together a desperate effort to escape the horrors that imprisonment, induce menstruation in women, or in attempts to abort unwanted fetuses. Despite the dreadful hangover, some human being were still willing to take it; the alleged French seer Nostradamus, for one, is claimed to have induced his prophetic visions through ingesting large amounts that nutmeg. Like many modern-day drugs, the benefits showed up to outweigh the costs, and also so nutmeg’s reputation as a potent psychotropic medicine persisted through the ages.

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Its hallucinogenic potency comes under to the effects of a volatile compound contained within its flesh. Nutmeg itself is a seed, pulled from the branches that the evergreen Myristica fragrans tree, i m sorry is native to Indonesia’s summer sprouts (Molucca) Islands. The aril — the tissue bordering the seeds — is what’s used to make the equally an effective spice mace, which is typically found in eye-searing pepper spray. Both nutmeg and mace save myristicin, which deserve to in rotate be secluded to aid produce more powerful psychotropic drugs, like MMDA and its more popular, potentially therapeutic analog MDMA. They likewise contain the link safrole, i beg your pardon is a known precursor come MDMA.


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Eating a huge dose the nutmeg — a 130-pound Erowid user consumed around 25 grams — will create potent hallucinogenic effects that last around 12 hours, adhered to by a deep sleep and subsequent memory disability of the trip, add by the previously mentioned side effects, with each other with challenge urinating, dry mouth, and also panic. Eating the amount that powdered nutmeg, it must be noted, is incredibly difficult; the not precisely soluble, and swallowing it is much like trying come choke down sawdust, also when combined with water or an oilier substance, like ice cream. And even if you do succeed in choking that down, it isn’t clear that the results will be precious the trouble. Clinical toxicologist Dr. Leon Gussow, who authored a 2011 file on nutmeg toxicity, has compared the consequences to a “two-day hangover.”

It’s because that these factors that nutmeg doesn’t come encourage — not even by Erowid — together a “semi-legal high” and hasn’t persisted as an especially common hallucinogen among high-seekers. There are only a grasp of nutmeg overdose instances that display up in ~ poison regulate centers yearly — often, teens looking because that a cheap high, perhaps motivated by story of renowned users prefer Malcolm X, that notoriously quipped that “a coin matchbox full of nutmeg had the absent of 3 or 4 reefers.”

Rest assured, however, that you won’t be most likely to feel stated kick this vacation season unless you really go difficult on the nutmeg and also light ~ above the ‘nog. While it might be tempting to perform so, there are much less uncomfortable ways of getting into — or the end of — the vacation spirit.