Nutmeg is a spice with a number of benefits for health. It can relieve pain, ease indigestion, improve brain function, detoxify the body, boost the quality of skin, improve mouth problems, improve sleep, strengthen immune system, prevent some problems of blood and also improve blood circulation. These benefits have been known for centuries. However, what is beneficial for a normal human being need not always be beneficial for a pregnant woman or a breastfeeding mother.
When you are pregnant you should consider the effect of a particular food as on a pregnant woman and not as on a woman in general. You need to know whether the food you desire to take or had been taking before being pregnant is suitable during your pregnancy or not. The same is true for nutmeg. You need to ask yourself, nutmeg during pregnancy- is it safe? Let us see.
Nutmeg During Pregnancy
Nutmeg contains a number of essential oils. In fact, these are the elements which are responsible for most of the benefits of this spice. However, each of these oils have a different property and they influence the bodily functions differently. Let us analyze the effect of some of these elements of essential oils on a pregnant woman.
This is a type of Camphor and is one of the major constituents of essential oils found in nutmeg. It does have many health benefits. It can relieve pain and swelling, treat skin rashes and eczema, treat fungal infections, help to fall asleep, alleviate cold and cough, promote healthy hair growth, remove lice from hair etc. It has a characteristically strong odor which is useful in a wide variety of products. However, it is these chemicals properties of this which may be harmful for pregnant or breastfeeding women. The most worrying part is that it has the capacity to cross the placenta which holds the fetus. Once it is able to cross the placenta it can harm the fetus in a number of ways. Another study has shown that this chemical has a degree of toxicity that may affect the central nervous system and kidneys. All these characteristics are potent combinations that may harm yourself and your baby in a number of ways. So it is better to stay away from this element and therefore from nutmeg during pregnancy.
This is a class of alcohol which occurs in nutmeg in ester form. It has been shown that this chemical has the affinity to cross the placenta and due to its mild toxicity it may even harm the fetus. Some studies have even shown that this chemical may abate miscarriage in pregnant women, mostly during the middle part of pregnancy.
This is another major element present in the essential oils of nutmeg. This is mainly used as an antiseptic in industries. However, studies have shown that this element has mild toxic effect. It is mostly recommended that this element should be avoided during pregnancy.
This is actually a plant based insect repellant. Though the effects of this element on pregnancy have not been studied well, it is generally recommended that this should be avoided during pregnancy.
This component has been studied for its effect on pregnant women. Studies have shown that this compound has a hallucinogenic and sedative effect.Such effects on a pregnant woman or a breastfeeding mother are never warranted. In fact this chemical is used to synthesize psychotropic drugs. It can even result in poisoning if taken in higher concentration.
This may be a dangerous naturally occurring element for pregnant women. Studies have shown that safrole has the capacity to cross the placenta and harm the fetus. It can cause transplacental as well as lactational cancer. So it is neither safe for pregnant mothers nor safe for lactating mothers.
This shows that most of the major elements of essential oils present in nutmeg may have a negative bearing on the health of the fetus, the pregnant women, baby or the lactating mother. In order to avoid these complications it is better to avoid nutmeg during pregnancy.
Nutmeg also inhibits prostaglandin production
Prostaglandins have an important role in pregnancy. They help in working of the smooth muscles of the uterus which are responsible for labor. Studies have shown that taking nutmeg during pregnancy has the effect of inhibiting the production of this element. This may increase complications during pregnancy, especially during labor.
Taking nutmeg in higher quantities may also result in palpitations, convulsions, nausea, vomiting, body pain, dehydration. None of these effects are warranted in a normal human being let alone in a pregnant woman.
Different constituents of essential oils contained in nutmeg may affect pregnant and lactating mothers differently, but some of these effects may really be dangerous for the baby and the mother. So, you should specifically ask your gynecologist and pediatrician about the safety of nutmeg during pregnancy.