Medicinal Properties of Mace


Botanical Name :- Myristica frangrans
Indian Name :- Jathipathri

Other names: توابل (Arabic), tungkod (Filipino), macis (French), korbacze (Polish), macis (Italian), topuz (Turkish)

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Mysterious mace. If you've cooked with it, you know that it is one of the flavors of fall, often used with cinnamon, cloves and allspice in spice cake and squash pies. But have you ever noticed that nutmeg and mace are rarely used together? Their flavors are quite similar, so just one or the other is normally used. In truth, mace and nutmeg are so much alike because they are both parts of the fruit of the Myristica frangrans, or nutmeg tree.

Mace consists of the vein-like threads that cover the dried fruit, while nutmeg is the kernel inside the seed, rather like the kernel inside a peach pit. Mace threads, or blades, are chopped or ground and the nutmeg kernel is ground or grated. Both are traditional flavorings for sweets including custards, cakes, desserts, and savory dishes, especially fish, spinach, pasta and quiche.

Confusion created by two spices from a single fruit is apparently longstanding: spice lore tells the tale of an English merchant who visited a Ceylon nutmeg plantation and, after learning that mace was worth more than nutmeg, declared, "We must raise less nutmegs and more mace."

Some spice historians speculate that mace may not have been considered a spice until long after nutmeg became popular, since it is not included in early European descriptions of spice use from 3rd and 4th centuries. However, cooking with nutmeg in India extends to ancient times.

Arab traders introduced nutmeg to the West some time in the 6th century. It eventually became as valuable as gold and was among the spices that prompted the European exploration of the world.

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In the Middle Ages, Europeans who could afford spices especially used nutmeg to flavor pudding and beverages, including spiced wine. A Chaucer poem recommends keeping nutmegs on hand to put in ale. Nutmeg flavoring in beverages continues today with Coca Cola, which reportedly includes it in its secret recipe.

This could have something to do with the flavoring qualities of nutmeg and mace, which are spicier than most people imagine. Despite their use in mild dishes like custard and stewed fruit, nutmeg and mace actually include some of the same oils that flavor pepper and cloves.

Nutmeg and mace also contain hallucinogens and can be fatally toxic if used in a large quantity, for example, eating an entire nutmeg. However, the small quantities normally used in cooking are considered safe.

Regarding its health benefits, nutmeg is believed to aid digestion and relieve nausea and the sensation of vomiting. Nutmeg oil is used a component in aftershave and scents for men, where it lends its characteristically spicy scent.

And while nutmeg may be used liberally in culinary preparations, care should be taken not to consume large amounts of it in concentrated form, as it is known to have some drug-like properties that can cause hallucinations and illness.

In low doses, nutmeg produces no noticeable physiological or neurological response. Large doses can be dangerous (potentially inducing convulsions, palpitations, nausea, eventual dehydration, and generalized body pain). In large amounts it is reputed to be a strong deliriant. Users report both negative and positive experiences, involving strong open-eye-visuals (hallucinations), and in some cases quite severe anxiety. Users may feel a sensation of blood rush to the head, or a strong euphoria and dissociation. Nutmeg contains myristicin, a weak monoamine oxidase inhibitor.

Mace Recipes -  Mace Shake!

  • Directions:

    1 c. solid packed pumpkin
    1/2 c. frozen concentrated orange juice
    1 qt. vanilla ice cream
    1/2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
    1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. mace
    1/2 tsp. ground ginger

    Method :

    In blender or milkshake maker put all pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, oragne juice and vanilla icecream. Blend together until really smooth. Serve immediately in Milkshake glasses .If desired, garnish with licorice stick "stirrers". Pumpkin, orange juice and spices add a new twist to a milkshake, sure to be a hit with the kids.

    * As a variation, you could try with apples or just about any other fruit!

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