Jaiphal (Myristica Fragrans) (Nutmeg)
Juvenating jaiphal (nutmeg)
JAIPHAL, known as nutmeg in English, Myristica fragrance botanically and Jatiphal in Sanskrit, is the dried kernel of the fruit of a tall and evergreen tree found in southern parts of India. The fruit has a yellowish red covering which, if dried and peeled, is called mace or javitri. Both jaiphal and javitri have been used for centuries in Ayurveda.
Pungent, bitter and astringent in taste and light, sharp, hot and unctuous in properties: that is how jaiphal has been described in ayurvedic texts. While aggravating pitta, it calms down vata and kapha. The chemical composition of jaiphal includes volatile oils, protein, starch and minerals. It also contains an aromatic oil and an active principle known as myristicin.
Commonly used in kitchen preparations, jaiphal is digestive, appetiser, aromatic and astringent. Ayurveda attributes various other efficacies to it like anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrhoeal, analgesic and kamottejak and shukrastambhak (sex-stimulant and averting premature ejaculation). Though sedative in high doses, this fruit is considered to be a bitter tonic. Jaiphal is known to have numerous therapeutic effects. It is one of the very useful drugs which helps to control diarrhoea and dysentery, stimulate liver functions and cure chronic nasal discharge, insomnia and headache. Some of its common uses are as under:
Digestive upsets: Take one fourth of a teaspoonful of jaiphal powder with a little jaggery. It will promptly control diarrhoea. Adding a pinch of its powder to peppermint tea or taking it with honey relieves the symptoms of hiccups, gas, nausea and vomiting. It is also a well-known home remedy for recurrent loose motions of infants. After rubbing this nut in water, a paste–like material is obtained and given to children. Joint pains — Medicated sesame oil, prepared with the dried powder of jaiphal, is applied on inflamed and painful joints. Similarly, the application of the watery paste of jaiphal is very effective in the case of headache arising from exposure to cold.
Insomnia — Jaiphal powder is a remedy for sleeplessness. For this purpose, half gram of its powder can be taken mixed with honey. Its paste, in a very minute quantity, can also be given for inducing sleep to infants who cry at night for no apparent reason.
Other uses — Jaiphal is a commonly used ingredient in herbal cosmetics, mouth freshners and complexion promoting packs. In the case of diminished libido, one eighth of a teaspoonful of powdered jaiphal can be taken mixed in a little honey in the evening.
Jaiphal should only be taken in the prescribed dosage and that too not for a prolonged period. Its average daily dose is up to one gram. An overdose can produce toxic symptoms like severe acidity, nausea, giddiness and hallucinations. Javitri has properties similar to that of jaiphal but it is more of a carminative than anti-diarrhoeal. The ancient ayurvedic scholar, Sharangadhar, has written about Jatiphaladi Churna and Jatiphaladi Vati — the two classic medicines which contain jaiphal as their main ingredient.