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Nutmeg tree yields up to three times in a season. Once harvested from the tree, its outer coat or husk is removed and discarded. Just underneath the tough husk is the golden-brown color aril, known as “mace,” firmly enveloping around the nutmeg kernel. Mace is gently peeled off from the kernel surface, flattened into strips, dried, and sold either as whole (blades) or finely ground.
Nutmeg kernel is then dried under the sun for several days to weeks. At larger commercial set-ups, this process is accomplished rather more rapidly over a hot drier machine until the whole nutmeg rattles inside the shell.
Nutmeg and mace spice contains many plant-derived chemical compounds that are known to have been anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties.
The active principles in nutmeg have many therapeutic applications in many traditional medicines as anti-fungal, anti-depressant, aphrodisiac, digestive, and carminative functions.
This spice is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper are used by the body as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for cytochrome oxidases enzymes.
It is also rich in many vital B-complex vitamins, including vitamin C, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin A and many flavonoid anti-oxidants like beta-carotene and cryptoxanthin that are essential for optimum health.
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