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Myths Debunked

Can eating a whole nutmeg kill you?


I seem to remember being told that I should always be careful to grate only a small amount of nutmeg into my cooking: eating it whole would be such a shock to my body that it would kill me!

Well it turns out, as is often the case with these stories, the effect of nutmeg might have been somewhat exaggerated! There have only been two reported cases EVER of fatal accidents involving nutmeg, one of which involved other complications. 

But interestingly it would seem nutmeg has some surprises in store for us. It’s not fatal but it is, in large enough doses, a psychoactive. It contains myristicin, a substance which can cause a variety of effects such as convulsions, body pain, dehydration and uncontrollable sleep but has also been reported to cause hysteria and delirium.  
However beware! It has been reported that doses completely harmless to humans may be fatal to animals. So don’t feed your cat too much lasagne or replace its milk with eggnog – although sometimes tell me you weren’t gonna do that anyway!
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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Can eating a whole nutmeg kill you?

  1. So that nutmeg stir fry with nutmeg sauce is off limits then x

    Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2011, 5:48 am
  2. Well to your dog yes!

    Posted by Natasha Agabalyan | September 21, 2011, 9:12 am

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About me

Natacha is a research scientist and a lover of all things science! She love finding out interesting facts about all aspects of life, whether it’s how genetic engineering works or what the difference between crimped and straight hair is. There’s a bit of science behind every mystery and the Science Informant will help find the clues for everyone to enjoy and understand the amazing world of science!

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