Nutmeg High

November 29, 2022 at 5:21 p.m.
Nutmeg has compounds in it that impact the brain
Nutmeg has compounds in it that impact the brain Suzy Cohen

Recently I made some homemade vanilla eggnog and used freshly grated whole nutmeg. It really does make a difference if you grate a whole nutmeg versus regular powdered nutmeg spice. The flavor is incredibly richer than the former. [The recipe is posted below.] Nutmeg is a super interesting spice with tons of health benefits.

But you may not realize it naturally contains a compound that can get you a tad bit high! It’s called the nutmeg high. The psychoactive properties of nutmeg might explain why that one relative gets all weird after Thanksgiving dinner which often contains a recipe with nutmeg!

Nutmeg has compounds in it that impact the brain and for sensitive individuals it may be a little too much. The worst part is that children and teens are usually the ones getting into trouble with nutmeg. The Nutmeg Challenge trend started on a popular social media app called TikTok. The results have been devastating and led to some fatalities.

Before you go and trash the nutmeg in your home, I want to tell you that the myristicin is also in your parsley, anise, cinnamon, clove, fennel, parsley, star anise and basil! There’s just not that much in those other spices. The kids trying to trip off the myristicin aren’t going for those other herbs, though, they’re looking in the cabinet for nutmeg.

Nutmeg has medicinal properties that make it a delicious, health-giving spice. It is known to help with sleep, blood pressure, inflammation, stomach problems, and pain. It’s a strong anti-inflammatory and has anti-tumorigenic properties. I don’t want to scare you away from nutmeg when it is a superfood. It even improves memory and if used correctly in recipes, it will enhance the flavor of almost any dish!

Using it properly is key. Recipes call for small amounts, usually one-quarter or half of a teaspoon to the batter or soup you’re making. It’s a very tiny amount compared to the whole recipe. But kids and some adults are taking a whole teaspoon, and sometimes up to a tablespoon or two! This can lead to fatal consequences depending on the individual.

The psychoactive compounds in nutmeg spice put the sympathetic nervous system into action, and this can cause fight or flight symptoms. In excess, one may experience dry mouth, blurred vision, dizziness, confusion and heart rhythm abnormalities. If there is a pre-existing heart condition, even a teaspoon or two can be fatal!

The difficulty is that the LSD-like effects don’t occur right away, the spice is fully ingested and absorbed into the bloodstream before the dreadful situation presents itself symptomatically. Eventually one may experience toxic effects such as dizziness, vertigo, tachycardia, hallucinations, disorientation to time and space, depersonalization, dysphoria, nausea/vomiting and more.

Nutmeg is easily a superfood, with tremendous health benefits. When abused it can lead to intoxication. Please read your recipes carefully and keep an eye on what your kids or grandkids are watching on social media.

Homemade Vanilla Eggnog for Special Occasions


6 egg yolks

1/4 cup light (or golden) brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup evaporated cane

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 cups whole milk

1/2 TEA vanilla extract

1/4 TEA ground nutmeg – see my note below

1/16th of a spoon salt (commonly termed a “pinch of salt”)

Optional: 1/2 TEA dried vanilla powder spice) 


Whisk together the 6 egg yolks with the 2 types of sugar. Set aside this blended egg yolk mixture.

In a medium-size saucepan, heat up the whipping cream and milk, and all the other spices/ingredients. Continuously whisk it all together. Heat it on medium-low, and almost to the point of boiling but not quite. It doesn’t look like a whole lot just yet but be patient.

Before it boils, use a small ladle, and take some of the very hot milk mixture (basically one ladle at a time) and add it to the blended egg yolk mixture in the bowl you set aside. Keep adding more milk to the yolk (you’re just tempering the eggs) until you’ve almost emptied your saucepan into the egg yolks and whisk it nicely together until you have smooth vanilla eggnog.

Now do the reverse, pour the mixture you just made back into the saucepan and continue heating it until it thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes. If you can evaluate the temperature, it’s something like 170 degrees. Once you’ve achieved this, allow it to cool on the stove, or in a mason jar, with some plastic wrap (or foil) on top of it. When it’s cooled down, move the mason jar to your refrigerator and chill for 3 – 4 hours.

Sprinkle your vanilla eggnog with cinnamon or a dash of fresh whipped cream. For a boozy option, feel free to spike it with bourbon, brandy or even Chambord® cherry liqueur.

Voila! You now have a wonderful homemade vanilla eggnog for a special occasion.

Suzy Cohen calls herself "America's Pharmacist" -- for more information, visit Suzy Cohen - Suzy Cohen, RPh offers natural remedies to help you feel better now! 
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