Nutmeg for a Nasty High?
I talked to people who have gotten high off of large amounts of ground nutmeg and recently tried it myself. The nutmeg caused long-lasting, pleasant effects, but I experienced several days of burnout. I've also heard that nutmeg is good for insomnia. Does eating large amounts (20-25g) have any negative health effects?
The psychotropic effect of nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) was the subject of my college senior thesis, so I know quite a bit about it. The high comes from a compound called myristicin. The substance converts in the body to methylene-dioxyamphetamine, which is psychoactive and related to the "designer drug" ecstasy. Nutmeg has been widely used in prisons and other places where people can't access "better" drugs. You can get a third-rate high from nutmeg, but I wouldn't recommend it for several reasons: For starters, it tastes terrible when eaten alone, and the amount needed to get a high can leave you feeling disoriented and cause a very strong hangover. The amount you mention, 20 to 25 grams, is just shy of an ounce, which is a whole tin of nutmeg. Consuming too much can trigger severe headaches, nausea, and cramps -- and it is potentially toxic to the liver.
Over the years, nutmeg has developed quite a colorful reputation -- it has been used as treatment for a wide assortment of medical problems, including digestive disorders, kidney problems, indigestion, flatulence, and insomnia. It's been eaten to relax muscles and remove gas from the intestines; some mistakenly believed it could induce abortions; and it was even used as an aphrodisiac in the Middle East.
I don't recommend taking nutmeg for insomnia. You would be better off trying to eliminate all stimulants from your life and making sure you get plenty of aerobic exercise. (You may find that exercising at a particular time of day will help you sleep better at night.) The following natural relaxants can also promote sleepiness:
For insomnia due to muscle tension, take two capsules of a freeze-dried extract of hops (Humulus lupulus) before you go to bed.
For neuromuscular relaxation, take 1000 mg each of calcium and magnesium at bedtime.
For overall relaxation, do breathing exercises.
For a natural sedative, take valerian at bedtime. The recommended dose is two capsules of freeze-dried extract, or one dropperful of valerian tincture, or up to one teaspoon in a little water before you go to sleep.