nutmeg and hallucinations

nutmeg and hallucinations
   The name nutmeg refers to the dried kernels of the evergreen trees Myristica acuminata and Myristica fragrans, which are indigenous to the Moluccas and Indonesia. Nutmeg is a common household spice that was once used as an aphrodisiac, as an ingredient of a magical perfume, and as a therapeutic for various ailments, including problems of the digestive tract, asthma, and cardiac problems. It is now mainly used as a tas-tant in cooking and baking. In larger quantities, the oral ingestion of nutmeg may give rise to toxic effects such as sedation, nausea, vomiting, flushing, tachycardia, delusions, lively * dreams, and hallucinations. Symptoms like these usually arise some 6 h after the ingestion of one or more kernels. Incidental cases of nutmeg abuse and subsequent intoxication have been described at least since the 12th century. The German Benedictine abbess and mystic Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) has been credited with providing one of the earliest descriptions of its psychoac-tive effects. Although nutmeg has been widely used as a substitute for *marijuana by prisoners and other individuals unable to lay their hands on cannabis products, detailed descriptions of its hallucinogenic effects are rare. It has been reported to mediate *visual, *auditory, *tactile, and * kinaesthetic hallucinations (notably the sensation of floating), as well as *body schema illusions. The major compounds held responsible for its hallucinatory effects are elemicine, myristicin, and safrole. It is believed that these substances are centrally transformed into amphetamine derivatives such as MDMA. A person intentionally employing nutmeg for the purpose of exploring the psyche may be called a * psychonaut.
   Kelly, B.D., Gavin, B.E., Clarke, M., Lane, A., Larkin, C. (2003). Nutmeg and psychosis. Schizophrenia Research, 60, 95-96.
   Rätsch, Chr. (2005). The encyclopedia of psychoactive plants. Ethnopharmacology and its applications. Translated by Baker, J.R. Rochester, VT: Park Street Press.
   Rudgley, R. (1998). The encyclopaedia ofpsy-choactive substances. London: Little, Brown and Company.

Dictionary of Hallucinations. . 2010.

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