Is Nutmeg a Hallucinogen

Slofoodgroup Team June 20, 2022

Nutmeg, the seed of the Myristica Fragrans tree, is highly desired for culinary uses. It is a warming spice, known for its inclusion in winter beverages, baked goods, stews, and cream-based sauces. It is also a prized ingredient in natural healing, with suggested benefits ranging from reducing oxidative stress and fighting inflammation to boosting mood and lowering blood pressure—and even heightening one’s libido.

Nutmeg also has some very unexpected uses, such as fighting bacteria to help overcome bad breath, but there is one rather unexpected application that has gained a resurgence of attention (after it spiked in the 1960s), which may not be safe for those who partake—using it as a psychedelic influencer. 

Can Nutmeg Be Used as a Psychedelic

In short, the answer to this question is “yes”. Though, as is the case with other mind-altering substances, it may not be a safe way to achieve a euphoric or hallucinogenic state. Several online forums report instances of achieved “highs”, but ABC News suggests that most people (primarily adolescents and young adults) who do try it only try it once due to a host of unpleasant side effects. Let’s take a look at why nutmeg is better suited as a spice or natural health aid taken in small doses than as a hallucinogenic. 

What are the side effects of using nutmeg as a hallucinogen?

In order to experience any sort of amplified psychoactive delusions, one must ingest large, unsafe doses of the nutmeg seed. Doing so has reportedly caused “nausea, vomiting, flushing, dry mouth, tachycardia, nervous system stimulation possibly with epileptiform convulsions, miosis, (and) mydriasis”, and although not ideal, these conditions pale in comparison to multiple more serious but less common reports of fatality.

How much nutmeg is needed to experience psychoactive effects?

According to Science Direct, with information sourced from several other publications, the hallucinogenic effects are obtained after taking anywhere from the equivalent of 1 to 3 whole nutmeg seeds. With reports ranging anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 hours from the time it is ingested until it kicks in, though, its hard to gauge how much is enough to generate hallucinations before going overboard and putting a life at risk, so it’s best to reserve your nutmeg for sprinklings into holiday nog or a teaspoon at a time into braises and stews. 

Is nutmeg still approved by the FDA?

Nutmeg is “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA, but only when for its “intended use”, which certainly doesn’t include hallucinogenic recreation. 

What to do if you or someone you know has ingested unsafe amounts of nutmeg:

If you are concerned about possible poisoning of yourself or someone else, please seek help from the Poison Control Center via their virtual web assistance  or call them at 1-800-222-1222. If you call them, you will be connected to your local poison center.  The Poison Control Center recommends that you call 911 immediately “if an individual has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened”.


While we don’t recommend using nutmeg for the wrong reasons, we do love including it in our dishes. Check some of our recipes including nutmeg and learn more about this fragrant seed on our blog.



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