Homeland – Banda Islands (Southeast Asia). Widely cultivated in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malacca, the Moluccas, East Africa (Mauritius), the Seychelles, Fr. Reunion, oh Madagascar, in the West Indies. Ancient culture.

An evergreen tropical tree with leathery simple leaves; the flowers are yellowish, collected in the axils of the leaves in small inflorescences. The fruit is a fleshy ovoid-spherical orange-yellow berry, 4-6 cm long, with a dense skin; when ripe, the skin and pulp of the fruit are split in two by an annular vertical crack and a dark brown seed is found inside, partially covered by a bright red juicy seedling (arillus). Seeds are harvested twice a year.

Seedling is removed separately, it closes the seed at the base in the form of a glass and splits into lobes towards the top. The dried seedling is flattened, fragile, reddish-yellow, fragrant, goes on sale under the name “nutmeg color” – Maris.

The seed, covered with a woody peel, is subjected to fire drying, the peel is beaten off, the seed kernel is briefly placed in milk of lime to eliminate the likelihood of germination and insect damage, and dried in air. The fragrant kernels prepared in this way are known under the name “nutmeg” – Nux Moschata or Semen Myristicae. They are oval in shape, within 3 cm long and 2 cm thick, with a wrinkled surface, gray-brown, with white lime in the furrows: a light round scar is noticeable at the top. On the section, the core has an original mottled (“marble”) structure – the bulk is formed by orange endosperm, dark brown perisperm in the form of winding veins is introduced into it from the edges; the embryo is white, very small, located near the hilum.

The seed kernel contains 5-15% essential oil, which includes terpenes – up to 80% (a- and P-pinenes, camphene, etc.), terpene alcohols – 4-15% (linalool, boreol, geraniol, phenylpropane derivatives ( myristicin up to 12%, safrole up to 3%, etc.).

The seed kernel is rich (25-40%) in dense fatty oil, consisting mainly of triglycerides of myristic acid. A poisonous, narcotic active substance was found in the basis of fat; it is assumed that it refers to phenylpropane derivatives, which undergo biotransformation in the body. By pressing the seeds, a dense, fragrant orange balm is obtained, consisting of a mixture of fatty and essential oils and pigments. Known as Oleum Nucistae.


Muscat color contains at least 4.5% essential oil, 20% fatty oil and 30% amylodextrin.

Nutmeg is used as a means of stimulating the activity of the stomach and correcting the taste of medicines. Essential oil, also a balm, is used in ointments and rubbing as a skin irritant. Nutmeg and mace are popular spices.

The plant contains bicyclic monoterpenes.



Bicyclic monoterpenes are compounds with two fused non-aromatic rings (large and small) and one double bond. There are 5 types of these compounds.

The type of karana is a small cycle or, as it is also called, a “bridge”, located outside, adjacent to Сз and С 4 . Only hydrocarbons (carenes) are known:


The pinan type is an internal “bridge”, between C 2 and C 4 . There are hydrocarbons (pinenes) and oxygen derivatives (for example, alcohol myrtenol, ketone pinocarvone).



The type of tuyana (or sabinana) is an internal “bridge”, between C 6 and C4. From hydrocarbons, sabinene is known, and from oxygen derivatives – alcohols sabinol, thujol, ketone thujone.




In the essential oil plants described below, bicyclic monoterpenes can be simultaneously of different types and, in addition, be accompanied by monocyclic and aliphatic monoterpenes, as well as sesquiterpenes.

The fenhan type is an internal “bridge”, between C 1 and C 4 , connecting through C 8 (CH 2 group ); C 9 and C 10 are localized at C 3 . Only one oxygen derivative is known, the fenchon ketone.

The type of camphan is an internal “bridge”, between and C 4 . Oxygen derivatives are common: alcohols – borneol, ketones – camphor.


Essential oils are natural fragrant substances that are highly volatile and cause the specific smell of plants. For this reason, also due to their “oily” consistency and “greasy” spot on paper, which soon disappears, they received such a peculiar name.

Essential oils are not individual substances. These are complex mixtures of organic substances, the composition and number of which are different for each type of essential oil plants and can serve as a chemotaxonomic feature. The main group of substances that make up the essential oils of many plants are terpenes (more precisely, monoterpenes) and seseviterpenes, that is, substances with an isoprenoid structure. However, in the essential oils of a number of plants, aromatic compounds may predominate, as well as numerous substances of the aliphatic series. There are plants with sulfur and nitrogen compounds in essential oils.

Essential oils in plants are mostly in a free state. However, some plants contain them in the form of glycosides and are released during enzymatic cleavage. Essential oils are formed in all parts of plants, but quantitatively they accumulate in them traditionally unequally.

They can be in a plant organism in a diffuse diffuse state (ie, emulsified or dissolved in cells) or accumulate, localize in special anatomical and morphological formations that are easily detected under a microscope. These excretory formations can be exogenous and endogenous.

Exogenous formations develop in the epidermal tissue and are:

– glandular “spots” – small-drop accumulations of essential oils immediately under the cuticle of the epidermis;

– glandular hairs – cylindrical epidermal outgrowths, consisting of a unicellular or multicellular pedicle and a head with cells that secrete essential oil;

– glands – epidermal outgrowths that have received the most

the highest specialization in the extraction and accumulation of essential oils. They have a different structure and can serve as a systematic feature. For example, in yasnotkovye (labial) 8 excretory cells are arranged in a rosette on a short stalk; in aster (composite) glandular cells have a vertical arrangement – 2 in 4 rows, etc.

Endogenous formations develop in parenchymal tissues and are:

– secretory cells – single (for example, in the air parenchyma of calamus rhizome) or form layers of such cells (for example, in valerian roots);

– receptacles – rounded cavities formed in the mesophyll of the leaf, peel of citrus fruits, in the bark and wood of a number of plants and filled with essential oil;

– tubules and passages – strongly elongated excretory formations found in the fruits of umbellate, bark and wood of a number of plants.

Essential oils accumulate in plants in all possible quantities: from hundredths and thousandths of a percent (for example, in violet flowers – 0.004%) to 20% or more (for example, in flower buds of carnations – up to 23%).

Essential oils are obtained: 1) by steam distillation; 2) extraction with some extractants; 3) enfleurage; 4) mechanically.

Steam distillation is the most common method. It is carried out in installations consisting of a double-jacketed still (in which steam circulates to prevent the still from cooling), a condenser and a receiver. Steam is fed into the cube loaded with raw materials from below through a perforated coil, entraining the essential oil. A mixture of cooled vapors of water and essential oil enters the receiver, where the mixture separates and excess water is removed through a tube at the bottom of the receiver (if oil is lighter than water) or through a drain tube at the top (if oil is heavier than water).

The extraction of essential oils from raw materials is carried out with volatile organic solvents in Soxhlet-type apparatuses or in column apparatuses. Subsequently, the raw material is lifted by the screw from the bottom up, and the extractant enters towards it. After distillation of the solvent, the residue is either pure essential oil or its mixture with other extracted substances (resins, waxes, etc.); in the latter case, additional cleaning is required.

Enfleurage is based on the fact that essential oil from raw materials (mainly from flowers) is absorbed by sorbents (solid fats, activated carbon, etc.) in special frame installations.

The mechanical method is used to extract essential oils from citrus fruits by pressing or scraping.

Although essential oils are very common in the plant world, their role for the plant organism and the reasons for their formation have not yet been reliably established. It was assumed that essential oils serve to protect plants from diseases and pests, to attract the smell of insects, which contributes to the pollination of flowers, to protect plants from excessive heating during the day and hypothermia at night, etc. Currently, most scientists believe that essential oils (or rather, their components) are actively involved in the metabolic processes of plant organisms.

Essential oils find a wide and varied application for medicinal, cosmetic, food (spices) and other chains.

Essential oils are classified according to the substances that make up their bulk, or substances that determine their medicinal and industrial value. There are the following groups (and subgroups) of components of essential oils:

Monoterpenes (terpenes), including:

1. Acyclic terpenes.

2. Monocyclic terpenes.

3. Bicyclic terpenes.

Sesquiterpenes, including:

1. Acyclic sesquiterpenes.

2. Cyclic sesquiterpenes.

Aromatic and phenolic compounds.

Sulfur and nitrogen-containing compounds.

The listed compounds, especially terpenoids, in essential oils can occur in the form of numerous oxygen derivatives: alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, phenols, acids, esters, lactones, oxides, quinones. The number of terpenoids also increases due to the tendency of many of these compounds to various forms of isomerism (optical, geometric, etc.).

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