Pharmacological studies on Myristica fragrans--antidiarrheal, hypnotic, analgesic and hemodynamic (blood pressure) parameters

Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 2002 Dec;24(10):675-80. doi: 10.1358/mf.2002.24.10.802317.


Recurrent diarrhea is prevalent in developing countries, particularly in tropical regions. A natural based antidiarrheal home remedy can serve as an ideal health tool to limit diarrhea-related morbidity and mortality. In the traditional Indian medical science of Ayurveda, nutmeg is one such plant said to possess antidiarrheal activity. A study was therefore planned to assess the various pharmacological effects (antidiarrheal, sedative, analgesic and blood pressure) of nutmeg. Both Nutmeg crude suspension (NMC) and petroleum ether (PE), but not aqueous extract (Aq), decreased the mean number of loose stools or increased the latency period. NMC increased intestinal tone while PE had no such effect. PE had no effect on guinea pig ileum, but inhibited the contraction produced by acetylcholine, histamine and prostaglandin. NMC but not PE extract showed a significant but weak analgesic effect. While PE effectively potentiated both phenobarbitone and pentobarbitone-induced sleeping time, NMC was considerably less effective. NMC administered intraduodenally did not produce much effect on blood pressure (BP), but potentiated the action of exogenously administered adrenaline and nor-adrenaline. On the other hand, PE in higher, but not lower, doses caused a precipitous fall in BP not blocked by atropine. Thus, overall extracts of nutmeg showed a good antidiarrheal effect, with a significant sedative property. The extracts possessed only a weak analgesic effect, with no harmful effects on blood pressure and ECG.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Antidiarrheals / administration & dosage
  • Antidiarrheals / pharmacology*
  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Barbiturates / administration & dosage
  • Barbiturates / pharmacology*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Cathartics / administration & dosage
  • Cathartics / pharmacology
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / drug effects
  • Hypnosis / methods
  • Ileum / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Myristica / chemistry*
  • Plant Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Analgesics
  • Antidiarrheals
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Barbiturates
  • Cathartics
  • Plant Preparations