An experimental study of sexual function improving effect of Myristica fragrans Houtt. (nutmeg)

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2005 Jul 20;5:16. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-5-16.


Background: Myristica fragrans Houtt. (nutmeg) has been mentioned in Unani medicine to be of value in the management of male sexual disorders. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the aphrodisiac effect of 50% ethanolic extract of nutmeg along with its likely adverse effects and acute toxicity using various animal models.

Methods: The suspension of the extract was administered (100, 250 and 500 mg/kg, p.o.) to different groups of male rats daily for seven days. The female rats involved in mating were made receptive by hormonal treatment. The general mating behaviour, libido and potency were studied and compared with the standard reference drug sildenafil citrate. Likely adverse effects and acute toxicity of the extract were also evaluated.

Results: Oral administration of the extract at the dose of 500 mg/kg, produced significant augmentation of sexual activity in male rats. It significantly increased the Mounting Frequency, Intromission Frequency, Intromission Latency and caused significant reduction in the Mounting Latency and Post Ejaculatory Interval. It also significantly increased Mounting Frequency with penile anaesthetization as well as Erections, Quick Flips, Long Flips and the aggregate of penile reflexes with penile stimulation. The extract was also observed to be devoid of any adverse effects and acute toxicity.

Conclusion: The resultant significant and sustained increase in the sexual activity of normal male rats without any conspicuous adverse effects indicates that the 50% ethanolic extract of nutmeg possesses aphrodisiac activity, increasing both libido and potency, which might be attributed to its nervous stimulating property. The present study thus provides a scientific rationale for the traditional use of nutmeg in the management of male sexual disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Aphrodisiacs / pharmacology*
  • Aphrodisiacs / toxicity
  • Female
  • Libido / drug effects
  • Male
  • Myristica* / toxicity
  • Penile Erection / drug effects
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity
  • Rats
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Toxicity Tests, Acute


  • Aphrodisiacs
  • Plant Extracts