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Oleum Myristicae (U. S. P.)—Oil of Nutmeg.

Botanical name:

Preparation: Spirit of Nutmeg
Related entry: Myristica (U. S. P.)—Nutmeg - Oleum Myristicae Expressum.—Expressed Oil of Nutmeg

"A volatile oil distilled from Nutmeg. It should be kept in well-stoppered bottles, in a cool place, protected from light"—(U. S. P.).
SYNONYMS: Oleum nucistae aethereum, Volatile oil of nutmeg.

Preparation.—This oil is obtained by distilling ground nutmegs by means of steam. It maybe prepared as suggested by Cloëz (1864), by exhausting the nuts with carbon disulphide or ether, and finally distilling the extract thus obtained with the aid of steam. Nutmegs yield from 8 to 15 per cent (Schimmel & Co.) of oil.

Description and Chemical Composition.—The U. S. P. describes oil of nutmeg as "a thin, colorless or pale yellowish liquid, having the characteristic odor of nutmeg, and a warm, spicy taste. It becomes darker and thicker by age and exposure to the air. Specific gravity, 0.870 to 0.900 at 15° C. (59° F.). Soluble in an equal volume of alcohol, the solution being neutral to litmus paper; also soluble in an equal volume of glacial acetic acid, and in carbon disulphide in all proportions"—(U.S. P.).

The specific gravity at 15° C. (59° F.), according to Schimmel & Co., may be as high as 0.920. It is dextrogyre (+14° to +30°), fulminates with iodine, and forms a clear solution with 3 parts of 90 per cent alcohol. Oil of nutmeg consists of (1) pinene (Wallach, 1884; Schacht's macene, 1862); (2) dipentene; (3) Gladstone's myristicol (C10H14O; Wright, C10H16O) boiling at 224° C. (435.2° F.); specific gravity, 0.9466 convertible into cymol, (4) myristicin (isomyristicin) (C12H14O3) in the highest fractions, melts at 30° C. (86° F); its specific gravity is 1.150 at 25° C. (77° F.), and it has a strong odor of mace; (5) myristic acid (C14H28O2), formerly called myristicin, often forms a sediment (stearopten) in old oils. Oil of nutmeg contains more terpenes than oil of mace, otherwise their composition and properties are alike (Gildemeister and Hoffmann, Die Aetherischen Oele).

Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Rarely used in medicine. In 2 or 3-drop doses it may be used for the same purposes as nutmeg.


King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.



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