The tree yielding nutmeg, Myristica fragrans, is native to New Guinea and islands of the Malay Archipelago, from whence it has been introduced to Sumatra, Brazil, the West Indies, and other countries favorable to its cultivation. It has been asserted that the nutmeg was not known to the ancients, but von Martius (409), Flora Brasiliensis, 1860, contends that it was mentioned in the "Comedies of Plautus," about two centuries B. C. The nutmeg has been an article of import and export from Aden since the middle of the twelfth century, and by the end of that century both nutmeg and mace had reached Northern Europe. This spice came naturally into domestic culinary use, it being classed with mace, cloves, calamus, etc. Its use in legalized medicine, also, has been chiefly in the direction of a flavor to other substances, and followed similar empirical preparations.
The History of the Vegetable Drugs of the U.S.P., 1911, was written by John Uri Lloyd.