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Oleum Myristicae. U. S., Br. Oil of Myristica.

Botanical name:

Ol. Myrist. [Myristica Oil, Oil of Nutmeg]

Related entry: Myristica

"A volatile oil distilled from the kernel of the ripe seed of Myristica fragrans Houttuyn (Fam. Myristicaceae). Preserve it in well-stoppered, amber-colored bottles, in a cool place, protected from light." U. S. "Oil of Nutmeg is the oil distilled from Nutmeg, and rectified." Br.

Volatile oil of Nutmeg; Oleum Myristicae Aethereum, Oleum. Nucis Moschati, Oleum Nucistae Aethereum; Huile volatile (Essence) de Muscade, Fr.; Oleum Macidis, P. G.; Aetherisches Muskatöl, Aetherisches Muskatnussöl, G.

This oil is obtained from nutmegs after powdering them by distillation with water. A better method, according to J. Cloez, is to exhaust the powder with carbon disulphide or ether, distil off the solvent by means of a water bath, and expose the butter-like residue to a current of steam, the vapor being conveyed into a refrigerated receiver, where it condenses. (J. P. C., Fev., 1864.) Schimmel & Co. (1899) state that oil of nutmeg is made from the light, worm-eaten nuts, of which large quantities are rejected in sorting the different qualities in Holland. The worm most strangely robs the nutmeg of its fat oil, while the essential oil remains in the nut in full. Oil of myristica is colorless or of a pale straw color, limpid, lighter than water, soluble in an equal volume of glacial acetic acid, in alcohol and ether, with a neutral reaction, a pungent spicy taste, and a strong odor of nutmeg. It is officially described in the United States Pharmacopoeia (Ninth Revision) as a colorless or pale yellow liquid, having the characteristic odor and taste of nutmeg. It is soluble in an equal volume of alcohol; also soluble in 3 volumes of 90 per cent. alcohol. Specific gravity: 0.859 to 0.924 at 25° C. (77° F.).

The mixture of volatile and fixed oils obtained by powerfully expressing nutmegs between heated plates may be separated by agitation with water. Upon standing, the latter deposits a crystalline solid, which was called by Playfair myristin. From its solution, in alcohol he obtained it in extremely light crystalline scales, which, after repeated crystallization, had still the odor of nutmeg, were fusible at 31° C. (87.8° F.), soluble in the ordinary menstrua of substances of the same class, and, as just said, insoluble in water. By glacial acetic acid it was first colored red. (P. J., March, 1874, 714.) It was identified as the glyceride of myristic acid, C14H28O2, and had, therefore, the formula C3H5(C14H27O2)3. Besides the myristin or solid fat, there is present about an equal amount of a liquid fat containing free acid. The essential oil consists chiefly of pinene with probably some dipentene, also myristicol, C10H16O, and myristicin, C11H12O3, linalool, borneol, terpineol, geraniol, eugenol, and a number of organic acids. Semmler (Ber. d. Chem. Ges., 1890, 1803) examined an oil of myristica of sp. gr. 0.8611 which contained only terpenes; these boiled at about 50° C. (122° F.) under a pressure of 8 mm.

Uses.—The oil of nutmeg unites to the common properties of the aromatics considerable narcotic power. It causes in the lower animals dilatation of the pupils, unsteadiness of the gait followed by sleepiness, with slow respiration, and, if the dose be large enough, loss of reflexes. According to Dale (Proc. Royal Soc. Med., Feb., 1909) doses large enough to produce narcosis in the cats are invariably fatal through fatty degeneration of the liver. A number of fatal cases of nutmeg poisoning have been reported in human beings. The symptoms have been the same as those which are observed in the lower animals. The toxic ingredient is myristicin.

The oil of nutmeg is used to correct the taste of various drugs and as a local stimulant to the gastro-intestinal tract.

Dose, one to five minims (0.06-0.3 mil).

Off. Prep.—Spiritus Myristicae, Br.; Elixir Glycyrrhizae Aromaticum, N. F.; Elixir Pepsini et Rennini Compositum, N. F.; Mistura Oleo-Balsamica, N. F.


The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.



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