Health Benefits Of Mace

Have you heard of an unusual spice that wraps around a seed known to us as nutmeg? This spice deserves recognition for its unique flavour and health benefits. This article will highlight the uses of mace and how important it is to incorporate it into our daily lives. 

What is mace?

This aromatic spice has a rich history dating back to the 1st century. This was when a Roman author named Pliny documented the duality of the nutmeg tree, bearing both nutmeg and mace. Native to the Moluccas Islands in Indonesia, the reputation of the nutmeg tree reached the Dutch in the 1600s. This sparked  an all-out war on the island of Banda in Indonesia to control its production and trade. In addition, different variants of mace can also be found in the West Indies, Sri Lanka and China, determined by their signature orange hues.. If mace blades presents a more orangey-red hue, its origin is most likely from Indonesia, and if it's a more orange-yellow hue, it would most likely be from Grenada.1,2 

Mace is a unique spice that is derived from the lacy covering (aril) of the fruit kernel that we all know as nutmeg. The mace is the sister of the nutmeg, where both spices originate from the same tree of Myristica fragrans, each carrying its own distinct and unique flavours that are necessary as essence additives to a myriad of dishes worldwide. 

Health benefits of mace

Relieves joint pain and inflammation

Mace contains many bioactive phyto-compounds which may benefit human health by reducing inflammation and relieving pain. A study in 1989 has detailed the many uses of mace in Indonesian folk medicine such as an analgesic, stomachics and even medication to treat rheumatism. This study reasoned the use of mace as a natural remedy and discovered that extracts of mace, specifically myristicin, may exert an anti-inflammatory effect as it reduced oedema.3 This suggests the application of mace to a wound or an inflammatory condition may help relieve its symptoms. 

Boosts digestive health

Consuming mace may also benefit and boost gastrointestinal health. A study in 2020 documented the beneficial effects of mace extracts on the gastrointestinal tract. Similarly, phyto-compounds such as neolignans and phenols present in the ethanolic extract of mace have been found to possess anti-microbial activity as it inhibit the overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that is able to damage the intestinal lining.4 This in turn would allow a healthy gut microflora to thrive and boost the digestive health of an individual. 

Improves dental health

Like nutmeg, mace contains eugenol, a molecular compound that is commonly used in dentistry for its effective anti-bacterial activity in maintaining good oral health. Additionally, a study conducted in 2006 described the anti-bacterial effects of macelignan, present in both nutmeg and mace, to be effective against oral bacteria. Recent findings suggest that its antibacterial properties are more potent than commonly used essential oils, making it a promising candidate for preventing oral decay in oral care products as anticariogenic agent.5 

Anti-diabetic properties 

A study in 2012, the potentiality of mace extracts as an anti-diabetic due to their ability to reduce blood sugar levels and prevent glucose spikes. Oral administration of its extract has resulted in a steady reduction of blood glucose and better glycaemic control in diabetic animals, suggesting its effectiveness in regulating glucose uptake. This information, however, does not translate to its effects on humans and would require further studies to ascertain its benefits for humans.6

Aids in weight loss

Mace may be beneficial in aiding individuals who aim to lose extra pounds. A study in 2018 researched the benefits of mace extracts and found that seven bioactive compounds showed anti-obesity properties. This was concluded through body weight reduction and reduced food intake in animals treated with mace extracts over 10 week period.

 This suggests mace extracts have the potential to inhibit hunger sensory mechanisms in the hypothalamus and aid individuals with obesity.

 However, this study was only limited to animals and further studies are required to be safely administered to help individuals with obesity or overweight.7

Nutritional facts

These are the nutritional facts of mace based on a serving size of 100 g8 

Energy1989 kJ
Protein6.71 g
Total fat32.38 g
Carbohydrate50.50 g
Fiber20.20 g
Calcium252.0 mg
Potassium463.0 mg
Vitamin C21.0 mg
Phytosterols (Plant lipids)73.0 mg

Dosage and consumption of mace

Ways to consume mace

Mace is a spice that has been used in many ways for its subtle yet necessary flavour, along with  its medicinal properties that have been known throughout many generations integrated within cultures of Southeast Asian countries. From an accent additive to essential oils, mace is a spice significant to all but known to a few. Here are some of the methods mace can be used as part of your diet or your lifestyle.9,10

  1. Whip up your favourite Indian curry and incorporate two pieces of mace nets while simmering. The flavours of mace and garam masala create a flavourful harmony in a pot that is worth salivating over
  2. The addition of ground mace in a ginger cake is just like fitting the last piece into a puzzle. The flavours just go incredibly well together. On top of the spiciness of the ginger, mace lends a peppery and cinnamony flavour that no other spice can replace. Try it out and you’ll be having ginger cake every other day
  3. The mace essential oil is a great addition to your vanity desk just in case, you might feel a little under the weather. The oil can be used as part of a compress and also in an aromatherapy diffuser to maximize its intake

Recommended dosage

To date, there are little to no studies that have recommended an appropriate dosage of mace and its derivatives. However, please note that consumption of nutmeg at 1 to 2 mg/kg body weight has led to effects concerning the central nervous system. An overdosage at 5 g of nutmeg is considered toxic. This could possibly translate over to mace as they are siblings from the same fruit.11

Side effects and other concerns

In moderation, consuming mace does not pose any problems to human health. However, over-consumption of mace may trigger symptoms of anxiety, decreased salivation, gastrointestinal symptoms, tachycardia, acute psychosis, and cutaneous flashing. If you happen to experience any of these symptoms after consuming mace, please seek medical attention immediately and steer clear of it in the future. 11


In conclusion, mace is an under-appreciated spice today and should always be stored as an essential, be it as an additive to your weekly bakes or as an essential oil to soothe your evenings.

 As one of the most widely used folk medicines, this spice has a strong flavour and health benefits. 

When selecting arils for storage, you should pick the brittle and hard ones to ensure that they are dried. Store them in an airtight container. You will have a little healing agent always within arms reach. 


  1. gabby. Tilda Rice UK. 2022 [cited 2023 Jul 2]. A guide to mace | what is mace? Available from:
  2. INDIAN CULTURE [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jul 2]. Nutmeg and mace: a tale of two spices. Available from:
  3. Ozaki Y, Soedigdo S, Wattimena YR, Suganda AG. Antiinflammatory effect of mace, aril of Myristica fragrans Houtt. , and its active principles. Japanese Journal of Pharmacology [Internet]. 1989 [cited 2023 Jul 3];49(2):155–63. Available from:
  4. Suthisamphat N, Dechayont B, Phuaklee P, Prajuabjinda O, Vilaichone RK, Itharat A, et al. Anti-Helicobacter pylori , anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, and antioxidant activities of mace extracts from Myristica fragrans. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine [Internet]. 2020 Mar 29 [cited 2023 Jul 3];2020:1–6. Available from:
  5. Chung JY, Choo JH, Lee MH, Hwang JK. Anticariogenic activity of macelignan isolated from Myristica fragrans (nutmeg) against Streptococcus mutans. Phytomedicine [Internet]. 2006 Mar [cited 2023 Jul 5];13(4):261–6. Available from:
  6. Jinous Asgarpanah. Phytochemistry and pharmacologic properties of Myristica fragrans Houtt.: A review. Afr J Biotechnol [Internet]. 2012 Aug 14 [cited 2023 Jul 5];11(65). Available from:
  7. Vangoori Y, Dakshinamoorthi A, Rao RP, David DC, Babu KA. Effect of Myristica fragrans extract on food intake and body weight in experimental models. JCDR [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2023 Jul 5]; Available from:
  8. Top 5 health benefits of mace spice [Internet]. Organic Facts. 2017 [cited 2023 Jul 6]. Available from:
  9. Oshadhi Essential Oils [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jul 6]. Mace organic essential oil. Available from:
  10. The Spruce Eats [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jul 6]. Discover the many uses of mace. Available from:
  11. [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jul 6]. Nutmeg uses benefits & dosage - drugs. Com herbal database. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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