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Nutmeg: It's not just for the kitchen anymore. In fact, nutmeg is used in China and the West to cure everything from stomach problems to toothaches. New research indicates that one of the chemicals in nutmeg may actually heal and clear your skin. No, it's not a miracle cure, and it probably isn't the most powerful skin tonic around -- but as a natural home treatment for acne and scars, it can't be beat.
Nutmeg contains a chemical called mace, or Myristica fragrans. It's strong and bitter, and a powerful medicine. In 1991, the "Journal of Natural Products" published a study that found mace had strong anti-fungal and anti-bacterial activities. Acne is related to infections and inflammation of your pores, caused by -- you guessed it! -- fungus and bacteria. It'll take more research to prove that nutmeg really stops acne, but writers at beauty blog Viva Woman claim a cinnamon-nutmeg mask is one of the most effective they've tried.
If you have dark spots or want to lighten your skin naturally, nutmeg might be your answer. In 2008, a study in the "Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin" tested nutmeg on melanin, the chemical that gives your skin its color. The study found that nutmeg slowed down melanin production. It was so effective that the study's authors recommended nutmeg as "a new skin-whitening agent."
In 1999, the "International Journal of Cosmetic Science" published a study that researched 150 plant extracts. Nutmeg, among others, turned out to be very effective at slowing the breakdown of skin cells. The study recommended that nutmeg might be useful in cosmetics. There's also a chance that taking nutmeg supplements might help your body fight cancer: A 1991 study in "Cancer Letters" showed that mice who had small amounts of nutmeg in their diets were less likely to grow skin papilloma and tumors.
DIY Nutmeg Mask
If you want to try nutmeg for yourself, Viva Woman recommends mixing 1 tbsp of honey with 1 tsp of ground nutmeg and one tsp of cinnamon. Mix the ingredients into paste, and let it sit on your skin for 30 minutes. Don't scrub or rub it, but wash it right off to avoid hurting your skin. There's no medical evidence that nutmeg really works on human skin, but the beauty bloggers swear by it. There's almost no risk, so give it a shot and see how it works for you.