Nutmeg is a delicious little spice that is perfectly suited for pumpkin pie and eggnog, but a new video is creating controversy for reporting that just two teaspoons could be fatal. Yikes!
Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown, the creators of the YouTube channel AsapSCIENCE, recently posted a video explaining how much of a food will kill you. And while a lot of the examples are comforting (because who's really going to eat 129 teaspoons of pepper or 24 tubes of toothpaste in one sitting), the nutmeg example is a bit disturbing.
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Nutmeg's hallucinogenic properties have been known as far back at the 12th century when it was used both to end unwanted pregnancies and to induce a drug-like high. In the 60s it experienced a resurgence in popularity, and today a teen or two still winds up in a poison control center because of it.
If you consume a large amount of nutmeg — typically two teaspoons or more — you can experience nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. A few hours later, people can suffer from heart and nerve problems.
"A person who has an unrecognized heart ailment could have problems that could lead to irregular rhythms. One plus one can add up to nine really quickly," Gaylord Lopez, the director of the Georgia Poison Center in Atlanta, told ABC News in 2010.
The myristicin found in nutmeg, a natural substance that belongs to a family of compounds that are often used to create psychotropic drugs like MMDA, is to blame for the symptoms. It's also distantly related to a chemical found in the drug Ecstasy.
That said, you shouldn't be afraid to use nutmeg this holiday season. A pinch here or there is enough to get the perfect flavor, and it most definitely will not kill you. Deaths caused by nutmeg are rare, but because there isn't one set amount of nutmeg that is lethal, it's best to be on the safe side when it comes to seasoning your dishes. Better safe than sorry!
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