Myristicin


Myristicin is an organic compound present in the essential oil of Nutmeg, Mace, Parsley, Black pepper, Carrots and Dill. It constitutes about 4-8% of the essential oil of Nutmeg.

The chemical formula for Myristicin is C11H12O3. It is also known by other names such as methoxysafrole and Myristicine.

Attributes of Myristicin:

It is a colorless transparent liquid with a spicy smell.

The therapeutic attributes of Myristicin includes hepatoprotective, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cytotoxicity and anti-proliferation of cancerous cells, psychoactive and anti-cholinergic effects.

Hepatoprotective effect:

Myristicin found in Nutmeg offers protection to the liver. This attribute of Myristicin was focused in the study titled “Hepatoprotective effect of myristicin from nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) on lipopolysaccharide/d-galactosamine-induced liver injury.”

This study was carried out on rats suffering from liver injury caused by Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and d-galactosamine. It was found that Nutmeg exhibited significant protection to the liver and its main constituent, Myristicin showed remarkable hepatoprotective activity by inhibiting the release of TNF-alpha from macrophage.

Antimicrobial activity:

Myristicin shows antibacterial activity. In the study ‘Antibacterial principles from Myristica fragrans seeds’, the antibacterial effect of the constituents of the essential oil of nutmeg, namely myristicin, trimyristicin and Myristic acid were evaluated. It was determined that trimyristicin, Myristic acid and Myristicin exhibited remarkable antibacterial activity against selected gram positive and gram negative bacteria.

In the research article ‘Chemistry, antioxidant and antimicrobial potential of nutmeg (Myristica fragrans Houtt)’, it was mentioned that Myristicin is one of the important constituents of nutmeg that is responsible for the antioxidant and antibacterial activities of nutmeg.

Anti-inflammatory effect:

Myristicin is characterized by its anti-inflammatory properties. This attribute of Myristicin was discussed in detail in the study “Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Myristicin on RAW 264.7 Macrophages Stimulated with Polyinosinic-Polycytidylic Acid.”

This study revealed the anti-inflammatory effect of Myristicin which is accomplished by the inhibition of Nitric oxide, cytokines, chemokines and growth factors in dsRNA – stimulated macrophages through the calcium pathway.

Antioxidant:

A study titled “Evaluation of antioxidant activity of parsley (Petroselinum crispum) essential oil and identification of its antioxidant constituents” was carried out to evaluate the antioxidant potential of the essential oil of parsley and its constituents. It was brought into light that the essential oil of parsley showed antioxidant effect and its main constituent Myristicin presented a reasonable antioxidant effect.

Cytotoxic:

Myristicin exhibit cytotoxicity and apoptosis in human neuroblastoma cell line. Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer occurring outside the cranium of the brain. In the research article “Myristicin-induced neurotoxicity in human neuroblastoma SK-N-SH cells”, the cytotoxic and apoptotic activities of Myristicin on Neuroblastoma cells in humans were evaluated. It was unveiled that Myristicin was cytotoxic to Neuroblastoma SK-N-SH cells by stimulating the apoptotic mechanism in the cells.

Rhabdomyosarrcoma (RD) is a type of soft tissue cancer in childhood and in teenage years. Myristicin from nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) is cytotoxic to Rhabdomyosarrcoma cell line which is focused in the study ‘Cytogenetic study of the pure myristicin from nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) on habdomyosarrcoma cell line (in vitro).”

Further, in another study labelled ‘Antimicrobial and anti-proliferative activity of Athamanta sicula L. (Apiaceae)”, it was demonstrated that Myristicin present in the essential oil of the herb Athamanta sicula L. displayed anti-proliferative activity against human cancer cells in blood, lungs and breast namely blood cancer cells K-562, lung cancer cells NCI-H460 and breast cancer cells MCF-7.

Psychoactive:

Myristicin is considered to be one of the psychoactive component of nutmeg that alters the functioning of the brain bringing changes in attitude, insight and consciousness. This is evident from the study “Toxicity of Nutmeg (Myristicin): A Review”.

In another article “Myristica fragrans: An exploration of the Narcotic Spice”,it is stated that the psychoactive effect of myristicin is because of its metabolism into 3-methoxy 4, 5-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MMDA), which is a psychoactive compound.

Anti-cholinergic effect:

Myristicin in nutmeg was found to possess anticholinergic effect by constraining the psychological action of neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and in the peripheral nervous system. This attribute of Myristicin was stated in the study “Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Myristicin on RAW 264.7 Macrophages Stimulated with Polyinosinic-Polycytidylic Acid.

Reference Links:

  1. Myristicin by Wikipedia
  2. Hepatoprotective effect of myristicin from nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) on lipopolysaccharide/d-galactosamine-induced liver injury.
  3. Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Myristicin on RAW 264.7 Macrophages Stimulated with Polyinosinic-Polycytidylic Acid.
  4. Myristicin-induced neurotoxicity in human neuroblastoma SK-N-SH cells
  5. Cytogenetic study of the pure myristicin from nutmeg (myristica fragrans) on habdomyosarrcoma cell line (in vitro).
  6. Toxicity of Nutmeg (Myristicin): A Review