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Unlocking the Aromatic Essence: Nutmeg Oil and the Power of CO2 Extraction

nutmeg oil extracted by supercritical CO2

Nutmeg, renowned for its warm and rich flavor, also possesses a valuable essential oil with a myriad of uses. This article delves into the extraction methods of nutmeg oil, with a special focus on the highly efficient CO2 extraction technique and its advantages over other methods.

Nutmeg Oil and Its Versatile Applications (H3): Derived from the seeds of the Myristica fragrans tree, nutmeg essential oil is revered for its distinct aroma and therapeutic properties. It finds applications in culinary preparations, aromatherapy, skincare, and traditional medicine, owing to its analgesic, digestive, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Supercritical Agarwood Oil CO2 extraction machine 【CO2 Essential Oil Extraction Equipment】

Common Extraction Methods

Various extraction methods are employed to obtain nutmeg oil, including steam distillation, solvent extraction, and CO2 extraction. In this article, we will explore the CO2 extraction method, which offers superior efficiency, selectivity, and the ability to produce high-quality nutmeg oil.

CO2 Extraction Method

Supercritical CO2 extraction, a cutting-edge technique, utilizes carbon dioxide in its supercritical state as a solvent. This method involves subjecting nutmeg seeds to high pressure and temperature, enabling the CO2 to behave as both a gas and a liquid, effectively extracting the essential oil while preserving its aromatic profile and therapeutic properties.

Comparison of 3 Nutmeg Oil Extraction Methods

Extraction MethodAdvantagesDisadvantages
CO2 ExtractionHigh extraction efficiencyHigh equipment cost
Selective extraction of essential oil componentsRequirement for technical expertise
Minimal solvent residue in the final product
Preservation of oil quality and aroma
Steam DistillationSimplicity and widespread useLower extraction efficiency
Potential degradation of oil components
Longer extraction time
Solvent ExtractionHigh yield of essential oilUse of organic solvents
Solvent residue in the final product
Potential alteration of oil composition

CO2 Extraction Process

The CO2 extraction process for nutmeg oil involves several key steps. Initially, nutmeg seeds are placed in an extraction vessel, which is then pressurized with CO2 gas until it reaches its supercritical state. The supercritical CO2 acts as a solvent, selectively dissolving the essential oil from the seeds. Subsequently, the CO2 and oil mixture is depressurized, allowing the CO2 to convert back to its gaseous state, leaving behind high-quality nutmeg oil.

Advantages of CO2 Extraction for Nutmeg Oil

  1. High extraction efficiency, ensuring a greater yield of essential oil.
  2. Selective extraction of desired components, resulting in an oil with a well-balanced aroma and therapeutic properties.
  3. Minimal residue of solvents in the final product, making it safe for various applications.
  4. Preservation of the oil’s quality, aroma, and therapeutic benefits due to the gentle extraction process.
  5. Greater control over extraction parameters, allowing customization of the oil’s composition.

Nutmeg essential oil

Nutmeg essential oil helps break down fat and starchy foods and promote appetite.

Nutmeg Essential oil is obtained from the evergreen tree that grows up to 20 meters. The exterior husk of the fruit is dehydrated and used for extracting Mace essential oil, the seeds for the Nutmeg essential oil.

It can give vitality to the heart and promote blood circulation, but it is very effective. Be careful when using it. Long-term use may over-stimulate the motor nerves (the third pair of cranial nerves) and cause restlessness. In the most serious cases, it can cause delirium, convulsions, and may even become numb. It may also over-irritate the heart and skin.


Clear Pale Yellow

Common Uses

 Arthritis, constipation, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, neralgia, poor circulation, rheumatism, improves digestion. It is also used in food flavourings.

Quality Index

  • Properties: colorless to yellow liquid
  • Aroma: nutmeg oil has a sweet, warm and slightly spicy aroma
  • Density: 0.880—0.920
  • Optical rotation: +6 °∽+25°
  • Refractive index: 1.4750—1.4790
  • Solubility: 1:3 soluble in 90% (V/V) ethanol
  • Acid value: ≤5
  • Main ingredients: Cineole (26%-60%), α-pine acetic acid oil (28%-34%), pelargonene (2%-14%), diene, myristyl ether, etc.

Extraction Method

Supercritical Fluid Extraction Process (SCFE) also called Co2 Extraction process.

Chemical structure


Borneol, geranol, coriander alcohol, terpineol


Eugenol, myristyl ether, safrole

Terpene smoke

Camphorene, absinthe terpene, pine oil terpene

Body curative effect

  • The main effect is in the digestive system, which is especially helpful in breaking down fat and starchy foods and promoting appetite. It can also improve flatulence, nausea, periodic vomiting, bad breath and diarrhea. It can effectively prevent constipation, is an antibacterial agent for the intestines, and is said to also relieve gallstones.
  • A tonic for the reproductive system, because its properties are very similar to estrogen, it can regulate too little menstrual blood and relieve menstrual pain. It is also very helpful for sexual obstacles, because it has an aphrodisiac effect. In addition, it can strengthen the strength of muscle contraction, so it is extremely helpful for production.
  • It is a warm essential oil that can be massaged to improve muscle pain, rheumatism, and especially chronic illnesses. It is said that it can also relieve the severe pain of neuralgia.
  • A very stimulating oil that can give vitality to the heart and promote blood circulation.


Myristica fragrans (scientific name: Myristica fragrans) is an evergreen tree plant of the Myristica fragrans family. Small trees; young branches are slender. This species is a famous spice and medicinal plant in the tropics. The fruits are harvested in winter and spring when they are ripe.

nutmeg oil extracted by supercritical CO2

Its seeds are used as medicine to treat cold dysentery, abdominal cold pain, vomiting, etc.; external use can be used as a parasite repellent to treat rheumatic pain. In addition, it can also be used as condiment and industrial oil raw materials. Myristica fragrans is an important spice and medicinal plant.

Application history

The use history of nutmeg is shorter than that of dried nutmeg. Many ancient civilizations valued dried nutmeg.

Indians used nutmeg to deal with intestinal problems, and Egyptians used it to embalm corpses. It is also made into an Italian incense to defend against the plague. This incense still contains laurel, clove, juniper, myrrh, myrtle and rose.

In the Middle Ages, it was a well-known prescription for hemorrhoids. People grind it and mix it with lard and use it as an ointment. At that time, it was also regarded as a medicine to strengthen the stomach.

The spice trade before 1605 was monopolized by the Portuguese and then taken over by the Dutch, but when they were quite close to Moluccas, they changed ships and left.

It wasn’t until 1768 that nutmeg was introduced to other countries and used as a seasoning for food, ingredients in beverages, and dental products. Nutmeg is also contained in perfumes and hair creams.

Pharmacological action


The methyl isoeugenol contained in nutmeg volatile oil has the effect of inhibiting the central nervous system. After rabbit ears iv50mg/kg, it can be seen that the righting reflex, pain reflex and auditory reflex disappear during sleep. The average sleep time is 20 minutes and 8 seconds. The sleeping effect of barbiturate.

Antibacterial effect

The MICs of methyl isoeugenol against Staphylococcus aureus and Pneumococcus were 0.4mg/ml and 0.6mg/ml, respectively. Malabacone B has a strong bacteriostatic effect on Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis and Streptococcus sclerosus. The MIC of the first two is 1ug/ml, and the latter is 2ug/ml. The MIC of Malabacone C to Bacillus subtilis It is 2ug/ml.


The methyl eugenol and elemane in nutmeg oil have anesthetic effects on mice, rabbits, cats and dogs after administration.

CO2 extraction process of rose and 【 CO2 Essential Oil Extraction Equipment】 operation explanation


CO2 extraction proves to be an exceptional method for obtaining nutmeg oil, offering high efficiency, selectivity, and minimal solvent residue. Despite the initial investment in equipment and the need for technical expertise, the advantages of CO2 extraction make it a preferred choice for industries relying on nutmeg oil. Further advancements in research and development hold the potential for optimizing extraction methods and expanding the applications of this aromatic treasure.