A new study has found that nutmeg may protect against liver damage. The research, published in the Journal of Proteome Research, suggests that antioxidants in nutmeg may prevent inflammation of the liver as well as keep its healthy by regulating the organs’ fat levels. The spice reduced inflammation in the liver when tested on mice.
The fragrant spice is a traditional Chinese medicine used to treat gastrointestinal diseases. Chinese medicine also uses it to relieve the pain of arthritis and infections.
The beneficial effects of nutmeg may come from its high number of antioxidants, called lignans, said the researchers from Nanchang University.
They used the compound thioacetamide to induce short-term liver damage in rodents. Results further suggest nutmeg protects such mice from liver damage by working on a gene known as PPAR.
When this gene is ‘turned off’, the spice loses its ability to preserve liver health.
“This data demonstrates that nutmeg alleviates thiocetamide liver injury through the modulation of PPAR and that the lignan compounds in nutmeg partly contributed to this action,” the researchers said.