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Myristica oil poisoning

Myristica oil is a clear liquid that smells like the spice nutmeg. Myristica oil poisoning occurs when someone swallows this substance.

This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual poison exposure. If you or someone you are with has an exposure, call your local emergency number (such as 911), or your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.

Poisonous Ingredient

Myristica oil (Myristica fragrans) can be harmful. It comes from the seed of a nutmeg.

Where Found

Myristica oil is found in:

  • Aromatherapy products
  • Mace
  • Nutmeg

Other products may also contain myristica oil.

Symptoms

Below are symptoms of myristica oil poisoning in different parts of the body.

AIRWAYS AND LUNGS

  • Chest pain

EYES, EARS, NOSE, AND THROAT

STOMACH AND INTESTINES

HEART AND BLOOD

NERVOUS SYSTEM

SKIN

  • Redness, flushing

Home Care

Get medical help right away. DO NOT make the person throw up unless poison control or a health care provider tells you to.

Before Calling Emergency

Have this information ready:

  • Person's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of the product (ingredients, if known)
  • Time it was swallowed
  • Amount swallowed

Poison Control

Your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. This hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

Take the product to the hospital with you, if possible.

The provider will measure and monitor the person's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure.

Treatment may include:

  • Fluids through the vein (by IV)
  • Medicine to treat symptoms
  • Activated charcoal
  • Tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)
  • Breathing support, including tube through the mouth into the lungs, and breathing machine (ventilator)

Outlook (Prognosis)

How well someone does depends on how much myristica oil was swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster medical help is given, the better the chance for recovery.

Hallucinations, anxiety and other psychiatric symptoms, and visual problems are most common in severe overdoses. Deaths have been reported, but only very rarely.

Alternative Names

Nutmeg oil; Myristicin

References

Aronson JK. Myristicaceae. In: Aronson JK, ed. Meyler's Side Effects of Drugs. 16th ed. Waltham, MA: Elsevier; 2016:1156-1157.

Graeme KA. Toxic plant ingestions. In: Auerbach PS, Cushing TA, eds. Auerbach's Wilderness Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 65.

Iwanicki JL. Hallucinogens. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 150.

Review Date 10/16/2017

Updated by: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.