The fixed oil obtained from nutmegs.
SYNONYMS: Adeps myristicae, Adeps nusticae, Balsamum, nucistae, Butyrum nucistae, Nutmeg butter, Oleum nucistae expressum, Concrete oil of nutmeg.
Preparation, Description, and Chemical Composition.—The powder of nutmegs, beaten to a pulp with a little water, and pressed between heated plates, yields from 20 to 30 per cent of a fragrant, orange-colored, concrete oil, mottled with white, sometimes, but incorrectly, called oil of mace. It may also be obtained by extracting the bruised nutmegs with disulphide of carbon. This oil is imported from the East Indies (Penang and Singapore) in the form of rectangular cakes about 2 1/2 inches wide and thick, and 10 inches long, enveloped in bast-fibers or pisang leaves. The best grade is the Java article. Much oil is also obtained in Europe from unsalable nutmegs. The fat has the consistence of suet, and possesses the odor and taste of the nutmeg. It is inflammable, burns with a bright, nearly smokeless flame, and, when free from tallow, etc., does not emit a tallow odor when the flame is extinguished. Nutmeg butter is soluble in boiling alcohol and ether, depositing myristin upon cooling; its specific gravity is about 0.995; its melting point is given by the German Pharmacopoeia as 45° to 51° C. (113° to 123.8° F.). The crude article, when melted, leaves a sediment of foreign matters, and must therefore be purified by melting and sedimentation. Nutmeg butter consists chiefly (to 40 or 50 per cent) of myristin (Playfair, 1841), the glyceride of myristic acid (C14H28O2). It melts at 55° C. (131° F.), and is insoluble in cold alcohol or ether. The fat also contains free myristic acid, some palmitin, and olein, about 6 per cent of volatile oil, and a red-brown coloring matter. Factitious nutmeg butter has been made by melting together tallow, spermaceti, etc., flavoring this with essential oil of nutmeg, and coloring it with saffron. Adulteration with fat is recognized by its being left in the residue when treated with hot alcohol; smaller quantities of fat which go into solution, fall out with the myristicin upon cooling, and reduce its melting point.
Action and Medical Uses.—This oil is bland, and does not readily become rancid; hence it furnishes a good vehicle for topical applications. It has been employed alone by friction for the relief of rheumatism.
Related Fats.—BECUIBA TALLOW (Bicuhiba fat, or B. balsam.). This fat is obtained from the seeds of a Brazilian species Myristica Becuhyba, Schott, by expression. It resembles expressed oil of nutmeg, except in its taste, which is sharp and acidulous. Fusing point, 47° C. (116.6° F.). Alcohol but partially dissolves it.
OCUBA WAX, or VIROLA TALLOW.—A subcrystalline, yellowish fat, melting at 45° to 50° C. (113° to 122° F.), dissolving wholly in alcohol, obtained from the fruit of a Para shrub, the Virola sebifera, Aublet (Myristica sebifera, Swartz).
OTOBA BUTTER.—Obtained from the fruit of Myristica Otoba, Humboldt and Bonpland. A nearly colorless or yellowish fat, the odor resembling that of nutmegs when fresh, but becoming brownish in color and disagreeable in odor vith age. It fuses at 38° C. (100.4° F.). It contains myristin, olein, and otobit. The latter forms colorless, odorless, tasteless, prismatic crystals, which fuse at 133° C. (271.4° F.). Cold alcohol sparingly dissolves them.
UCUHUBA FAT.—A yellow solid fat obtained from Ucuhuba nuts, the fruit of Myristica surinamensis. (Compare Myristica, Related Species.)
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.