Jaiphal, widely known as nutmeg, is not only considered an essential herb in Ayurvedic medicine, but also as an effective spice in the kitchen. The best nutmeg or Jaiphal is one that possesses a fragrance because its natural form also has a strong aromatic odour, with a compact, shallow covering that is easily breakable. The Jaiphal tree is an evergreen, bushy fern which grows about 10 – 20 meters in height, mainly found in India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

East Indian nutmeg is available in three grades:

  1. Banda Nutmeg- considered to be the finest for usage and containing up to 8% of essential oils.
  2. Siauw Nutmeg- the second grade that is almost as good as Banda nutmeg, but contains only 6.5% of essential oils.
  3. Penang nutmeg- the final grade, generally wormy and mouldy and suitable only for distillation purposes.

Different nomenclature of Jaiphal

Jaiphal not only referred to as nutmeg but is also known by various names in other regions. Its botanical name is Myristica fragrans. It is known as Jaiphal and Malti phal in Hindi; Jauzbuwa and Jaiphal in Urdu; Jows Buwwa, Jouza Atteeb (due to its smell), Josat attib, Zanza – ba Wawa in Arabic; Djus Hendi, Jouz Hendi and Jozbaweh in Persian; Fuqlaj and Moschokarido in Unani; Jaatiphala, Jaatishasya and Maalatiphala in Ayurveda; Jayphal, Kanivish and Jaiphala in Assamese; Jayaphala and Jaepatri in Bengali; Zadi – phu in Burma; Nootmuskaat and Muskaatnoot in Dutch; Muscadier and Musque in French; Achter Muscatnussbaum in Germen; Jaiphala and Javantri in Gujarati; Egos Muskat and Egoz Musqat in Hebrew; Pala in Indonesian; Jadikai, Jaikar and Jajakai in Kannada.

Did you think the list had come to an end? This super spice is also known as Jafal nad Zafal in Kashmiri; Neotumek, Notumek and Yuktugu in Korean; Muscata in Latin; Jatika and Bush in Malayalam; Jaiphal in Marathi; Jaiphal in Nepal; Jaipholo in Oriya; Jaiphal in Punjabi; Opex Muskatnyj Orekh in Russian; Jati – Phalam and Malathi – Phalam in Sanskrit; Jafar and Jadika in Sindhi; Moscada and Neuz Moscada in Spanish; Sathkhai, Jathikkai, Jadikkay, Jadhikai, Jadhikkai and jatikai in Tamil; Jajikaya in Telugu; Meshgengouz, Mshkenkoyz and Mekenkouz in Armenian; Moschokarido in Greek; Noce Moscata in Italy, Nozmoscada in Portuguese; Nucsoara in Romanian; Hindistancevizi in Turkish; Muscat in Uzbek and M. fragrans Houtt in Latin.

Other concepts about Jaiphala

The Jaiphal tree is somewhat similar to an apple tree, considering its beautiful greens. Its leaves are about 5 – 12 cm long, about 3 cm broad, oval, slightly rectangular in shape and light in weight.

The Jaiphal bloom is, somewhat round in shape and is of a stunning white hue. Its fruit is round or oval in form, about 3 – 5 cm long and is reddish or yellowish in colour. Inside this fruit lie solid, protected, seeds, slightly sticky in nature and brown in colour. A layer known as javitri covers the seeds, ultimately getting separated from it once the fruit dries up.

The unique, Ayurvedic properties of Jaiphal render it indispensable, with multiple health benefits. Jaiphal is Laghu (light) and Tikshna (sharp) in nature, making it easy to digest.  Some more properties are its Tikta (bitter) taste and Katu (pungent) after taste. In potency, it is Ushna (hot). Jaiphal helps manage any health issues that occur due to an imbalance of Vata and Kapha Doshas as it is known to balance them out.

Medically reviewed by Rishabh Verma, RP

Find the complete Ayurvedic Ingredient Guide to Jaiphal, here.

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