Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1.  In the 1930s as a boy I developed a form of eczema between my toes.  My mother was advised by the district nurse to give me a nutmeg to keep in my pocket and to gnaw on it from time to time.  The eczema did clear up whether from the nutmeg or not I don’t know [Leigh-on-Sea Horticultural Society, Essex, January 2019].

2. Nutmeg in the bed prevents cramp [Leigh-on-Sea Horticultural Society, Essex, January 2019].

3. Nutmeg is good for lumbago, you put one in your coat pocket when you’re gardening, but you miss it if you change your coat and wear one without a nutmeg in its pocket [Brixton, London, June 2013].

4. As a child I lived in Swansea, south Wales, and my Gran lived in the house opposite. I was constantly ill until aged about 3 years and my mother swore that it was Gran’s old methods that pulled me through.
For diarrhoea I was given boiled milk with a good sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg [anon., April 2002].

4. My father carries a nutmeg to prevent rheumatism. He’s 87 and has all sorts of other things, but he doesn’t have rheumatism [Kew Gardens, Surrey, January 1999].

Image: Columbia Road, London Borough of Tower Hamlets; August 2015.