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Myristicin as Pharmacological and Therapeutic Agent



Myristicin was first discovered in nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) [1]. This compound with the IUPAC name of 4-methoxy-6-prop-2-enyl-1,3-benzodioxole belongs to the phenylpropenes class which has a phenyl aromatic framework (C6) with a propanoid side chain (C3). This class does not contain nitrogen atoms and there is at least one hydroxyl group attached to the aromatic chain, so it has phenolic properties [2].



Figure 1. Chemistry Structure of Myristicin


Apart from nutmeg, myristicin is also found in several other plants, such as fennel, celery, and parsley. The typical myristicin content is shown in Table 1.


Table 1. The Content of Myristicin in Essential Oil from Several Common Plants

Myristicin is known to have a hallucinogenic effect and can cause poisoning at high doses. The neuropsychological symptoms can occur if a person consumes up to 400 mg of myristicin. However, cases of myristicin poisoning are very rare [7].


On the other hand, myristicin has many health benefit when used properly [7].


1. Antioxidant activity

This activity only occurs when myristicin is in large quantities such as isolated myristicin or in species that have high myristicin, such as Dorema glabrum (14%); Naturtium officinale (57%); Athamanta turbith (52%), Heracleum transcaucasicum and Heracleum anisactis (96.87% and 95.15% respectively) and Myristica fragrans (8% to 11%). In addition, there are studies where myristicin can act as a sun protection, through tests of light absorption and reactions with free radicals in vitro.


2. Anti-inflammatory activity

There are many test results on various essential oils containing compounds that contribute to anti-inflammatory action, and myristicin is the main compound in most of them.


3. Antiproliferative

Myristicin has anticancer activity and is a cancer chemopreventive agent.


4. Antimicrobial

Myristicin has antimicrobial activity in several species and has been shown to protect food from aflatoxins caused by fungi.


5. Insecticide and larvicide

Essential oil with high myristicin content was tested as larvicides on Asian tiger mosquito species (Aedes albopictus). The results showed 95% mortality with an oil concentration of only 0.1 mg/L. This shows myristicin effectiveness as a natural insecticide and larvicide.


Details on the biological activity and mechanisms of myristicin are shown in the Table 2.

Table 2. The Mechanisms of The Myristicin Main Biological Activities

Source: Seneme, E.F., Dos Santos, D.C., Silva, E.M.R., Franco, Y.E.M. and Longato, G.B., 2021. Pharmacological and therapeutic potential of myristicin: A literature review. Molecules, 26(19), p.5914.


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References

[7] Seneme, E.F., Dos Santos, D.C., Silva, E.M.R., Franco, Y.E.M. and Longato, G.B., 2021. Pharmacological and therapeutic potential of myristicin: A literature review. Molecules, 26(19), p.5914.

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