The nutmeg tree, Myristica fragrans is indigenous to the Moluccas, Indonesia. The fruit contains a nut, which is covered by a hard shell. A red coloured webbing/aril (this is mace) covers the shell. Once ripe the fruit will open revealing the mace and will fall to the ground to be collected or it can be picked just before falling. The mace will be carefully removed, dried, then processed by steam distillation.
The tree itself doesn’t bear fruit until around 8-10 years of age but can grow to a height of up to 50 feet and live up to 75 years! Although trees can flower all year round the main flowering periods are around March/April and October/November.
Whereas nutmeg has a strong, rich, spicy and somewhat musky odour, mace is more delicate with sweet undertones, reminiscent of freshly grated nutmeg.
Mace is a popular fragrance ingredient often found in men's colognes and aftershaves. It has some amazing benefits as a topical aromatherapy product for treatment of arthritis and rheumatism. It is also considered useful for many conditions like arthritis, fatigue and anxiety.
As with nutmeg essential oil, the main constituents of mace essential oil are sabinene, α-pinene, myrcene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, terpinen-4-ol, myristicin, γ-terpinene and safrole.
Mace supplies have been steady despite the ups and downs of nutmeg supply. No real change is expected in the foreseeable future.
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