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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Are those allergic to peanuts and tree nuts also allergic to nutmeg?

I am a nurse, and a patient asked me if one is allergic to peanuts (legumes) and tree nuts (in shells), would they also be allergic to nutmeg, the spice?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Nutmeg, both whole and ground

Nutmeg is such a lovely spice. I had a patient once who would bring me fresh whole nutmeg from the islands and that started me on grating my own. I actually use a great device from Zyliss - the nutmeg grater. My favorite use of nutmeg is to use nutmeg instead of cinnamon in French Toast.

Anyway, I digress... Although nutmeg is the seed of a tree, there doesn't appear to be any cross reactivity between nutmeg and tree nuts. A report provided in the journal Allergy and Immunology indicates that allergy testing on spices has shown no reactivity to nutmeg in allergy prick testing.

Thanks for writing.

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet