How very peculiar. Nutmeg is illegal in Saudi Arabia. This would no doubt come as a surprise to many who use this spice for the flavoring of food. It’s hardly the most disturbing product that you can store in your kitchen, or is it? Once you learn a little more about the spice you will no doubt understand why the notoriously strict Saudi Arabia has made nutmeg illegal in the country.
Nutmeg is a popular kitchen spice that is traditionally grown in Indonesia and Grenada. It comes from the Myristica fragrans tree, which also is the source for mace. Both spices come from the same fruit, with mace being the outer membrane, and nutmeg being the hard inner seed. While you may not know it, the kitchen spice is used in many everyday foods, such as sausages, soups, preservatives. Having such a diverse usage, and a taste that once detected can rarely be done without, Nutmeg is still illegal in Saudi Arabia.
While its most common use is in the kitchen, the blanket ban in the ultra strict country all comes down to its other use, which you may have read about on our site. Yep, it can be used as a drug.
While some people do foolishly use it to get high, it can also be used for other medicinal uses. Due to the fact that nutmeg has hallucinogenic properties, and also has some disputed medical benefits, it has been classified as a drug in Saudi Arabia, and not as a spice. This classification of a drug, and the fact that it can be used to get you stoned off your face, has rendered nutmeg illegal in Saudi Arabia.
So if you’re a keen chef that likes using this particular kitchen cabinet spice, it’s perhaps best to avoid the country, unless you are capable of cooking without nutmeg.