Mace Spice: 8 Health Benefits Of Using The Spice In Cooking
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What makes your biryani special? A blend of spices, yes, but without mace spice it would simply be incomplete. In fact, without mace spice, most Mughlai recipes would taste less flavourful and authentic. So what is it about mace spice that makes it so special? And are there any specific health benefits you can gain by adding more mace to your diet? Here’s everything you should know.  

Mace is a spice derived from the outer covering of the nutmeg seed which means that both mace and nutmeg come from the same fruit, which is a tropical evergreen tree native to the Moluccas (Spice Islands) in Indonesia. The tree is also cultivated in other tropical regions, including India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and the Caribbean.  

The mace spice itself is the reddish, lacy, and thread-like aril that surrounds the nutmeg seed. Once the fruit of the nutmeg tree ripens and splits open, the bright red aril is harvested, dried, and processed to become mace. The nutmeg seed is also harvested from the same fruit and is a separate spice with distinct flavor characteristics. 

Video Credit: YouTube/Manahil Fatima

The Incredibly Flavourful Culinary Uses Of Mace 

Mace has a unique and aromatic flavor, somewhat similar to nutmeg but more delicate and subtle. It is used in various cuisines around the world for both sweet and savory dishes. In India, mace spice is commonly used in meat dishes like stews, soups, biryanis and curries, as well as in sauces and marinades, to impart a mild and pleasant spiciness. As mentioned before, mace is a component of various spice blends like garam masala, pumpkin spice, biryani masala and some curry powders.  

While this might be the most popular use of mace spice in India, other nations’ culinary cultures have also explored other culinary uses of the spice. For example, in many European countries, mace is a popular spice in baking, where it is used in cakes, cookies, pastries, and pies, adding a warm and sweet flavor. Mace is also added to hot beverages like mulled wine, cider, or chai tea to enhance the aroma and flavor. It is used in custards, puddings, and creamy sauces to provide a subtle warm flavor. 

Health Benefits Of Mace 

Mace, like its counterpart nutmeg, offers several potential health benefits when used in cooking in moderation. Some of the key health benefits of using mace include the following. 

1. Digestive Health: Mace contains compounds that can help improve digestion. It may aid in relieving indigestion, gas, and bloating. Mace is also believed to promote the secretion of digestive enzymes, which can enhance the breakdown of food. 

2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Mace contains bioactive compounds that have anti-inflammatory effects. These properties may help reduce inflammation in the body and alleviate symptoms of inflammatory conditions. 

3. Nutrient Content: Mace is a source of essential nutrients, including manganese, copper, iron, and vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C, and B-complex vitamins. These nutrients play important roles in various bodily functions, such as immune support, iron metabolism, and antioxidant defense. 

4. Oral Health: The antibacterial properties of mace can contribute to better oral health by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth, which may help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. 

5. Cognitive Function: Mace contains compounds that may have a positive impact on brain health. It is believed to promote cognitive function and memory by enhancing neural pathways. 

6. Respiratory Health: In traditional medicine, mace has been used to help alleviate respiratory issues such as coughs, colds, and congestion due to its expectorant properties. 

7. Anti-microbial Properties: Mace possesses natural antimicrobial properties, which can help combat certain bacteria and fungi, supporting overall immune function. 

8. Antioxidant Activity: The spice is a source of antioxidants, which can help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body and protect cells from oxidative damage.