Why you should avoid TikTok’s dangerous ‘nutmeg challenge’

TikTokers have come up with some brilliant new trends since social distancing began, but one of the latest fads is actually extremely dangerous.

You may remember the “cinnamon challenge” — a viral trend that dared people to eat an entire spoonful of cinnamon in one bite, while being recorded.

The experience was unpleasant, but also harmful. The fine powder is easily inhaled into the lungs, where it can cause damage — especially if you’ve been laughing and coughing, as many people were.

The “nutmeg challenge” presents a similar danger. It also involves consuming large amounts of the kitchen spice, but unlike the “cinnamon challenge,” eating that much nutmeg can get you seriously high.

Nutmeg contains the chemical compound myristicin, which has a hallucinogenic effect when consumed in large quantities.

According to a study published by the American Association of Poison Control Centers, just two teaspoons of the spice is enough to cause symptoms of toxicity. The challenge calls for two tablespoons — three times the amount that would be considered dangerous.

Multiple TikTok users have attempted the challenge. One claimed to have seen dancing spiders and elves in her room, while another said she felt like she was dying.

In The Know spoke to several health and nutrition experts who all cautioned against the challenge, but confirmed that nutmeg is safe to consume in smaller quantities.

“The plant world is chock full of remedies and is, quite literally, nature’s medicine cabinet … [they] can have a dark side, too,” said Dr. Shari Youngblood, a certified nutrition specialist. “Consuming more than the normal amount used in cooking is a very bad idea.”

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