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Juglans nigra aka Black Walnut
The Common Walnut, a large and handsome tree, with strong, spreading boughs, is not a native of Britain. Its native place is probably Persia. Other varieties of Walnut, the Black Walnut, the various kinds of Hickory, etc., are mostly natives of North America.
The Romans called the tree nux, on account of its fruit. The English name Walnut is partly of Teutonic origin, the Germans naming the nut Wallnuss, or Welsche Nuss – Welsche signifying foreign.
It was said that in the ‘golden age,’ when men lived upon acorns the gods lived upon Walnuts, and hence the name of Juglans, Jovis glans, or Jupiter’s nuts.
The leaves have a very strong, characteristic smell, aromatic and not unpleasant, but said to be injurious to sensitive people.
Walnut as an Herb for Medicinal Uses
The medicinal parts are the feathery leaflets without the rachis and the green fruit shells. The leaves are aromatic when rubbed. The taste of the leaves is bitter.
The wood has been much used, not only for furniture and wainscoting, but for the wheels and bodies of coaches, for making gun-stocks, and by the cabinet-maker for inlaying. It is unfit for use as beams because of its brittleness.
No insects will touch the leaves of the Walnut, which yield a brown dye, which gypsies use to stain their skin. It is said to contain iodine.
The juice of the green husks, boiled with honey, is also a good gargle for a sore mouth and inflamed throat, and the distilled water of the green husks is good for quinsy and as an application for wounds and internally is a cooling drink in agues.
Walnuts are approved by Commission E for inflammation of the skin and excessive perspiration.
The oil extracted from the ripe kernels, taken inwardly in 1/2 OZ. doses, has also proved good for colic and is efficacious, applied externally, for skin diseases of the leprous type and wounds and gangrenes.
Walnut bark is used to treat dysentery and skin diseases. The nut is used to promote strength and weight gain.
The ground hull of the nut is used to treat skin diseases, herpes, head and body lice, and internal parasites.
Walnut leaf is used to treat eczema, hives, and boils. Diluted walnut oil is used to treat dandruff. A strong decoction of walnut leaves, painted around doorways and woodwork, will repel ants.
The Walnut has been termed ‘vegetable arsenic,’ on account of its curative effect in eczema and other skin diseases.
Folk medicine: Externally, Walnut is used for mild, superficial inflammation of the skin and excessive perspiration. Internally, the drug is used for gastrointestinal catarrh and as an anthelmintic (so-called blood purifier). Taken internally, black walnut helps relieve constipation, and is also useful against fungal and parasitic infections. It may also help eliminate warts.
Chinese medicine: In China, Walnut is used to treat asthma, lumbago, beriberi, impotence and constipation.
Indian medicine: In India, Walnut is used for alternating rheumatic complaints, and the oil of the seeds is used for tapeworms. The seeds are said to have an aphrodisiac effect and are also used for dysentery and colic.
To prepare a decoction, soak 2 teaspoonfuls of herb in 1 cup of water, boil and strain. An infusion is prepared by using 1.5 gm of finely cut drug, soaked in cold water, brought to simmer and strained after 3 to 5 minutes. The average daily dose for external use is 3 to 6 gm of herb.
Today’s Medicinal Uses of Walnut
Today, authorities know that black walnut oxygenates the blood to kill parasites. The brown stain found in the green husk contains organic iodine, which has antiseptic and healing properties.
Black walnut is also used to balance sugar levels and burn up excessive toxins and fatty materials. The use of this plant has also been shown to exhibit anticancer properties due to its content of both strong and weak acids, and alkaloids. Black walnut has the ability to fight against fungal infections and acts with an antiseptic property which helps fight bacterial infection. Other benefits are that it promotes bowel regularity and acts an antiparasitic.
Culinary Uses of Walnut
Nuts eaten as a food; also used to flavor candy, ice cream, and cakes. In Russia a jam is made from the nuts.
“To preserve green Walnuts in Syrup”
From The Family Physician, by Geo. Hartman, Phylo Chymist, who liv’d and Travell’d with the Honourable Sir Kenelm Digby, in several parts of Europe the space of Seven Years till he died.
‘Take as many green Walnuts as you please, about the middle of July, try them all with a pin, if it goes easily through them they are fit for your purpose; lay them in Water for nine days, washing and shifting them Morning and Night; then boil them in water until they be a little Soft, lay them to drain; then pierce them through with a Wooden Sciver, and in the hole put a Clove, and in some a bit of Cinnamon, and in some the rind of a Citron Candi’d: then take the weight of your Nuts in Sugar, or a little more; make it into a syrup, in which boil your Nuts (scimming them) till they be tender; then put them up in Gally potts, and cover them close. When you lay them to drain, wipe them with a Course cloth to take off a thin green Skin. They are Cordial and Stomachal.’
“To Pickel Wallnutts Green”
From a seventeenth-century household MS. Receipt Book inscribed Madam Susanna Avery, Her Book, May ye 12th, Anno Domini 1688.
‘Let your nuts be green as not to have any shell; then run a kniting pin two ways through them; then put them into as much ordinary vinegar as will cover them, and let them stand thirty days, shifting them every two days in fresh vinegar; then ginger and black pepper of each ounce, rochambole two ounces slised, a handfull of bay leaves; put all together cold; then wrap up every walnut singly in a vine leaf, and put them into [sic] the folloing pickel: for 200 of walnuts take two gallons of the best white vineager, a pint of the best mustard seed, four ounces of horse radish, with six lemons sliced with the rin(d)s on, cloves and mace half an ounce, a stone jar, and put the pickel on them, and cork them close up; and they will be fit for use in three months, and keep two years.’
No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages.
People suffering from nut allergies could have a reaction to walnuts.
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