You might want to take a seat for this one if you are reading this post on the go.
It's quite astonishing the possibilities that are hidden within the black walnut.
What makes it different from the other walnuts?
If you are a nut connoisseur like my husband, (or so I like to call him), then you'll know that black walnuts are pretty expensive to buy compared to other walnuts. For example, on nuts.com you'll find English walnuts for $4.99 a lb and the black walnuts for $6.99 a lb. They're not as expensive as the pine nuts at least!
I remember as children my friends and I would mash the nuts that fell at our school's playground and write our names on the concrete tunnel with the liquid that came from it. The dye would stain our clothes and skin and we'd be in trouble as soon as our parents saw it. It was fun though, and that fresh, tangy sent would carry throughout the rest of my day.
Today, I don't go playing with the walnuts anymore. Instead, I rarely touch them. It wasn't until Ryan suggested I gather them and research what they're for. I'm so glad he did.
First off, the tree is native to North America. Black walnut Juglans nigra L. is an allelopathic plant, which means that the plants around it compete to live but most of the time lose due to the chemicals it gives off. Most of the time, there is very little that grows around a black walnut tree.
What is it used for?
I never thought of using black walnut for anything. It's not an herb I've learned in my studies yet, and I've not stumbled across it anywhere else. As I said prior, it was my husband that spurred my interest.
The native Americans used it for protecting their horses from parasites and for bouts of rheumatism. Today, this herb has been proven effective used as a laxative and for keeping away or ridding yourself of intestinal parasites and other related worms. It still can be used as an anti-inflammatory in the cases of arthritis and rheumatism.
The parts used are the bark and the husk of the walnut. (The leaves can be used as well but aren't as potent.)
The more potent bark is from the roots, where the constituent juglone can be found, and is used for treating inflammation. It may have possible anti-carcinogenic properties, though more tests need to be done to verify this.
The husks can be used for treating parasites, to make dye, and as a laxative. They can induce vomiting, so be careful of that.
It can be fun to gather and process your own black walnuts. Gather them only after they have fallen from the trees.
What about for medicinal use? How do you extract the medicinal qualities and what do you use to do it?
Be aware that young children and the elderly should probably not use the husk of this herb medicinally. It may induce vomiting or be such a strong laxative that it may cause abdominal pain. Pregnant or nursing women should also avoid this herb, as it may effect the baby negatively.
Black Walnut Juglans nigra L. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2017, from http://www-pub.naz.edu/~treewalk/juglans/juglans.htm
Foods Indigenous to the Western Hemisphere. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2017, from http://www.aihd.ku.edu/foods/black_walnut.html
Black WalnutJuglans nigra. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2017, from http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/fieldbio/medicinal_plants/pages/Black_Walnut.htm
Author: Tina Potter
Master Herbalist, I've graduated as an American Healthcare College Alumnus, I've become a member of American Herbalist Guild and author of survivalist series Survival Ember co-authored by professional survivalist Kenny Dietrich of Ashland, KY. I've been beyond blessed with the constant desire to learn and teach.
COMMON SENSE NOTICE: I do not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure disease. What you do with the information I post is up to you, but it is advised to consult with a doctor before acting on alternative methods of medicine. I wish you all the best!