The black walnut or Juglans nigra is a tree of the family, Juglandaceae, and is native to North America. It is a large deciduous tree that can reach a height of about 30 to 40 feet. The bark of the tree is dark gray or black in color, and deeply furrowed. The tree is mainly known for its wood and the delicious nuts, which are widely used in making cakes, cookies, and pies. However, the black walnut tree is also famous for the medicinal properties of its bark, leaves, and the green hulls of its nuts. The fresh green hulls of the nuts are nowadays used to prepare herbal supplements.
Uses and Benefits
The bark of this tree, as well as the green hulls and kernels of its nuts, are renowned for their medicinal properties. These were primarily used by the Asians and some American Indian tribes to expel intestinal parasites or worms. The vermifuge properties of the black walnut extract can be attributed to the presence of tannin and quinone compounds. The kernels of the nuts are a source of essential fatty acids, proteins, and fiber. The nuts also contain iodine, and many other trace minerals, which can play an important role in improving general health and vigor.
The herbal extract prepared from this tree can help alleviate gastrointestinal ailments, including diarrhea and indigestion. This benefit can be attributed to compounds like tannins and juglone. Both the compounds display astringent properties, for which they can help tighten the skin and the mucous membrane. The external application of this extract can help cure a number of skin conditions, such as skin irritation, infections, eczema, herpes, acne, psoriasis, warts, ringworm, and fungal infections of the skin.
Apart from these, this extract can help alleviate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and gout. It can lower the level of blood sugar as well. It can also be used for relieving the symptoms of a sore throat, and for treating thyroid problems, canker sores, asthma, lung diseases, constipation, and hemorrhoids.
Possible Side Effects
Not much is known about the possible adverse effects of black walnut extract. The compound 'juglone', found in the nuts is however, toxic to animals. Moreover, some individuals can experience an allergic reaction after taking this extract. Usually, people who are allergic to nuts and pecans are more likely to develop such an allergic reaction. Another possible side effect is skin rash, that can result from its topical application.
Like any other herbal supplements, the extract obtained from black walnuts should be used with adequate care, and only in the appropriate dosage. This extract contains a high amount of tannin, and so, it is better to avoid the continuous or prolonged use of this herbal extract. Pregnant and nursing women should avoid this extract. It is always better to talk to a herbalist or a health care provider before taking any kind of herbal supplementation, including the one prepared from black walnuts.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.