Black walnut trees grow in the central to eastern regions of North America. The most notable attribute of the black walnut tree is its characteristic smell. The black walnut nuts are covered in a smooth hard shell that is difficult to break. The black walnut has a long history of medicinal and food uses. Once used as treatment for diphtheria and syphilis, black walnut is now used mostly for the astringent properties of its hulls and bark. The nuts continue to be a popular ingredient in a number of bakery products. Black walnuts contain essential fatty acids that may help to protect the body against heart disease.
(Note: Essential fatty acids are used by the body to regulate activities that include heart function, insulin utilization, and mood balance. Essential fatty acids are not produced by the body and must be obtained through diet or supplementation.)
The astringents in black walnut, known as tannins and juglone, help to tighten the top layers of skin or mucous membranes, thereby limiting secretions, relieving irritation, and improving tissue firmness. Consequently, black walnut has been considered an effective treatment for gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea. Many believe that black walnut may have some ability for eliminating internal parasites such as tapeworms.
A liquid mixture made from black walnut extract may be used as a gargle to use in connection with mouth sores, sore throats, and to disinfect skin wounds. Some studies show that black walnut may have anti-inflammatory properties that are useful in relieving the surface of the skin from irritation, injury, or infection.Dosage
Black walnut capsules, in extract and liquid form, are available commercially ranging in strength from 500mg to 1000mg. Alternately 10 to 20 drops of the extract can be mixed with water to drink. Generally, oral doses are taken three times a day, but oral use for longer than 6 weeks is not recommended due to the tannin content.
As an extract, black walnut can be used as a skin application. It also is found as an ingredient in creams, lotions, and ointments. The usual recommendation for topical use is twice a day.