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Walnut

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  • Botanical: Juglans nigra
  • Family: Juglandaceae
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Walnut

Botanical

Juglans nigra

Family

Juglandaceae

Known as

Walnut, Juglans, Juglans regia, Wallnuss, Wälsche Nuss, Welschnuss-Baum, Nussbaum, Christnuss, Steinnuss

Old Use

culinary; medicinal

Collection Times

October

Parts Used

fruit, leaves, nut, seed, shell, wood

Aroma

forest, earthy

Medicinal

acne, anorexia, arthritis, athlete's foot, bronchitis, blood cleansing, bronchitis, constipation, corns, coughs, dermatitis, diabetes, eczema, gout, hair loss, herpes, hemorrhoids, high blood preasure, menstrual problems, psoriasis, rheumatism, sweaty feet, warts, shingles

Heart & Circulation

blood cleansing, hemorrhoids, high blood pressure

Hormone & Sexual Organs

menstrual problems

Infection & Inflammation

toothache

Muscle & Joints

arthritis, gout, rheumatism

Mind & Nerves

headache, migraine, pain relief

Respiratory System

cough

Stomach & Intestinal

constipation, diabetes, digestion

Skin & Hair

acne, athlete's foot, dermatitis, eczema, hair loss, psoriasis, shingles, sweaty feet, warts

Properties

analgesic, anti inflammatory, astringent, diuretic, stimulant, vermifuge

Extraction

cold pressed

Description

The tree grows to a height of 40 or 60 feet, with a large spreading top, and thick, massive stem. One accurately measured by Professor du Breuil, in Normandy, was upwards of 23 feet in circumference; and in some parts of France there are Walnut trees 300 years old, with stems of much greater thickness. In the southern parts of England the trees grow vigorously and bear abundantly, when not injured by late frosts in spring.

The flowers of separate sexes are borne upon the same tree and appear in early spring before the leaves. The male flowers have a calyx of five or six scales, surrounding from eighteen to thirty-six stamens; whilst the calyx of the female flowers closely envelops the ovary, which bears two or three fleshy stigmas. The deciduous leaves are pinnate.

Properties & Uses

The bark and leaves are alterative, anodyne, astringent, blood tonic, detergent, emetic, laxative, pectoral and vermifuge. Especially useful in the treatment of skin diseases, black walnut is of the highest value in curing scrofulous diseases, herpes, eczema etc.

An infusion of the bark is used to treat diarrhoea and also to stop the production of milk, though a strong infusion can be emetic. The bark is chewed to allay the pain of toothache and it is also used as a poultice to reduce the pain of headaches. The juice from the fruit husk is applied externally as a treatment for ringworm. The husk is chewed in the treatment of colic and applied as a poultice to inflammations.

The burnt kernels, taken in red wine, are said to prevent falling hair, making it fair. Green husks are supposed to ease the pain of toothache. A tea made from the leaves is astringent. An infusion has been used to lower high blood pressure. It can be used as a cleansing wash. The pulverized leaves have been rubbed on the affected parts of the body to destroy ringworm. The oil from the ripe seeds has been used externally in the treatment of gangrene, leprosy, and wounds. The sap has been used to treat inflammations. 

Other Uses

A brown dye is obtained from the nuts, husks and bark. It does not require a mordant. The husks can be dried for later use. A brown dye is obtained from the leaves and stems. It does not require a mordant. The dye turns black if it is prepared in an iron pot. The leaves can be dried for later use. The husks are rich in tannin. The green fruit husks can be boiled to provide a yellow dye. The husks can be made into a high quality coal and is then used as a filter. It was used in gas masks.

The woody shells on the fruits have been used to make jewellery. Insects are said to avoid the walnut tree, hence it is often used as a poor man's insect repellent. When rubbed on faces, walnut leaves are said to repel flies. The leaves repel fleas and have been used as a strewing herb. They are also used as an insecticide against bed bugs. The ground up husks are also insecticidal. The leaves produce substances that depress the growth of other plants. These substances are washed onto the ground by rain and inhibit the growth of plants beneath the tree.

The roots also produce substances that are toxic to many plant species, especially apples (Malus species), members of the Ericaceae, Potentilla spp and the white pines (certain Pinus spp.). An alternative ingredient of 'QR' herbal compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost. Wood - very ornamental, heavy, hard, strong, close-grained, very durable. Easily worked, it glues well, does not warp, shrink or swell much and takes a good polish.

It weighs 38lb per cubic foot. A very valuable timber tree and possibly the most sought after wood in N. America, it is used in cabinet making, the interior finishes of houses, furniture, airplanes, ship building, veneer etc

Cautions

The plant has occasionally been known to cause contact dermatitis in humans

Distribution

Eastern N. America - Massachusetts to Florida, west to Texas and Minnesota.

Constituents

Tannins, tannic acid, tannins, bitter compounds, flavonoids, juglone, essential oils