I’ve planted two walnut trees over the years here in our gardens and neither of them have survived. People always tell me ‘but they grow like weeds!’ Yeah right, not for me they don’t. For many years whenever I took a trip down South I would see these beautifully lush trees growing along the banks of the mighty Waikato River. They looked so exotic and I used to try and figure out what species they were. One day the penny dropped and I recognised them as thriving walnut trees. Then I understood why they hadn’t been happy, here, in my garden. Walnuts naturally choose fertile, moist, lime rich locations. I have read that European settlers coming to the eastern parts of the USA would often choose to build their homes near a stand of walnut trees. They understood the best place to plant a garden. All that goodness seems to be absorbed by this stately and medicine rich tree. It has many gifts to share; nutrient dense food, exceptional medicine and the finest timber. Read the full post for all the details.
Common names; Walnut, Black Walnut, American Walnut, Eastern Black Walnut
Description; The black walnut is a large deciduous, flowering and fruit/nut bearing tree growing to between 50-120 ft tall with a spreading crown. The bark is greyish-black and deeply furrowed. Black walnut leaves are pinnately compound, finely-toothed, and 3 to 3-1/2 inches long; there are 20-23 alternate leaves per stem. Its male and female flowers grow in separate catkins, distinct upon the same tree. The male flowers are in drooping catkins 3-4in long, the female flowers terminal in clusters of 2 to 5. The female flowers produce the fruit. The fruit is a deeply-grooved, edible nut 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter with a thick aromatic husk.
Parts Used; inner bark, green hull, shell, leaf, fruit,
Preparations; Extracts, pills, lotions and creams, oil, homeopathic, Bach flower essence.
Habitat;The black walnut is a forest tree indigenous to Central and Eastern USA. It is shade intolerant and thrives in a sunny open location in lime-rich moist soil. It naturalizes easily along open riverbanks.
Traditional and Historical Uses;?North American Indians used the black walnut to treat a number of ailments in both humans and animals. Juice made from green walnut husks was used to clean maggots out of wounds and to rid dogs of intestinal worms (Niethammer, 1974). The White Mountain Apache tribe rubbed their horses and livestock with a concoction of husk juice to protect the animals from parasites (Niethammer,1974). A tonic made from walnut bark was also used to treat aches and pains associated with rheumatism. The European walnut, juglans regia, has very similar active ingredients and been used extensively throughout Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Throughout the centuries European herbalists used the nut, the bark, the roots, and the leaves; as an astringent, a laxative, a purgative to induce vomiting, a styptic to arrest the bleeding of wounds, a vermifuge to expel worms or parasites such as head and body lice, and a hepatic to tone the liver. The walnut served to induce sweating, cure diarrhoea, soothe sore gums and relieve inflamed tonsils. It was highly recommended for all manner of skin diseases; eczema, psoriasis, impetigo, herpetic eruptions, syphilitic chancre, hives, boils, acne, ulcers and sores.
Therapeutic Actions; Anti-fungal, vermifuge, laxative, purgative/emetic, anti-bacterial (Bhargava,1968, Gadan F et al., 2005), astringent, alterative, anodyne, anti-inflammatory (Qadan F et al., 2005), antiseptic, blood purifier, blood tonic,detergent, antioxidant ( Li l et al., 2006, Bhatia K et al., 2006) (Reiter R J et al., 2005) anti-mutagenic (Bhargava,1968).
Constituents; The fruit contains B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and folic acid, minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and zinc. Walnut is the richest plant source of iodine. Walnuts contain juglone, juglandin and juglandic acid, tannins, quercitin, linolenic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E-alpha, beta, delta and gamma-tocopherol, making it exceptionally high in antioxidants.
Current Herbal Uses; Internally Because of it’s innate ability to kill microbes, it is commonly used as an anti-fungal treatment for long-standing cases of candidiasis, and yeast related disorders such as oral thrush, vaginal thrush, jock itch and associated fungal skin rashes. Accompanying complaints involving the gut can also include Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Leaky Gut Syndrome and parasitic and bacterial intestinal infestations. It is also used as a laxative for constipation. Because of the high iodine content walnut extract is used for treating hypothyroidism and as a thyroid stimulant. The extract is also considered a blood purifier. In Chinese medicine, black walnut extract is used to treat a variety of ailments, including asthma, constipation, lumbago and impotence.There have been studies that suggest consuming a small handful of walnuts daily can reduce coronary vascular disease risk (Davis P et al.,2006). Ayurvedic medicine uses walnuts to treat cardiac problems; reduce uric acid, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis; and to treat certain sexually transmitted diseases. Externally On the skin it is used in salves, lotions and washes for treating acne, sores, boils, impetigo, dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, warts and ringworm utilising it’s anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and ant-mutagenic capabilities.