Black walnut – what is it for, how to use it, benefits, harm!

Black walnut is rich in health-benefiting nutrients, we know that pulses, nuts and seeds can be some of the healthiest superfoods. When consumed in moderation, and one of the best nuts for health is walnut.

Walnuts have been shown to fight depression, improve brain health, improve heart health, and much more. But did you know that there is one type of nut in particular that provides some remarkable benefits?

Black walnut (Juglans nigra) has been a nutritious addition to diets since ancient times, from Native Americans to Asians. Studies have focused on the constituents, flavonoids , quinones and polyphenols found in grains, which are known for their antineoplastic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant , antiatherogenic and neuroprotective properties.

In addition to this, black walnuts  are popular superfoods, and research is just beginning to discover the powerful nutritional components these unique nuts contain.

What is black walnut for ? 

Black walnut (Juglans nigra), also known as American walnut, is a large hardwood species in the Juglandacea family and native to eastern North America, before spreading westward towards California.

With a height of up to 30 meters and deep roots of up to 3 meters, the walnut tree increases stability and support, but makes it difficult to absorb water . This is why black walnut can be found growing in regions with occasional rainfall or near stream beds.

As for the characteristics of walnuts, the shell is black, deeply wrinkled, thick and reveals a dark surface subsoil when scraped.

Black walnut has also been used historically to get rid of a fever and to treat kidney disease , gastrointestinal problems, ulcers , toothache , snakebites, and syphilis .

Recent studies have shown that black walnut husks contain chemicals that inhibit bacterial and fungal growth and may be valuable in controlling dermal, mucosal, and oral infections in humans.

Cleaned and processed, black walnut husks were used as abrasives in filter materials. Columbia University researchers reported that extracts from the green hull in black walnut are able to paralyze mice, fish , rabbits and rats, which is currently illegal.

Nutritional value of black walnut : 

Black walnut leaves , husks and fruits contain a constituent called juglone, also known as 5-hydroxy-1,4-naphthalenedione, an active constituent known to be effective against worms, tobacco mosaic virus and H-pylori.

Health benefits of black walnut : 

Below we have compiled a list of the best benefits of this nut for the health of our body, all thanks to its high nutrient content, check it out:

1. Expel parasites: 

One of the main active components of black walnut shell  is juglone. In addition, juglone exerts its effect by inhibiting certain enzymes necessary for metabolic function.

It is highly toxic to many insect herbivores – it is often used by organic gardeners as a natural pesticide – and researchers have observed that black walnut can flush out parasitic worms from the body.

It is effective against worms, pins or other intestinal parasites. Plus, that’s why it’s a great addition to the bed to fight parasites.

2. Promote skin health: 

The tannins present have an astringent effect, which is used to tone the epidermis, mucous membranes and soothe irritation. Additionally, dermatological applications associated with black walnut  include viral warts, eczema , acne , psoriasis , xerosis, tinea pedis, and poison ivy.

3. Improve cardiovascular health:

Black walnuts are an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), in 100 grams it contains 3.3 grams of ALA. Nuts are excellent as a staple of the Mediterranean diet, a diet considered to be healthy in reducing mortality rates from coronary artery disease, which is low in Mediterranean populations.

Recent epidemiological studies suggest that frequent consumption of walnuts may have protective effects against coronary heart disease, due to the promising effects on blood lipid profiles.

In clinical studies, diets supplemented with walnuts decreased the serum concentration of low-density lipoprotein and cholesterol. Other potential protective constituents include high amounts of magnesium, vitamin E , protein, dietary fiber , potassium, and alpha-linolenic acid.

4. Antifungal and antimicrobial activity:

Juice from green black walnut shells  has been used in folk medicine for many years as a treatment for localized dermatophytic fungal infections such as ringworm. These fungal infections usually involve keratinized tissues such as hair, skin  and nails. Such infections can be chronic and resistant to treatment, but rarely affect the patient’s health.

It has been suggested that the biological activity of black walnut shell  is due to the naphthoquinone, juglone (5-hydroxy-1,4 naphthoquinone). Juglone’s antifungal activity has also been compared to other known antifungal agents such as griseofulvin, clotrimazole, tolnaftate, triacetin, zinc undecylenate , selenium sulfide, liriodenine, and liriodenine methionine .

In one study, juglone was determined to exhibit moderate antifungal activity, similar to zinc undecylenate and selenium sulfide, which are commercially available antifungal agents. Internally, it is also used for chronic constipation , intestinal toxemia, portal congestion, hemorrhoids , and giardia.

Derivatives of 1,4-naphthoquinones have been of great clinical interest, since these compounds have strong activity as antibacterial and antifungal agents.

5. Prevent cancer: 

Quinones have been associated with anticancer activity. Juglone is a quinone found in the leaves, roots and bark of black walnuts . The exocarp of the immature fruits, bark and twigs has been used in China to treat cancers of the liver , lung and stomach.

Juglone blocks potassium channels, promotes hydrogen peroxide generation, and inhibits transcription in cancer cells . Furthermore, in a recent study, it was found to promote cell death in human colorectal cells, and due to the juglone content of black walnuts , it could make the walnut a potential cancer -fighting food .

Possible side effects of black walnut : 

When it comes to topical application in cases of skin problems, the side effects of black walnut  are few. Due to the astringent action of tannins, black walnut causes the top layer of the skin to become dehydrated and form a thick layer of dense, callus-like tissue.

May have additive effects with antimicrobials and laxatives . Caution is also advised when taking herbs, medications or supplements used for nausea, gastrointestinal problems, inflammation, cancer, etc.

Black walnut  is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women or for long periods of time.

Fresh green peel can cause irritation and blistering when applied to the skin in excessive amounts. In addition, taken internally in large doses, tea from the shell of this walnut is a sedative for the circulatory system and heart.

How to use black walnut:

The vast majority of store-bought nuts are English walnuts, which are easier to crack and larger than. In some places, they can be purchased in stores or from a certified online store.

Encapsulated meat is much smaller and harder to pull out than the other nut. Also, for this reason, they need to be minced. One of the reasons people would stop eating black walnuts  is that they are literally a “hard nut to crack”.

Using a peeler, people find other ways to break the shell, like a hammer or a stone. Also, once the nuts are shelled, they need to dry for a few weeks before they crack. Also, a rule of thumb is to leave them until you can hear the nuts shaking when you shake them.

If you live in one of the states where Black Walnuts are grown, they can be purchased at the local farmers market. In addition, these nuts can be stored for up to a year when refrigerated and up to two years in the freezer.

Final considerations:  

They were introduced to Europe in the mid-1600s and are now grown across North America in tree plantations for their prized dark colored wood. In addition, they are also a popular delicacy in North America and Europe and can be found in everything from casseroles to pasta and salads.

It has been shown to destroy certain cancer cells and treat colic, regulate digestion and improve immunity, flatulence and respiratory problems.

Specifically, this herb has been proven to fight malaria , improve cardiovascular health. Also, eliminate parasites, contain antimicrobial and antifungal properties and treat skin diseases.

Black walnut is commercially available at health stores and online as a liquid extract and in capsule form. Also, it should only be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional. In addition, it should be taken in small doses as directed and not for an extended period of time.

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