Walnut (Juglans regia)
Walnut trees are deciduous and they grow to a height between 30 and 130 feet tall. The nuts grow in a green casing. When ripe, they fall from the tree and the casing rots off, leaving the nut securely in its shell. The nuts have been a human food source since prehistoric times. They have been an important part of the diet of many cultures including the Romans and Greeks.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Walnut leaves are used for respiratory difficulties like asthma and chronic cough. They are also useful for urinary stones and constipation. The leaves can stimulate the appetite. The fruit rind can treat anemia and diarrhea. Traditional Chinese medicine uses the herb for lumbar pain, frequent urination, wheezing and weak knees.
The nut oil can help regulate menstrual dysfunction. A recent study suggests that eating the nuts after a meal can reduce the effects of unhealthy fat. The study showed that the nuts had a similar effect to olive oil because they are high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, namely alpha linoleic and linoleic. Another study suggests that the nuts may reduce the risk or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease.
In Chinese medicine walnuts are used as a kidney tonic. They are also considered beneficial to the brain and the back. They are known to decrease blood cholesterol, discourage blood clots and they are beneficial against heart disease. They also rid the body of parasites like tapeworms.
Externally Walnut bark and leaves are used for several skin problems, like herpes, acne, sunburn, inflammation, ringworm, itchy scalp, perspiration and eczema. It is also used for hair loss and eye inflammation. It can also be used for superficial burns, dandruff, small wounds, scratches and peeling of the skin.
Other Uses The nut casings are used as fabric dye, a hair dye and to darken the skin. They make a rich brown color. The nuts are edible and are used in many dishes. Oil from the nuts can be used as a carrier oil for essential oils and for massage.
Nuts, casings, bark The leaves, nuts, casing and inner bark are all used medicinally.
If the husks are used to make a decoction or herbal tea that is taken internally, it may prevent the full absorption of prescription drugs. There are no known contraindications for walnut. It is safe when taken as food in pregnancy, but medicinal dosages should be avoided. Some people may show allergic reactions to the herb.
A substance found in the nuts, Juglone, is toxic to many animals.
Preparation and Dosage
The average dose for walnut is 2 to 6 grams per day.