Have you ever foraged or used black walnuts? They are a wonderful tree that grows wild in many parts of the world. People typically associate black walnut with the nut that you roast or put in banana nut bread. But the shell has actually been used medicinally for ages. That’s what we’re going to be talking about here, the medicinal benefits of black walnut hull.
I have a black walnut tree that grows on my property, but I’ve yet to do much with them. The Hubs hates walnuts, and even hates the smell of them, so I’ve refrained from using them. But for this edition of the Self Reliant Skill of the Week, I’m actually going to be making medicine from them!
But first, let’s talk about the medicinal benefits of black walnut hull.
Black walnut hull kills parasites
I’ve long known that black walnut hull is good for treating parasites. Yes, worms! And parasites have been on my mind a lot lately. I live on a farm. We deworm all of our animals regularly. Most of the world deworms humans regularly. Why would I possibly think that WE don’t have parasites?
Little side rant here:
The USA is one of the only places in the world that doesn’t regularly deworm humans. Why is that, do you think? Do we think we’re too good to have parasites? I think it’s quite narcissistic and naïve to think that we are superior to the rest of the world when it comes to cleanliness and the need to deworm.
That also brings up a point that I don’t want to dwell on (I’m not a doctor NOR a researcher), but I think it’s worth mentioning. Many doctors have used a common dewormer, Ivermectin, for treating COVID-19 with great success. Hydroxychloroquine has also shown promise, which is a drug long-used to treat malaria (a parasite-related disease). Is it the deworming, or other constituents in these cheap, common medicines that marks its usefulness in treating this disease?
Anyways, like I said, I’m not going to dwell on that. But if you have pets or livestock, or don’t wash your garden vegetables really well, or eat some meats like pork, YOU PROBABLY HAVE PARASITES. Parasite symptoms include anemia, mood disorders, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, food allergies, chronic fatigue, increased or decreased appetite, and stiff joints.
The key component in black walnut hull is juglone, which is highly toxic to many insects and parasites. Organic gardeners frequently use black walnut extract as an organic pesticide. And studies have shown that black walnut hull extract is extremely effective in killing and expelling parasites from the body.
Fights bacterial and viral infections
Another benefit of the major component, juglone, is the ability to fight and kill both bacteria and viruses. Juglone creates a toxic environment to nearly microbes, bacteria, and viruses, without causing harm to humans. Walnut hulls help boost your immune system, so you can more effectively fight off colds and other contagious illnesses.
Black walnut hull fights fungal infections
Black walnut hull extract is a good treatment for fungal infections like ringworm, toenail fungus, and candida. It is believed that the juglone is the main component that fights fungi. Cold sores and athlete’s foot are also effectively treated with black walnut hull. A poultice or strong infusion is usually the way it’s used for these types of fungal infections. However, since toenail fungus indicates a fungus in the body, a tincture may be used to kill that fungus.
High in antioxidants
The juglone in black walnut hull is a quinone that has antioxidant properties. These antioxidants help fight free radicals in the body. Excess free radicals in the human body can lead to chronic disease such as heart disease, dementia, diabetes, and cancer.
Antioxidants protect against oxidative stress, which can cause immune disfunction. These enzymes can help prevent and heal damaged cells. Antioxidants can also help prevent disease. They even help repair DNA and cell membranes. Juglone, the main component in black walnut, actually shows promise as a treatment for cancer.
Amazingly, antioxidants can even lead to healthier, younger-looking skin and stronger hair. And these powerful enzymes can relieve some rheumatoid arthritis pain.
Good source of iodine
Iodine is an essential mineral for thyroid health. It is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. However, many people are deficient in iodine. Black walnut hull can be an excellent supplement to get your regular dose of iodine. The recommended daily dose of iodine is 150 micrograms/day.
If you want to take black walnut hull for the iodine content, it’s probably a good idea to take a supplement. Supplements will be labeled as to how much iodine is in them. That way you’ll know how much iodine you’re getting from it. You would essentially be guessing at the iodine content if you made your own.
If you are ever put in a position where you are exposed to nuclear radiation like radioactive iodine, significantly raising the iodine that is in your thyroid is the only way to combat it. Please be cautious with this, though, as you should only radically increase your iodine intake for a very short amount of time, and only under extreme emergencies.
Black walnut hull is good for digestive health
The tannins in black walnut hull help to tone the digestive system. This has the miraculous ability to relieve both diarrhea and constipation. It also helps sooth indigestion and gas. Black walnut hull is especially good for treating digestive system problems caused by bacteria or parasites. It effectively treats giardia, colic, and candida, and helps restore a healthy bacterial balance in the gut.
Black walnut hull is also very good at detoxifying the body, especially the digestive tract. It sweeps out toxins and contributes to a healthy balance. It is also cancer-protective and is good for preventing colon or rectal cancer.
Black walnut hull is considered an herbal bitter. It helps stimulate the flow of bile into the intestines. This extract tones and heals the digestive tissue, as well as improves the gut environment. This allows more effective assimilation and elimination. Many doctors claim that black walnut hull can even help heal leaky gut.
Making a black walnut hull tincture
Making a black walnut hull tincture is super easy, even for beginning herbalists. Gather the green black walnuts in the early fall, before they fall off the tree but when they are somewhat soft. Hulls that are on the ground have a much greater chance at being infested with worms.
You can put the black walnuts in whole, or you can cut off some of the outer hull. It’s actually a good idea to do both. I found that it’s easiest to fill the jar with the whole walnuts, then cut up some to fill in the gaps.
Other ingredients are optional, but may make it stronger and more effective against parasites in particular. For my first time making this particular tincture, I added whole cloves to the jar as well. Wormwood would also be a good addition if you want to effectively fight parasites.
Cover all of the hulls, nearly to the top of the jar, with at least 80 proof alcohol. Most herbalists use vodka, but I really don’t like the taste of vodka. I used a cheap spiced rum, which was 93 proof. I think the spiced rum will go nicely with the bitter and earthy flavors of the black walnut hull and cloves.
Once you have nearly filled the jar with your chosen alcohol, put the lid on and give it a good shake. This may shake out some of the air bubbles and you may have to top it off again.
Put the jar in a warm place that gets a little bit of sunlight. The sun will help to infuse the medicinal properties out of the hulls. This mixture will need to infuse for 4-6 weeks. Shake daily, or as often as you remember to. At the end of the 4-6 weeks, strain out the hulls and other ingredients (if used). This can be kept in the original jar, and you can put small amounts of it in a dropper bottle.
Don’t want to use alcohol?
If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can use apple cider vinegar or glycerin. A tincture made with alcohol is usually the most potent, and will last the longest on the shelf. But some people have issues with alcohol, and that’s totally ok.
Here is the video of my first time making a black walnut hull tincture:
Dosage and warnings
This information is for educational purposes only, and should not be taken as medical advice. I’m not a doctor, nurse, or licensed herbal practitioner. Make sure you do your own research to make sure this and any other supplements are good for you to take. And, if you’re under the direct care of a physician, consult a doctor before taking any new herbal supplements.
Start with a smaller dose when you first start taking black walnut hull extract. Most homeopaths recommend 30 drops twice a day for adults to start, working your way up to 50 drops twice a day; or about 2 teaspoons twice daily. If you are comfortable giving it to a child, the dose would be closer to 5 drops a day.
As with any supplement, it’s not a good idea to keep taking it non-stop for long periods of time. I usually take a supplement or tincture for 2 weeks at a time, then take a 1 week break. This is especially a good idea for deworming. Deworming should be done twice a year.
Make sure that you stay hydrated. It’s also a good idea to detox the liver before you do a parasite cleanse as well. Try not to do both at the same time, so you can identify any potential side effects.
If you’re interested in foraging for your own medicine and other home remedies, you need this book! The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies has lots of plants you can forage in your own backyard to make healing medicine for your family.