Black Walnut

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Juglans nigra Family: Juglandaceae

COMMON NAME(S): Black walnut

The Black Walnut ( Juglans nigra L.) is a native of eastern North America , where it grows, mostly alongside rivers, from southern Ontario, Canada west to southeast South Dakota, south to Georgia and southwest to central Texas.


Walnuts have been found in prehistoric deposits dating from the Iron Age in Europe. They are mentioned in the Bible; King Solomon's nut garden dates back to 940 bc. Black wnlnuts were an important food for American Indians and early settlers. The genus name, Juglans, comes from the Latin Jovis glans. meaning "nut of Jupiter" or nut of the gods. Many leg­.ods have been associated with the wnlnut. Greeks and Romans regarded it as symbol of fertility. In the Middle Ages, walnuts were thought to ward off Whchcraft, the evil eye, and epileptic fits from evil spirits lurking in the walnut branches. Medicinal uses of walnuts included treatments for swollen glands, shingles, and sores. The oil was used for intestinal discomfort.

Botany :- There are about 15 species of Juglans. "Walnut" refers to several varieties, most commonly the English or Persian walnut (J. regia; see monograph) and the black walnut (J. nigra). Walnut trees have short trunks with round-topped crowns, and can grow to 45 m in height. The black walnut is native to the deciduous forests of the eastern United States (central Mississippi, Appalachian regions) and Canada. Its wood is valued for its rich beauty Ilnd yields valuable lumber, prized for furniture, cabinets, and gun stocks. The fruit is an elongated drupe, containing a 4-ribbed edible nut within a thick, hard, black shell (smaller in size than the English walnut).

Uses of Black Walnut

Black walnut has been used as a wood source. It can also be beneficial in certain skin disorders, for constipation, and as an anti-infectant or vermifuge. It has nutritional value and its EEAs help protect against heart disease and reduce cholesterol. There are no human trials to support these effects.

The Black Walnut was introduced into Europe in 1629. It is cultivated there as a forest tree for its high quality wood. It is more resistant to frost than the Persian Walnut , but thrives best in the warmer regions of Europe of fertile, lowland soils with a high water table. It is a light-demanding species. The wood is used to make furniture and rifle stocks, and oil is pressed from the seeds.

Side Effects of Black Walnut

Do not use during pregnancy or chronic gastrointestinal tract disease. Juglone, the naphthaquinone found in black walnut and many others in the family Juglandaceae, is regarded as a toxin. Allergic reactions have occurred.


Black walnut capsules, in extract and liquid form, are available commercially ranging in strength from 500mg to 1000mg. Alternately 10 to 20 drops of the extract can be mixed with water to drink. Generally, oral doses are taken three times a day, but oral use for longer than 6 weeks is not recommended due to the tannin content.

As an extract, black walnut can be used as a skin application. It also is found as an ingredient in creams, lotions, and ointments. The usual recommendation for topical use is twice a day.


Do not use shavings containing black walnut, limit access of horses to pastures with walnut trees. Purchase bedding shavings only from reputable dealers. Do not let dogs eat walnut hulls.

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