Black walnut extract is a herbal supplement that is derived from the black walnut tree. The bark and hull have medicinal value, while the nut is primarily used for cooking. Some of the ailments that have been treated with black walnut extract include indigestion and constipation. Generally, black walnut extract is available as a concentrated liquid or in a capsule form. It is also an ingredient in many creams and lotions.
One chemical found in the bark, hull, leaves, and roots of the black walnut tree is juglone. It is responsible for the characteristic smell of the black walnut tree. Its main function is to act as a toxin to prevent other plants from growing near the black walnut tree. Juglone is one of the chemicals in black walnut extract that has medicinal properties. It is believed to help fight off infections.
Tannins are another set of chemicals that are found in walnut hulls. The astringent nature of tannins tightens mucus membranes and skin, which is useful for treating cuts or burns. In addition, tannins have been considered for the treatment of intestinal problems such as diarrhea.
Another chemical found in the walnut hull is iodine. It has antiseptic properties, which help fight of infections. Also, iodine is an essential trace element required for the production of thyroid hormones.
In traditional or herbal medicine, walnut hull powder has been used to treat viral, bacterial, or fungal infections such as herpes and warts. Herbalists also use the hulls to eliminate ringworms or tapeworms. Like with other herbal medicines, the effectiveness of these treatments is not established scientifically.
The nuts harvested from the black walnut tree do have several nutritional benefits. For example, they are rich in essential fatty acids, which are fat molecules that aren't produced in the body, but are acquired through diet. The body uses essential fatty acids to maintain cell membranes, regulate inflammation, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Black walnut extract can also be diluted and used as a mouth wash to relieve mouth sores or a sore throat. It is typically applied to the skin to treat wounds or reduce skin irritation as well. Also, it is used reduce inflammation.
The extract shouldn't be applied externally more than twice a day or taken orally more than three times a day. Pregnant or nursing women should avoid taking the extract since it can affect the child. The extract shouldn't be used by individuals that are allergic to nuts.