Walnut tea is a kind of herbal tea made using the leaves, bark, hulls, or nut meats of the black walnut tree. The tea has antibacterial and antiviral properties and is also an anti-fungal. It is used in both alternative and herbal medicine to treat a wide array of minor medical conditions, including respiratory and digestive ailments and many types of skin irritation. The tea is effective at treating these conditions because the roots, leaves, and other plant parts of the black walnut contain a compound called juglone, which can also be poisonous when ingested in large amounts. Some practitioners of alternative medicine theorize that walnut tea may also be effective in treating cancer, but these theories have not been thoroughly researched.
Black walnut trees are found in most parts of eastern North America. A similar tree, the Persian or English walnut, contains the same compound, juglone. Parts of this tree can also be used for medicinal purposes. The English walnut is native to Asia and parts of the Middle East, but has also spread into Europe.
Due to its many healing properties, walnut tea may be used to treat the symptoms of sore throat and tonsillitis. The tea may also be used to treat constipation or to get rid of digestive parasites. It is also used to treat a variety of skin ailments, including eczema, acne, ringworm, blisters, and psoriasis. Walnut tea is usually consumed as a hot drink, although in the case of some skin problems, it may be applied topically.
Walnut tea is a useful medicine because it contains the organic compound juglone, as well as a variety of astringent tannins and B and C vitamins. Juglone is actually a poison that is toxic to many plants. Since the black walnut and English walnut contain so much of this compound, particularly in their root structures, the soil surrounding them is inhospitable to the growth of other plants. In fact, another use for the compound is as a weedkiller and herbicide. Humans can consume small amounts of juglone with few adverse effects, but high doses of the compound can damage the liver and kidneys.
There are many methods of brewing walnut tea. If leaves are used, three to five black walnut leaves may be added to a pot of water, which is then brought to a boil before straining and serving the tea. Bark may also be used in a similar manner. A more complex Chinese recipe for walnut tea involves grinding the meat of walnuts together with rice and dates to make a thick paste. This paste is then sieved through a piece of cheesecloth or muslin and has sugar and water added to it before heating and serving.