What is Walnut Tea?

Greer Hed

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.

Walnuts with the green husks splitting off.
Walnuts with the green husks splitting off.

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.

Three unshelled walnuts, one partially shelled, and one completely shelled.
Three unshelled walnuts, one partially shelled, and one completely shelled.

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.

Walnet tea can be used to treat sore throats.
Walnet tea can be used to treat sore throats.

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.

Walnut tea can be made by steeping black walnut leaves in boiling hot water.
Walnut tea can be made by steeping black walnut leaves in boiling hot water.

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.

Walnut tea may be used to treat ringworm.
Walnut tea may be used to treat ringworm.

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Discussion Comments


My aunt has a walnut tree in her yard. Whenever I'm sick, she will come over with some fresh walnut leaves and make me a cup of walnut tea sweetened with honey so that I can get over the infection more quickly.

I did not know that there are poisonous compounds in walnut leaves. I've never experienced any problems. But that's probably because I've only ever had one cup of the tea at any point.


@ddljohn-- Job's tears is a grain! The other name for it is pearl barley. And Job's tears walnut tea is just a tea made from ground Job's tears, walnuts and glutinous rice. It's called tea, but it's a slightly sweet creamy hot drink and it's very popular in Korea and some other Asian countries.

I had it several times when I was in Korea and loved it. It's delicious and it's often drank in the morning, sort of like the morning cup of coffee. But it's much more healthier and nutritious.

This is not like typical walnut tea because it's not made from the leaves or bark of the walnut tree. It's just made from walnuts. So there are no side effects.


What is Job's tears walnut tea?

I believe it's a Korean walnut tea and I've heard it mentioned on more than one occasion. Has anyone tried this tea? What is it made of and what does it taste like?

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