Black walnut tincture is easy to make, although a quick search will reveal plenty of variations in technique. Some people use only the green hull, some use the whole nuts in the hull. Most use only green nuts, but I've found a couple sources that use black hulls. I prefer to keep it simple and stick with plain vodka, but some mix half vodka and half glycerin, or even vodka, lemon juice and a layer of olive oil on top. (The olive oil and lemon help prevent oxidation, keeping your tincture green instead of brown.)
This is a people's remedy, not a standardized pharmaceutical. The amount of active compounds in the nut hulls will vary from tree to tree, as will the ratio of hulls per batch. If you are attempting to treat a specific condition, you may wish to consult a trained herbalist to figure out the right dosage for you. I am not a doctor, and this post is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
Black walnut side effects/risks are minimal. Don't use it if you have a nut allergy. Handling the nuts will turn your fingers brown, but it wears off – eventually. There may be some risk to the fetus/baby, so it's not recommended for use while pregnant or nursing. WebMD warns against daily oral use due to a possible link with tongue or lip cancer, but others use black walnut powder as part of natural toothpaste blends. (Clear as mud, I know. WebMD is a trusted mainstream resource, but sometimes their information is pretty obviously influenced by Big Pharma.)
How to Make Black Walnut Tincture
When I'm making plant medicine, I generally like to get a nice, concentrated extract, then dilute as needed. For black walnut tincture, this means using only the husks, not the whole nuts. Cutting off the hulls gives you the opportunity to double check the quality of the hulls, too.
Picking Black Walnuts
I collect the nuts off the ground as they fall – sooner is better than later. The longer they are off the tree, the more discoloration and the higher the likelihood of unwanted guests. (See below.)
GROSS OUT ALERT
As we prepped the latest batch of tincture, we found some nuts that looked green and nice at a glance. Upon closer inspection, the stem end was a little squishy. When cut open, the walnuts were crawling with maggots. Sure, the alcohol would pickle them, but I prefer my tinctures worm free.
To make your black walnut tincture:
- Select black walnuts in good condition. You'll need around 2 quarts of nuts for one quart of tincture.
- Select a good quality 80 proof vodka (40% alcohol bu volume).
- Clean your tincturing vessel (a mason jar will work just fine) and fill about 1/3 full with vodka.
- With a sharp knife, cut off hulls and drop into vodka.
- Fill jar with hulls, covering with additional vodka as needed.
- When jar is full, cover and store out of direct sunlight for around 4-6 weeks, mixing or stirring every few days.
- Strain out hulls and store your black walnut tincture in a clean glass bottle. (Colored glass bottles will help preserve the active ingredients.)
- Best brewed fresh each season, but will likely maintain some medicinal value for years, depending on conditions.
Black Walnut Uses
Black walnut tincture has historically been known for anti-fungal, anti-helminthic (parasite killing), anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects. Some herbalists use them as part of anti-cancer protocols, such as Dr. Hulda Clark's 21 Day Cancer Cure Program.
Baseline of Health Foundation notes that:
Before vitamins and minerals were commonly used, herbalists were known to use black walnut for a variety of conditions including easing scrofula, ulcers, wounds, rickets, scurvy and as a gargle. In more recent times, Russian military hospitals also used the nut as a cleansing and quick healing medication for wounds and ulcers.
The black walnut hull’s tannin content is thought to help shrink the sweat glands and reduce excessive sweating. Other uses include:
- lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding) and diarrhea
- aiding digestion
- helping relieve colic, heartburn and flatulence
- stimulating bile flow
- easing pain in spleen
- balancing blood sugar levels
- warding off heart disease
- combating malaria
- helping with syphilis
- helping with skin conditions such as boils and acne
How Do I Use Black Walnut Tincture?
As I mentioned above, each batch of black walnut tincture will vary. Dr. Janet Starr Hull includes the following dosing instructions on her website for using black walnut tincture as a parasite cleanse:
Serving size for the Black Walnut green hull tincture is 20 drops. The ingredients in the tincture: wild harvested green hull of Black Walnut (juglans nigra), grain alcohol, with the distilled water/grain alcohol content 45-55%, and the dry herb/menstrum ratio is 1:5. Suggested use for the Black Walnut green hull tincture: take 20 drops in a little water 3 times a day. There are about 60 servings per each 2 fluid ounce bottles. (59 ml)
To use topically on warts or fungal infections such as athlete's foot, you can try applying a small amount of black walnut tincture directly to the affected area with a cotton swab. Note – This is likely to stain your skin brown. Alternatively, add around a dropper full of tincture to a gallon of warm water in your foot soak basin and soak for 10 minutes per day for up to two weeks. I have not attempted to use this treatment (no athlete's foot), but it should be safe based on internal dosing recommendations that I have read. Watch for any signs of sensitivity and discontinue use if the treatment causes significant irritation.
Black walnut hulls are also dried and used medicinally, both externally and internally.
Have you used black walnut tincture? If so, please share your experience. There are a wide range of uses out there, and I know I've only scratched the surface in this post.
Where Do I Get Black Walnuts?
Don't have a black walnut tree? You can buy black walnut tincture or chopped and sorted hulls online. Planning to be in your current location for a while? You can plant black walnut seedlings and they will fruit in 7-10 years. Watch where you're planting, though, as they will inhibit the growth of many other plants trees and shrubs. Only a few plants, like pawpaws, happily grow in the shade of black walnuts.
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