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Black Walnut

  • Juglans nigra L.
  • Juglandaceae
  • Walnut family

Common Names


Parts Usually Used

Bark, leaves, rind of the fruit

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Black walnut is a large, Temperate Zone forest tree growing to 120 feet; its bark is rough and dark. The leaves are pinnately compound, with 9-21 ovate lanceolate, serrate leaflets. Male and female flowers grow in separate catkins. The fruit is a deeply grooved nut inside a spherical, rough husk. October-November.

Where Found

Found in rich woods. Western Massachusetts to Florida; Texas to Minnesota. Canada

Medicinal Properties

Bark: astringent, laxative, alterative

Leaves: alterative

Rind: herpatic

Biochemical Information

Juglon (also called nucin or juglandic acid)

Legends, Myths and Stories

Black walnut produces the famous walnut wood of commerce, as well as the familiar edible nuts. Treats dog or man bites, painter's oil, flavoring. Black walnut hulls are used for dyeing hair. Boil the hulls in 1 quart of water. Allow to steep until a very dark brew is obtained. Add copperas, the size of a pea, to set the dye. Strain and use as a hair rinse after shampoo. Repeat rinses until desired shade is acquired.


Use an infusion or decoction for diarrhea and to stop the production of milk. Use it as a douche for leukorrhea and as a mouthwash for soreness in the mouth or inflamed tonsils. The leaves can be used to make a cleansing wash, and the green rind of the fruit makes a good poultice to get rid of ringworm. Dried bark may be taken in a strong infusion as a purgative. The unripe nut kills intestinal worms. Chewing the bark is a remedy for toothache; an insecticide for bed bugs.

Rubbed on the skin, the extract of black walnut is said to help eczema, herpes, psoriasis, fungus infections, and skin parasites.

Native Americans used inner-bark tea as an emetic, laxative, chewed the bark for colic, poulticed for inflammation.

Formulas or Dosages

Tea: steep 1 oz. of either the bark or leaves in 1 cup water and take 2 or 3 times daily.

Extract: mix 10 to 20 drops in water or juice daily.

Externally: rub extract on skin 2 times daily.


Husk will stain anything it touches.

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