Black walnuts are all around you. No - seriously! You can find black walnuts (Juglans nigra) growing wild across the United States, and they are the second most cultivated walnut in North America, after English walnuts. The walnut has 3 main parts: the kernel, a dry outer covering called a hull and a hard shell. While you can eat the kernel raw or press it for oil, the hull actually contains antioxidants that are used in extracts and supplements for medicinal purposes. The hull is often used to help treat a parasitic infection or decrease inflammation.
The Benefits of the Black Walnut
Several studies have shown that juglone causes cell death in certain cancerous cells, like in the liver and stomach. Additionally, black walnuts contain flavonoid antioxidants. Why is this such good news? These antioxidants have been shown to have beneficial effects against lung, breast, prostate and colon cancer.
Black walnut hulls are also high in tannins - compounds with antibacterial and astringent properties. They help protect the body from a variety of harmful strains of bacteria, including Listeria, Salmonella, and E. Coli, all bacteria that commonly cause food borne illnesses. A test-tube study additionally found that hull extracts have antioxidant and antibacterial properties, preventing the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that can cause infections.
Black Walnut in Natural Supplements
Plant compounds in black walnut hulls are commonly extracted and used for supplements in capsules or liquid drop form. Since black walnut extract has such strong antibacterial properties, it’s used in wormwood complex supplements. It makes for a natural remedy against parasitic infections. The extract from black walnut leaves can even be used to treat skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, and warts.
Nutritional Value of Black Walnuts
While black walnuts are chock full of medicinal contributions, they are also rather nutritious. Black walnuts are high in protein, healthy fats, and many vitamins and minerals. Protein is beneficial when it comes to weight loss, blood sugar control, and contributes to feelings of fullness. They’re low in carbs, and most of the carbs come from fiber, a nutrient that can also promote feelings of fullness and weight control.
As you may have gathered by now, walnuts are also a good source of antioxidants, which can prevent or delay cellular damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. For example, they contain proanthocyanidins, which may protect against sun damage, improve vision, and increase blood circulation.
Black walnuts also provide a type of omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. ALA is an essential fat, meaning that your body can’t produce it, so you need to obtain it from your diet. ALA has been connected to several health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
Highly nutritious, and medicinally effective, the black walnut can contribute much to your body’s function and longevity. With its hulls anti-tumor, antibacterial, and astringent properties, it’s also an effective treatment for intestinal parasites. This is one nut that’s hard to overlook.