My Herbs Blog
Black Walnut, Eastern- Juglans nigra. This wonderful plant is a deciduous tree in the Juglandaceae (Walnut) family. Black walnut trees grow everywhere in the Northeast US. If you go to the country and ask 10 people if they have a Black Walnut on their property, I guarantee 9 times out of 10 you will here- YES! You will also hear how they find the tree to be annoying because it drops (if it is healthy), hundreds of walnut hulls all over the ground. These hulls can be as large as a softball, but are usually more like something between a golf ball and a softball in size. At first they are just a bumpy nuisance for the lawn mower, but as they break down they are a messy black nuisance, that is unless you have learned to harness the beauty of this plant.
Every country home we have lived at, had at least one Black walnut tree. I have been amazed at where I find the inner shells, nestled in the ground, far from the tree- ready to burst forth with new life. I imagine that squirrels and other woodland creatures carry them hither and thither around the earth moving them, stacking them, dropping them and replanting this marvelous tree.
One year my husband and I decided to gather the hulls not only for the medicinal qualities in the green hull, but for the walnut inside. (I make at least a gallon of tincture every single year. See my video on making Black Walnut Tincture below.) I will never forget that exercise. First we gathered all the green hulls and placed them in our driveway/ parking area. We had a big Black Walnut tree right over a stone parking area at the back of our property. The hulls were conveniently close and nearly dropping on our cars. We made big piles of the the hulls and ran them over with our vehicles to help remove the green part.
Then we raked them aside and let them dry in the grass. Mind you everything under the green hull turns black and dies because of the juglone and tannins in the hull, which is the exact part you want for your fungal remedy. Anyway, I believe we let them dry out for about a week, and then we gathered them in big buckets and took them to our basement. Here my husband washed each hull and scrubbed them with a wire brush. This was a time consuming process, needless to say. We then continued to dry them, on some sort of rack or screen; I can not quite remember, but I know that we left them alone for a month or two. They were collected around September and we ate them around the holidays.
After all that effort, there is even more effort needed to get to the meat. You need a large, flat board and a hammer to crack open the shell that protects the walnut. These nuts do not crack with your normal nutcracker. The center though, is worth it. The prize is so delicious, almost a delicacy, and packed with flavor. I never tasted a nut that was so tasty. I am actually not a big fan of black walnuts, or walnuts in general but the ones we collected and opened with love and care were the best by far, I have ever eaten.
As for the topic of this blog post... I have mentioned that the hulls are used for fungal issues, and boy do they ever work for this problem. I have had skin issues my whole life, not so much anymore as I have gotten to a lot of the root problems, which would require another post another time. When I have a flare up of eczema- which from my research and understanding is really a bacterial, fungal storm, I have found no cream, lotion, potion or anything that works as effectively as the juice from the black walnut hulls (the green hulls).
If you go to the video below, and see my Sheep Hill Herbs You Tube page, I also have a video on freezing slices of black walnut hulls. In the fall- I use the hulls fresh and for as long as they last. I will even store them in the refrigerator for a few months. If I have any skin itchiness, or a flare, I cut the hull and rub the juice right on the spot. Most of my eczema has been on my hands, in-between my fingers. The juice stings if you have any skin problem, like ring-worm, or other creepy crawly thing going on. If your skin is healthy, it will stain with no feeling whatsoever. Usually a few applications, over a few days is enough to stop the microorganisms in their tracks and then "it" whatever that it is, fungus, bacteria, or parasite dries up and new skin replaces it.
There is a drawback though and maybe you have guessed it, you will stain your skin. It will be a dark yellow, to brown to even black in color where you have applied the juice. Maybe that is why most people do not want to try this method, but I have an interesting theory. If you have a skin issue- such as ringworm, or other infection, even poison or a rash, in many cases it can be contagious. By applying black walnut hull juice to the skin, and having to bear the black mark, you are very likely going to stay home, or want to stay home until the black fades away. I believe that this time is a good time to stay separated from others to avoid sharing the skin issue. It is sort of nature's way of keeping the spread from spreading.
This sounds way to much like current events, and I am not at all for hiding at home, or forcing others to stay isolated in illness, but I do believe proper common sense, and the use of old fashioned remedies, lends itself to a "forced" time of separation. Modern medicine, and creams, and pills often cover symptoms allowing people to share their illness. Herbs allow for a time to rest, heal, recover and be better for it.
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