The multiple names that black walnut (Juglans nugra) has acquired through the time being contributes to the popularity of this brain-shaped fruit. Its Roman name (Juglans regia) is translated from Latin as "royal Jupiter acron", describing the nut's relation to strength and wealth. In Afghanistan they came up with another original term that reflects black walnut's physical shape and brain-targeted action - "the four brains", or charmarghz.
Native to the North America, The black walnut was introduced in Europe in the middle of the 17th century and since then has been widely cultivated in the region. The tree grows up to 40 meters high, usually has a tall bole (if competes in the forest) and a big crown. The leaves are 30-50 cm long and have multiple leaflets; the flowers grow in clusters (2-5) and produce the black ridged nut with the firm fleshy kernel.
The black walnut is a light loving plant and it prefers growing in the well-drained soils. To succeed in growing, the tree requires loamy deep moist ground, well fertilized. Also, depending on the pollination peculiarities, the species produce nuts with different shell thickness and kernel taste.
The walnuts are primarily favored for their edible fruits which can be consumed both raw and processed. The hard shell is used in beauty products, water filtration and abrasive cleaning. Bark, leaves and husk are used medicinally (externally and as topical applications), and the walnut wood - in furniture production.
Walnut and its plant parts are represented in the widest variety of food supplements, herbal blends and formulas. Leave-based decoction, infusion and tincture are the most common topical forms; bark and leaves are used as the ingredients in the prolapse formula, and the nut is the frequent component of anti-inflammatory and tonic supplements.
Black walnut is rich in a variety of nourishing components providing the plant with the number of benefits. Tannins, represented in high amounts, are well known for their antitumour, antibacterial, antidiarrheal and antiulcer actions, as well as possessing antiviral properties.
Omega 3 fatty acids and iodine in the plant provide protection against circulatory problems and help control cholesterol levels. The shells of the nut are rich in vitamins of B group, vitamin C and beta carotene. Almost all the parts of walnut has some benefits to offer: bark is rich in astringent ant anti-inflammatory components, fruit is tonic, laxative, while the leaves are detergent and alterative. Vitamin E, folic acid, iron, protein, magnessium and potassium make walnut a nourishing food as well.
Due to such a rich nutrition content, black walnut is, first of all, a valuable fiber food source. On top of that, in one tablespoon of walnuts there is 180 calories (because of the high content of fat).
Despite this fact, walnuts are actually considered to be the solution for the cholesterol problems and heart health. The antioxidant properties of the plant help fight the "bad" cholesterol levels and promote the cardiovascular function. Consumed after a rich meal, walnuts can stimulate artery function and also pomote digestion.
The action of the fatty acids is highly beneficial for the brain, too. They work as a building material to restore brain cells (which are 60% made of fat) and stimulate their function. That is why nut snacks are so popular when getting ready for exams or some high amounts of mental work.
Applied topically, the preparations of walnut leaves and bark are used for the skin disorders, such as eczema, ulcers, sores, herpes, psoriasis and even skin parasites. Toothaches are well handled by chewing the black walnut bark.
Digestion system problems, such as hemorrhoids, constipation, liver and gallbladder disorders, heartburn and colic are suggested to be treated with the decoction based on the leaves. The latter possesses antiparasitic properties as well, and thus is being good for intestinal worms (this use is also known in folk medicine).
Antifungal effects of walnut make it effective against yeast infection and athletes foot, and also help fight ringworm.
Mouthwash with walnut extract is known as a good remedy for sore mouth, infection and tonsilitis.
Feeding mothers use the bark decoction when they want to stop breastfeeding - since it possesses the quality to slow down lactation and dry up milk.
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