Three constituents of a black walnut tincture, a solution extracted from the hulls and leaves of the black walnut tree, are responsible for the many claims made concerning the healthy properties of this substance: juglone, tannins and iodine. Juglone, a compound toxic to some plants, contributes to claims that black walnut is antibacterial, fungicidal, and anti-parasitic. Tannins are polyphenols thought to help resist many conditions such as blood disorders, stress, tumours, ulcers and cancer. Iodine, required by most living creatures, has been widely used as an antiseptic. Additionally, black walnut tinctures have been used to treat bilious conditions and cramp colic.
The University of Maryland Medical Center acknowledges that formulas containing black walnut in combination with wormwood and cloves are used as an herbal remedy for parasitic infections. The University of Michigan Health System notes that black walnut, as a treatment for parasitic infections such as giardia, cryptosporidium, roundworms, hookworms and pinworms is supported by traditional use but has little or no scientific support. However, they also hint that numerous cases from the late 1800s and early 1900s suggest that black walnut tinctures can be helpful for parasitic infections. Additionally, Purdue University lists juglone as a promising phytomedicinal, noting that it is anthelmintic or destructive to parasites.
High in iodine, some consider black walnut tinctures to have the same antiseptic qualities as an iodine tincture. Doctors use iodine as a safe surgical scrub and preoperative skin antiseptic. In the body, iodine attaches to harmful bacteria and reduces their lifespan.
Other skin conditions for which people have used black walnut tincture include lice, acne, athlete’s foot, boils, cuts, cysts, rashes, shingles, dandruff, lice, warts and itchy skin. Black walnut tincture is applied as a warm compress or taken orally for these conditions. However, with overuse, some may have an allergic reaction, and repeated applications directly on the skin may result in skin tumours.
The American Cancer Society notes that only a few small studies have been done which support claims that juglone in black walnut tinctures may have some anti-tumour properties. Iodine, trace minerals, ellagic acid, linolenic acid, vitamin C and alkaloids, all of which are present in black walnut tincture, are some of the other substances to which its supposed anti-tumour properties have been attributed. In addition, they note that claims made by some that cancer is caused by parasites are unsupported by scientific research. Therefore the idea that a black walnut tincture can kill cancer-causing parasites is unfounded at this time.
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