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Juglans cinerea (L)

Synonyms: white walnut, lemon walnut, oilnut

Order: Juglandaceae

Description: A tree indigenous to eastern North America. It can reach 25m in height and has grey, relatively smooth bark. The leaves are large and pinnate, divided into 11-19 pointed and toothed leaflets; there are drooping racemes or catkins of separate male and female flowers. It grows in rich and rocky woods throughout North America.

Parts used: Dried inner bark

Collection: Harvest in early summer.

Constituents: naphthaquinones (juglone, juglandin, juglandic acid), tannin, fixed oil, volatile oil

Actions: Mild cathartic, stimulating laxative, cholagogue, dermatological agent, anthelmintic, tonic, gentle purgative, astringent, antihaemorrhoidal

Indications: Constipation, hepatic dysfunction, exudative skin eruptions. Specifically indicated in constipation associated with dyspepsia.

Therapeutics and Pharmacology: Juglans is used in the treatment of atonic constipation and to stimulate liver function in congestive or sluggish digestive disorders. The quills or inner bark are one of the few potent laxatives that are safe to use in pregnancy. It is of use in chronic or acute skin conditions associated with bowel and/or liver torpor. It will expel worms and can be used in feverish colds and flu. Grieve recommends it for syphilis and old ulcers. The naphthaquinone juglone has antimicrobial, antineoplastic and antiparasitic activity.

Combinations: It may be combined with Berberis and Taraxacum in mild constipation and with Rhamnus if necessary. Combines with Rumex and Arctium root in cutaneous disorders and with Ranunculus in haemorrhoids.

Preparation and Dosage: (thrice daily)

Regulatory status GSL

Dried bark: 2-6g or by decoction

Liquid Extract: 1:1 in 25% alcohol, 2-6ml

Additional Comments: The bark has been used for dyeing.



BHMA 1983 British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, BHMA, Bournemouth.

Grieve, M. 1931 A Modern Herbal, (ed. C.F. Leyel 1985), London.

Lust, J. 1990 The Herb Book, Bantam, London.

Mills, S.Y. 1993 The A-Z of Modern Herbalism, Diamond Books, London.

Ody, P. 1993 The Herb Society's Complete Medicinal Herbal, Dorling Kindersley, London.

Wren, R.C. 1988 Potter's New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations, C.W.Daniel, Saffron Walden.


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Christine Haughton, MA MNIMH MCPP FRSPH

Wold Farm, West Heslerton, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 8RY, UK

Last updated 27th November 2014     ęPurple Sage Botanicals