Black walnut tincture is a popular way to explore the effects of this medicinal and culinary nut. If you’re unfamiliar with the black walnut, you may only have to look into your backyard to make its acquaintance. This large tree grows on the entire eastern half of North America, and its large green fruits which cover the ground by the hundred in autumn. Those who don’t recognize black walnuts in this form may leave them to rot, but others will recognize this harvest as an opportunity to gain important food sources of some important nutrients and compounds. Some of these can be best harvested by making a black walnut tincture.
What is a Tincture?
People make tinctures by placing herbs and other nutritious foods into a solvent like ethanal. Ethanol is alcohol in its purest form, and all kinds of chemicals and substances can dissolve into it. Sometimes ethanal (vodka, Everclear) will be mixed with water so that the chemicals that are water-soluble only can also be absorbed into the tincture. In some cases, ethanol is too strong for the chemicals that dissolve into it, rendering the final tincture useless. But in other cases, pure alcohol is the perfect medium for suspending and preserving important chemical isolates for medical use.
There are many kinds of tinctures, but all of them seek to isolate a certain property from the plant they are based upon which, in the case of black walnuts and some other plants, could not be ingested any other way. A tincture is usually ready after the plant matter has been sitting in the alcohol mixture for a couple of weeks, at which point a few drops can be mixed with water for drinking. Some tinctures, black walnut tincture included, can also be absorbed through the skin.
What is Black Walnut Tincture Used For?
It may surprise you that black walnut tincture isn’t made from the delicious nuts that come out of the tree’s fruit, but their hard shells. Walnut shells are very high in natural iodine. In fact, the content is so high that immature green shells give off an iodine odor you might recognize from hospitals or veterinary clinics. This is the ideal time to harvest black walnut shells, before they dry and harden.
Iodine is necessary for many body processes, especially thyroid health. Iodine is added to American commodity salt to make sure that most people get enough of it. But if you don’t eat processed foods, or if you use only natural sea salt, you may need to supplement your diet with iodine. Black walnut tinctures may also be a good source of the numerous vitamins which also exist in black walnut shells, but the extent to which these remain active in alcohol solution is unstudied.
If you buy a black walnut tincture or make your own, there are two ways to take it. The easiest way to take it is by adding tincture drops to water. To get the benefit of the iodine specifically, the tincture can be applied directly to the skin. Most of the iodine will evaporate this way, but about 12% will be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream where it can go to the thyroid and other key areas in the body.
Black walnuts are incredibly useful, even if you don’t use the nut meats. In tincture form, some of black walnuts’ most important properties can be isolated and preserved. It’s remarkably easy to make black walnut tinctures at home, but if you don’t want to DIY this task, or if black walnut trees don’t grow in your area, this stable tincture is commonly available online.