Friday, May 30, 2014

Black Walnut

 

You probably know black walnut as a nut that tastes great and reminds you of things like Grandma and the "good ol' days." Or perhaps black walnut reminds you of classic furniture with a beautiful dark coloring that brings you a feeling of strength and solidarity.

There is more to know about this simple food, though. For example, it applied topically it can help heal and tone inflamed or damaged tissues.* Internally, it is useful for caring for anemia and chronic diarrhea, even hemorrhoids. Probably one of the better known uses for black walnut is as an anti-parasitic. This means it is good to fight/expel a variety of intestinal parasites, worms and yeast.* Externally, it has even been used on ringworm.

Black walnut is a good source of iodine, and as such, it is beneficial to underactive thyroid conditions.* It contains an essential fatty acid (linolenic acid) necessary for healthy cell function, the production of prostaglandins, menstrual dysfunction and skin problems like eczema and psoriasis. In powder form, it has been used as a tooth powder to clean teeth and tighten gums.

My favorite use for black walnut is for poison ivy rash. I have 3 sons, 1 daughter, a son-in-law and a husband. Every year, I see them traipse through patches of poison ivy and right away, I go get the bottle of liquid black walnut. First, I rub a little of the dark liquid directly onto the rash (provided it isn't near the eyes) and let it air dry. Next, I give them a little dose by mouth to help flush it from the bloodstream and slow down or prevent the spread of it from the inside. By doing this, we rapidly ease that miserable itching, dry out the oozing oils and stop it from spreading. We can't seem to keep ourselves out of contact with the plant, but when we do run into it, we have a protocol we follow to make things easier to deal with.

Remember the old saying, "leaves of three, let them be." If you see this plant, do all you can NOT to touch it. The oils are pretty potent and a simple touch can be enough to cause a rash.


 
If you stumble into it before recognizing it, it isn't the end of the world normally, but the quicker you can respond to it, the easier things can be. Wash the skin immediately with soapy water to flush away the urushiol from the skin. Wash your clothes and even your shoes right away too, because the oils are viable for a LONG time and even days later, the oil can affect you upon contact.

Should you develop an itchy red rash similar to this picture, don't hesitate to get some black walnut extract and start rubbing it on.

 
The sooner you tackle the irritation, the sooner it stops being so irritating. Of course, this isn't the ONLY way to deal with poison ivy rash, but it is definitely my personal favorite and I have such fast results that it's the only thing I normally do for myself and my family.

*=source: Hart by Herb Allure, Inc.



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