Walnut – Juglans regia Uses, Research, Remedies

Walnut – Juglans regia is an Ayurvedic fruit used for the treatment of skin diseases, wounds, herpes, abscess and improving the physical strength. Akrot is the common name of walnut in many Indian languages. 

Latin name- Juglans regia Linn.
Family- Juglandaceae

Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Akrot, Akroot, akhrot
English name- Walnut
Kannada name- Akrotu
Tamil name- Akrottu
Many of the Indian languages use Akrotu as the name for Akshotaka.

Sanskrt Synonyms of Akhrot: 
Vrintaphala- The fruit is round in shape
Swadu Majja, Gudashraya – the fruit is hidden inside a shell and resembles jaggery in shape and colour. Sweet in taste
Shailasambhava, Pilu, Karparala, Akshoda, Keereshta, Pruthucchada,

Morphology of Juglans regia:
The plant is a native of Iran and now is cultivated in the Himalayan belt of Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and North Eastern states of India. They are deciduous trees, 40–130 feet tall with pinnate leaves and with 5–25 leaflets. The actual leaf is attached to twigs in a mostly alternate arrangement and the leaf structure is odd pinnately compound. The leaflets are serrate or toothed. The tree has separate male and female (imperfect) flowers. A walnut is the seed of a drupe or drupaceous nut, and thus not a true botanical nut. Following full ripening, the removal of the husk reveals the wrinkly walnut shell, which is usually commercially found in two segments. During the ripening process, the husk will become brittle and the shell hard.

Medicinal properties of walnut: 
Rasa (Taste) – Madhura (Sweet)
Guna (Qualities) – Guru (Heavy), Snigdha (Slimy)
Vipaka – Madhura (Undergoes sweet taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) –Vata shamaka (reduces vitiated vata dosha)

Part used- Fruit, Leaf, Bark
Dosage-
Powder- 2 to 3 g
Decoction- 40 to 50 ml
Fruit- 10-20 g

Chemical composition of Juglans regia:
Leaves have volatile oil which contains terpenoid substances and eugenol. The oil also contains geranic acid, alpha and beta pinene, limonene, beta eudesmol and juglone. The root bark of the plant contains bis juglone and oligomeric juglones. The kernels of the fruit contain about 15.5% protein, 11% carbohydrates, 2 % mineral matter, vitamin A and B and ascorbic acid.

Uses of Akshotaka:

  • Roasted walnut is consumed regularly to improve the physical strength of the body and can be used in patients suffering from general debility, weakness of the muscles.
  • The powder of the bark of the walnut tree is mixed with ghee or butter and applied over area affected with herpes and burning sensation.
  • Decoction of the leaf is given in a dose of 30-40 ml to treat skin diseases like scabies, ringworm etc.
  • Akshotaka bark decoction is given in a dose of 30-40 ml to treat intestinal worms.
  • To treat wounds, the paste of the bark of walnut tree is applied over the fresh wound.
  • Decoction prepared from the bark of the walnut tree is used for gargling to treat gingivitis and dental caries.
  • Walnut is used in many cuisines all over the world and acts as flavoring and nutritional source in the dish.

Traditional uses of walnut:
Pushtikaraka – nutrition rich
Balya – improves strength and immunity
Snigdha – unctuous, oily
Ushna
Guru – heavy to digest
Brumhana – nourishing, nutritious
Similar to almond in qualities
Indicated in – Raktadosha – blood impurity and vitiation disorders such as acne, skin diseases, bleeding disorders etc

Adverse effect: Poorly stored walnuts having fungal molds in them can cause carcinogenic effect.  Walnut hulls contain polyphenols that stain hands and can cause skin irritation.

Ayurvedic medicines with walnut:
Balamritam: It is a herbal preparation. It is widely used as a general tonic for children. It promotes growth, immunity and appetite in children.

Amritaprasha Ghrita: It is used as medicine and also in preparatory procedure called snehakarma for the treatment of burning sensation, fever, bleeding disorders, cough, asthma, weakness and gynecological diseases.

Research articles related to Juglans regia:
Anti-proliferative and anti- oxidant activity: Various fractions of walnut extract have been screened for anti-proliferative activity against human cancer cell lines using the MTT assay. All these fractions have also been evaluated for total phenolic content, antioxidant activity, and reducing power capacity. Chloroform and ethyl acetate fractions exhibited a high level of anti-proliferation against HepG-2, liver cancer cell line (IC50 = 9 and 15 µg/mL, respectively).

Anti- bacterial activity: Different cultivars of walnut (Juglans regia L.) leaves (Cv. Lara, Franquette, Mayette, Marbot, Mellanaise and Parisienne) grown in Portugal, were investigated in what concerns phenolic compounds and antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Phenolics analysis was performed by reversed-phase HPLC/DAD and 10 compounds were identified and quantified: 3- and 5-caffeoylquinic acids, 3- and 4-p-coumaroylquinic acids, p-coumaric acid, quercetin 3-galactoside, quercetin 3-pentoside derivative, quercetin 3-arabinoside, quercetin 3-xyloside and quercetin 3-rhamnoside. The antimicrobial capacity was screened against Gram positive (Bacillus cereusB. subtilisStaphylococcus aureus) and Gram negative bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosaEscherichia coliKlebsiella pneumoniae) and fungi (Candida albicansCryptococcus neoformans). Walnut leaves selectively inhibited the growth of Gram positive bacteria, being B. cereus the most susceptible one (MIC 0.1 mg/mL). Gram negative bacteria and fungi were resistant to the extracts at 100 mg/mL.

Hypoglycemic effect: The aim of this study is to investigate the hypoglycemic effect of J. regia leaves aqueous extract in type 2 diabetes patients. Our analysis showed that serum fasting HbA1C and blood glucose levels were significantly decreased and the insulin level was increased in patients in the J. regia arm.

Anti- bacterial action against oral bacteria: Aqueous and ethanol extracts of Juglans regia bark were prepared by using disk diffusion technique and Minimal Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) methods. The results showed that S. sanguis and S. mutans were the most sensitive and the most resistant bacteria against ethanolic and aqueous extracts, respectively. Ethanolic extract had significant antibacterial effect against all tested bacteria.

Anti- plaque activity: Anti -microbial activity was seen in agar streak plate method. The study suggested that Kashmir variety of Juglans regia showed maximum antimicrobial activity. It was also observed that Chloroform extract showed highest anti-microbial activity.

Classical categorization:
Bhavaprakasha- Amradi varga
Dhnavantari Nighantu- Amradi varga
Raja Nighantu- Amradi varga

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales
Family: Juglandaceae
Genus: Juglans
Species: J. regia

Author: Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: drprashanthbk@gmail.com
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Comments

  1. chinmaya says:

    1)Should the overnight soaked water of walnut consumed or to be thrown away?
    2)Also should the thin cover of walnut soaked in water overnight be consumed or discarded?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      1. Thrown away.
      2. Discarded.

      • chinmaya says:

        1) Is this the case of throwing away overnight soaked water only for walnut or every dry fruit, ie, almond, raisins, cashew etc?
        2) Doesn’t the water contain essential oils & dissolved minerals of the dry fruits?
        3) So if the oil is nonessential, then is it harmful to consume the dry fruits containing oil (walnut, almond, cashew etc) without soaking overnight?

        • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

          Hi, the soaked water does not contain much essential oils and dissolved minerals. They do not cross from the nuts to the water medium that fast.

          It is not harmful to consume dry fruits with essential oil, without soaking.
          Soaking helps in relaxing the phyto-nutrients of the nuts for better absorption.

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