2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Walnut Leaf

What Is It?

Recently, the delicious and easy-to-crack nuts from the walnut tree (Juglans regia) have received a lot of attention because of their rich stores of omega-3 fatty acids and other healing nutrients. But for centuries herbalists have recognized the healing properties of another part of the walnut tree–its pointy green leaves.

High concentrations (up to 10%) of astringent compounds called tannins account for most of the healing qualities in walnut leaf preparations. Tannins tighten and constrict tissues, making them valuable for protecting areas of skin and controlling inflammation and itching.

Topical formulations of walnut leaf are popular treatments for mild and superficial eczema and for excessive sweating of the hands and feet. In France in particular, the leaf is often applied to sunburns and to scalp that is peeling and itching from dandruff. The herb is useful for a host of other mild skin disorders as well.

According to researchers, walnut leaves even have bacteria-killing, anti-parasitic, and insect-repelling properties. This largely confirms long-held folk beliefs about the healing qualities of the leaf. An intriguing survey of older farmers and shepherds in central Italy, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 1999, found that walnut leaf was one of the local plants most frequently used for repelling insects and treating parasitic infections on the skin.

Origins. The walnut tree Juglans regia is also known as the English, Persian, or Carpathian walnut tree; it is just one species in the vast walnut family called Juglandaceae. About one-fifth of all Juglandaceae species are Juglans, including black walnuts (J. nigra), butternuts (J. cineria), and heartnuts (J. ailantifolia); all these are believed to have tannins and other healing compounds in their leaves.

Although the J. regia tree had its origins in eastern Europe, it is now cultivated throughout North America, Europe, North Africa, and other temperate regions of the globe. Most of the walnuts produced for consumption are cultivated in California.

Preparation. Typically, the walnut leaves (not the nuts themselves) are dried and chopped before boiling them to make a very strong tea (decoction). Once cooled, the tea is used in compresses, rinses, and other formulations that can be applied to the skin. It can also be added to bath water.

To make a decoction (boiled tea), use 1.5 ounces of dried, cut-up leaf per 1 cup (8 ounces) of water; bring the mixture to a boil in a small pot and simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool before using it in compresses and other topical formulations, or in soaks.

General Interaction

There are no known drug or nutrient interactions associated with walnut leaf.

Cautions

Walnut leaf has been safely used through the centuries as a home remedy for skin conditions. Given its astringency, however, be sure to apply walnut leaf preparations so that the affected area still gets enough air circulation. For the same reason, avoid covering large parts of the body simultaneously with walnut leaf compresses.


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Upcoming Workshops


**Winter Solstice Celebration: An evening of Acupuncture and Shamanic Healing
Tuesday, December 17, 5:45–7:30pm
Hosted by Katie Oberlin, HTCP and Mari Stecker, LAc

Course Fee: $75.00

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to enter the stillpoint of the Winter Solstice, reflect on the lessons of 2019, and set intentions for the new year. This will be an evening of individual and group healing, ceremony, and celebration. More →

Recent Health Tips

  • Infertility Issues? Start With The Guy

    I’ve lost track of the number of couples we treat at WholeHealth Chicago who are involved in one of the hormone injection/surgical procedure stops on the conveyor belt of infertility centers. Currently, it’s estimated that 15 to 20 percent of couples are struggling with infertility, half of them due to male factors. The infertility docs are nice enough and certainly well-meaning, but I note a Read More

  • Issues with Endocrinologists: Thyroid Approaches and Big Pharma

    My beefs with endocrinologists pretty much center on how they manage thyroid gland concerns, though they rarely win prizes for managing adrenal issues either. I don’t know any endocrinologists personally and rarely refer my patients to them. Occasionally, a patient with newly diagnosed hypothyroidism (low thyroid) will want to confirm the diagnosis with an endocrinologist. I suggest she prepare for a scolding if she’s taking Read More

  • Six Beefs With Rheumatologists

    If you find yourself in the waiting room of a rheumatologist, you’re likely there because your joints hurt and have been hurting, often for years. You’ve been getting by on aspirin or Advil for the pain, but with things worsening your primary care doctor suggests you should see a joint specialist, a rheumatologist. And because there’s a shortage of physicians in this specialty, your appointment Read More

Join our Discount Program!

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).

MORE INFORMATION