Survival and Other Uses for Black Walnuts

Survival Uses Black Walnuts

Black Walnut Botanical Name Juglans nigra

Bark, leaves, and husks of Black Walnut trees are typically processed for medicinal purposes.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not evaluated the medicinal benefits of Black Walnut husk, leaves, or bark.

The following is informational only, and is not medical advice, nor is this article stating that any of the medicinal proponents of Black Walnut are actually true or effective.

Medicines made from the husk, leaves and bark are used to treat specific conditions and is not intended to be used as a daily maintenance medication or treatment.

The chemical juglone in black walnut has carcinogenic effects and in sufficient amounts is toxic to humans and animals. Do careful research before consuming any medicines not prescribed by a physician.

One of the most common uses of Black Walnut husks, bark, and leaves is to kill parasites in humans and animals, mainly dogs. It is considered a highly effective remedy.

A tea made from the husks or leaves is a mild laxative and is used to “purge” the system, and as part of the purge the destroyed parasites within the body are expelled. The Black Walnut contains tannins and juglone, which in combination kill pinworms, ringworm, tapeworms, and other intestinal parasites.

The extract from the husk leaves or bark is used to treat fungus of the skin, warts, and other skin conditions.

Tannins according to some experts also oxygenate the blood, reduce swelling, and dry up mucus membranes, which can also reduce inflammation within the body. Black Walnuts have been used to treat diphtheria, syphilis, leukemia and for the treatment of skin wounds.

Ripened Black Walnut husks contain iodine and some claim the plant based iodine is in such high concentrates that a tincture made from the husks can be used as an anti-bacterial and ant-fungicide. Some also claim that the tincture can be applied to the skin to protect against radiation poisoning. Apparently the iodine is absorbed through the skin.

Use the tincture as you would any iodine purchased in any pharmacy that is to be used as an antiseptic treatment (NaturalNews, n.d.).

The ripened hull of the Black Walnut has been used to make dye for centuries and it was a very common hair coloring. It can also be used in a wilderness environment to make camouflage clothing and to reduce skin shine. It can in some cases, be used to subdue reflective material and objects. The extract from black/ripened husks will stain skin and clothing and many other objects that you may not want stained.

Juglone is toxic to many insects and is sometimes used in organic gardening to control plant eating pests.

Because the chemical in Black Walnut husks is anti-parasitic, for lack of a better term, the husks can be used to bring worms to the surface for gathering. Earth worms, possibly grubs and other insects will attempt to escape soil drenched with the chemical, and the only escape is to come to the surface.

Soak the broken hulls in water overnight and then pour the water over an area you suspect contains worms and other insects that can be used as fishing bait. Once the tannins and juglone saturate the area the insects and worms will come to the surface.

Did we mention that Black Walnuts are a food source? Loaded with nutrients they are wonderful to eat, and relatively easy to harvest. You would need a blunt object to crack the shell without smashing the meat inside however. Nutritional values of Black Walnuts include.

  • Omega-3 fats at 113 percent
  • Copper at 53 percent
  • manganese at 51 percent
  • Molybdenum at 20 percent
  • Biotin at 19 percent

Even if you do not like the taste of walnuts, if you find some ready to harvest, you should carry as many as possible for eating, or shelter in place near the tree. Not only will you benefit from the nuts as a food source, but also birds and squirrels that that you can hunt, trap or snare will be seeking the nuts out as well.


Certain plants such as tomato, potato, blackberry, blueberry, azalea, rhododendron, red pine, and apple may be injured or killed within one to two months of growth within the root zone of a Black Walnut tree. The roots of course contain juglone (5-hydroxy-alphanapthaquinone). The danger zone for these plants can extend up to 80 feet from the root base if the walnut tree is mature.

Horses can be affected by Black Walnuts (the chemical is toxic to horses) so they cannot be treated with the nuts nor can the saw dust or chips be used for bedding ( Funt, Martin n.d.).

Myth or Fact

The following fishing technique or rumors of such, have persisted for decades, but has not been personally confirmed at the time of this article. Keep in mind this method is likely to be illegal in any jurisdiction in the country. If the technique works it could be used as a long-term survival method, however only in extreme cases.

You will need several large sacks of green walnuts, use burlap, feed, or some other cloth sack that is porous. The fact you need so many nuts and a specific sack may in and of itself make the technique a non-starter. With that being said however, the method is as follows.

Fill the sacks and then crush the green walnuts in the sack. The “smashing” of the nuts will extract the oils from the hulls and saturate the material. Once you have literally beaten the sack, drag it with the Black Walnuts still in it through a body of water that is known to have fish in it.

The chemicals in the nuts supposedly will paralyze or even poison the fish in the river or pond, and thus, they will float to the top for harvesting. Will it kill/paralyze all the fish, and how far and for how long downstream will the chemical have an effect is questionable.

This would be a drastic measure and in most cases, would not be applicable in a survival situation.

If you plan to survive and thrive in an area, then some adaptation of this method, if it works, could be used to sustain yourself long term. There are jungle tribes in the Amazon and other areas of the world that routinely use the bark, leaves, and roots of certain trees/plants that produce the same effect. The material is pulverized and then introduced into the water to kill the fish. Apparently the poisons do not remain in the fish, or they do not affect the humans eating the flesh, again no one is sure.

It does not seem that introducing a toxin to fast moving water would be very effective, so the water would have to be dammed up/controlled to contain the toxins, and so you could harvest the fish before they floated downstream.

Obviously any chemical toxic to fish would have the same effect as the tannins and juglone that is in the walnuts. How much is needed is not clear, but it would seem that the size of the body of water would be directly related to how much toxin would be needed. If the juglone and tannins were concentrated then it may very well work depending on the size of the body of water.


Baseline of Health Foundation. (2015). Retrieved 2015, from

NaturalNews. (n.d.). Retrieved 2015, from

Richard Funt, Jane Martin. (n.d.). Retrieved 2015, from

WebMD. (n.d.). Retrieved 2015 , from