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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics

White Walnut

(Juglans Cinerea)

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  • Butternut Herbal Description
  • Butternut Uses, Health Benefits & Scientific Evidence
  • Butternut Dosage Information
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  • butternut tree


    Butternut (Juglans cinerea) is also known as White Walnut, Butternussbaum, Lemon Walnut, Oil Nut, Nogal Ceniciento, Noyer Cerdr, and Grqy Walnut.

    The butternut is a walnut with leaves like the black walnut but a grayish, deeply furrowed bark. It is native to the Midwest and Northeastern regions of the United States. The distribution range ooof Butternut extends east to New Brunswick, and from southern Quebec west to Minnesota, south to northern Alabama and southwest to northern Arkansas. It is absent from most of the Southern United States.

    butternut tree leaves

    Butternut is a deciduous tree growing to a height of about 66 feet tall, rarely 130 feet. Butternut grows quickly, but is rather short-lived for a tree, rarely living longer than 75 years. It has a 40 to 80 cm stem diameter with light gray bark. The leaves are pinnate, 40 to 70 cm long with 11 to 17 leaflets. Each leaflet is 5 to 10 cm long and about 3 to 5 cm broad. The whole leaf is downy-pubescent, and a somewhat brighter yellower green than many other tree leaves.

    butternut female flowers butternut male flowers (catkins)

    Butternut flowers from April to June, depending upon location. The species is monoecious. Male flowers are slender catkins that develop from auxiliary buds and female flowers are short terminal spikes home on current year's shoots. Flowers of both sexes do not usually mature simultaneously on any individual tree. The male flowers are inconspicuous yellow-green catkins produced in spring at the same time as the new leaves appear, and the female flowers have light pink stigma.

    butternut fruits

    The fruit is a nut, produced in bunches of 2 to 6 together; the nut is oblong-ovoid, 3 to 6 cm long and 2 to 4 cm broad, surrounded by a green husk before maturity in mid autumn. While walnuts are round, butternuts are elongated, like pecans. The have been used by the Native Americans for centuries, who boiled them to extract the oil, which was used like a butter. The early settlers pickled the kernels.

    butternut nut

    Butternut grows best on stream banks and on well-drained soils. It is seldom found on dry, compact, or infertile soils. It grows better than black walnut, however, on dry, rocky soils, especially those of limestone origin. Butternut is found most frequently in coves, on stream benches and terraces, on slopes, in the talus of rock ledges, and on other sites with good drainage. It is found up to an elevation of 4,900 feet in the Virginias. Much higher altitudes than black walnut.

    butternut nut-meats



    Commercial seed-bearing age begins at about 20 years and is optimum from age 30 to 60 years. Good crops can be expected every 2 to 3 years, with light crops during intervening years. The white walnut is more valued for its nuts than its lumber. The nuts are eaten by humans and animals.The nuts are usually used in baking and making candies, having an oily texture and pleasant flavor

    (Juglans cinerea)

    Nutrition Value Per 100 Grams

    (Source: USDA National Nutrient Data Base)
    Nutrient Value
    Percentage of RDA
         Energy      2,561 kJ (612 kcal)      -
         Carbohydrates      12.05 g      -
         Protein      24.90 g      -
         Total Fat      56.98 g      
         Dietary Fiber      4.7 g      -
    Nutrient Value
    Percentage of RDA
         Folate      66 µg      17%
         Niacin      1.045 mg      7%
         Pantothenic Acid      0.633 mg      13%
         Pyridoxine (B-6)      0.560 mg      43%
         Riboflavin      0.148 mg      12%
         Thiamin      0.383 mg      33%
         Vitamin B-12      0 mcg      0%
         Vitamin A      124 IU      -
         Vitamin C      3.2 mg      4%
    Nutrient Value
    Percentage of RDA
         Sodium      1 mg      0%
         Potassium      421 mg      9%
    Nutrient Value
    Percentage of RDA
         Calcium      53 mg      5%
         Iron      4.02 mg      31%
         Magnesium      237 mg      67%
         Manganese      6.56 mg      312%
         Phosphorus      446 mg      64%
         Zinc      3.13 mg      33%
    Nutrient Value
    Percentage of RDA
         Vitamin A Equiv      6 µg      1%
    Percentages are roughly approximate using US recommendations for adults.


    Butternut bark has mild cathartic properties and was once used medicinally in place of jalap, a more expensive cathartic which was imported from Mexico. During the American Revolution, a butternut extract made from the inner bark of the tree was used in an attempt to prevent smallpox, and to treat dysentery and other stomach and intestinal discomfort. Chronic constipation, dysentery, chronic diarrhea, worms, malaria, sluggish liver, fevers, colds, flu.

    Therapeutic Action: Mild and stimulating hepatic, mild cathartic, tonic anthelmintic (vermifuge), astringent, cholagogue, alterative. Butternut bark is a valuable laxative remedy for the aged, middle-aged and weakly children where no drastic action is tolerated (its cathartic action resembles Turkey rhubarb), as it gently purges and does not bind after operation. It is an effectual tonic agent to the entire intestinal tract and is especially beneficial to the lower bowels.


    Butternut wood is light in weight and takes polish well, is highly rot resistant, but is much softer than black walnut wood. Oiled, the grain of the wood usually shows much light. It is often used to make furniture, and is a favorite of woodcarvers.


    Butternut bark and nut rinds were once often used to dye cloth to colors between light yellow and dark brown. To produce the darker colors, the bark is boiled to concentrate the color. This appears to never have been used as a commercial dye, but rather was used to color homespun cloth.

    In the mid-19th century, inhabitants of areas such as southern Illinois and southern Indiana, many of whom had moved there from the Southern United States, were known as "butternuts" from the butternut-dyed homespun cloth that some of them wore. Later, during the American Civil War, the term "butternut" was sometimes applied to Confederate soldiers. Some Confederate uniforms apparently faded from gray to a tan or light brown. It is also possible that butternut was used to color the cloth worn by a small number of Confederate soldiers. The resemblance of these uniforms to butternut-dyed clothing, and the association of butternut dye with home-made clothing, resulted in this derisive nickname.


    Butternut has a faintly aromatic, astringent, bitter, harsh taste and smell. Its tendencies are cooling and drying. It is used as an alternative, analgesic, styptic, hepatic, vermifuge, laxative ad cathartic. Butternut stimulates and decongests the liver annd intestines. It is indicated for chronic constipation, intestinal toxemia, portal congestion and hemorrhoids. As a vermifuge, it is used for pin and thread worms. Butternut is a close relative of the Black Walnut and the two are often combined in herbal preparations. Herbalists use the inner bark as a gentle laxative. Butternut does not cause the cramping that stronger laxatives such as Cascara Sagrada.

    Constituents: Juglandic acid, juglone, tannins.
    Parts Used: Inner bark, root bark leaves, hulls, dried and chopped.
    Typical Preparations: Tea, capsule, or extract. Decoction, fluid extract, powder, solid extract, syrup, tincture. Only alcohol will extract the astringent properties of the chopped bark when made into a tincture.


    Decoction: 1 tablespoonful 3 to 4 times daily. 1/2 to 1 teaspoon root bark or hulls, or 1 teaspoon leaves per cup water.
    Fluid Extract: 1 to 2 fluid teaspoons. 1:5 dry liquid extract: 1 to 10 drops 1 to 3 times per day in a little water.
    Powder: 4 grams.
    Solid Extract: 325 to 650 milligrams.
    Syrup: 1 tablespoonful 1 to 2 times daily.
    Tincture: 10 to 20 drops.
    Administration: Oral

    Chronic constipation: Use the aqueous extract which is free of astringency.
    Diarrhea, dysentery: The astringent alcoholic extract containing properties is best for these problems; use 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls.
    Laxative tonic: Read formula instructions on product packages.
    Hemorrhoids: Give daily doses as called for by the case.


    Perennial; grown in the United States and Canada as an indigenous forest tree (especially the mountains of Georgia).
    Collection: When the inner bark is uncovered, it is pure white; but upon exposure to air and light, it turns yellow and finally a deep brown.


    2 ounces Butternut Bark Powder (Juglans cinerea)
    1 pint 100-Proof Vodka (50% Alcohol, 50% Water)
    2 fluid ounces Vegetable Glycerin (Optional)

    Preparation: Macerate for 10 days in combined liquids, filter and bottle in dark bottles.
    Dosage: 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls.


    1 pound Butternut Inner Bark, Crushed (Juglans cinerea)
    1/3 teaspoon Ginger Liquid Extract (Zingiber officinale)
    2 fluid ounces Wine, Brandy or Vodka
    1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar

    Preparation: Boil the herb gently for 20 minutes in 2 quarts of water; strain off the liquor and set aside; add 1 quart of water to the herbs and boil another 20 minutes; strain off the liquor and set aside (add to the first batch); add 1 pint of water to the herbs and boil vigorously for 10 minutes; strain, pour all the liquids into the cleansed vessel and reduce by slow boiling and evaporation to 12 fluid ounces (3/4 quart); add the sugar, bring to a simmer and remove scum; strain and allow to cool; when cool, stir in the ginger extract and wine, brandy or vodka.

    Dosage: 1 tablespoonful 1 to 2 times daily.


    1/2 fluid ounce Butternut Bark Liquid Extract (Juglans cinerea)
    1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
    10 fluid ounces Water, Boiling Hot

    Preparation: Mix the ingredients thoroughly dissolving sugar in solution and bottle; keep in a cool place.
    Dosage: 1 tablespoonful 2 times daily.


    1 part Butternut Bark Powder (Juglans cinerea)
    1 part Oregon Grape Root, Powder (Berberis aquifolium)
    1 part Licorice Root, Powder (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
    1 part Senna Leaves (Cassia acutifolia; C. angustifolia)

    Preparation: Steep 1 to 2 heaping teaspoonfuls of the mixture for each cupful of boiling hot water; strain.
    Dosage: 1 teacupful at bedtime or as desired.


    6 fluid ounces Butternut Bark Syrup (Juglans cinerea)
    1 fluid ounce Wahoo Liquid Extract (Euonymus atropurpureus)
    1/2 fluid ounce Cascara Sagrada Liquid Extract (Rhamnus purshiana)
    2 teaspoons Licorice Liquid Extract (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
    1 teaspoon Ginger Liquid Extract (Zingiber officinale)

    Preparation: Mix the ingredients thoroughly and bottle.
    Dosage: 1 teaspoonful morning and night.


    Contraindications: Topically it may cause contact dermatitis. Symptoms of an overdose are nausea and vomiting. It is contraindicated in pregnancy.

    Do not use if you have gallstones.


  • Butternut Herbal Products
  • Cascara Sagrada Herbal Products
  • Ginger Herbal Products
  • Glycerin (Vegetable) Herbal Products

  • Licorice Herbal Products
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  • Senna Herbal Products
  • Wahoo Herbal Products




    Mountain Rose Herbs: Butternut Bark (Juglans Cinerea), Wild Harvested, Bulk Organic Herbs & Spices


    HerbsPro: Butternut Extract, Eclectic Institute, 1 fl. oz.


    Kalyx: Butternut Bark Powder (Juglans Cinerea), Kalyx, 1 kg (2.2 lbs.): RF
    Kalyx: Butternut Bark Powder, Kalyx, 1 kg (2.2 lbs): EB
    Kalyx: Butternut (Juglans cinerea) Bark Powder Extract 4:1, Kalyx, 1 kg (2.2 lbs): RF
    Kalyx: Butternut Bark 4:1 Powdered Extract, Kalyx, 1 kg (2.2 lbs): EB


    Amazon: Butternut Bark Herbal Products

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