Is Black Walnut Hull Safe? Can It Be Used for Psoriasis? | MyPsoriasisTeam

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Is Black Walnut Hull Safe? Can It Be Used for Psoriasis?

Medically reviewed by Steven Devos, M.D., Ph.D.
Posted on May 31, 2023

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide — around 2 percent to 3 percent of the global population. While there’s no known cure for psoriasis, there are various medical treatments and supplemental therapies available to help manage its symptoms. One natural remedy that has gained popularity in recent years is black walnut hull.

Though research is limited as to black walnut hull’s effectiveness in helping with psoriasis symptoms, some studies suggest that it may have some potential. In this article, we explore whether black walnut hull is safe and effective for managing psoriasis symptoms.

What Are Black Walnuts?

There are two major types of walnuts produced in the United States. English walnuts are the most common, and they’re likely what you think of when you hear the word “walnut.” The second most common type is black walnuts (Juglans nigra), which grow on the black walnut tree in the Midwest and Northeast. Black walnuts have a harder shell and a smaller kernel. Researchers have recently studied them for their dense nutritional profile.

Compared to English walnuts, black walnuts have higher protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc content. They’re also lower in carbohydrates and saturated fat. However, much of the health benefit comes from the skin that covers the kernel, also known as the hull.

Black Walnut Hull

Black walnut hull is the outermost layer of the nut that surrounds the edible kernel inside. This part of the black walnut plant is commonly used as an herbal supplement and in natural remedies for its various health benefits.

Black walnut hull contains several active and bioavailable compounds, including phenolic acids, tannins, and flavonoids. These compounds contain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, which could make black walnut hull potentially useful for a range of health issues. Some of the touted benefits of black walnut hull include improving digestion and boosting the immune system.

How Does Black Walnut Hull Affect the Skin?

Traditionally, black walnut hull is extracted by an herbalist from the outermost part of the hull that is tarry and sticky. The tar from black walnut hull has been used similarly to coal tar in traditional medicine to help address various skin conditions including:

  • Ulcers
  • Itchy scalp
  • Dandruff
  • Parasitic infections
  • Sunburn
  • Fungal infections
  • Perspiration
  • Eczema
  • Itching
  • Warts
  • Parasites
  • Psoriasis

In addition to being used as a topical agent (one applied to your skin), black walnut hull can be ingested as a dietary supplement. Some people choose to eat the nuts or take black walnut hull supplements in pill form to improve their overall health. Keep in mind that there is limited research on the effects of ingesting black walnut hull on psoriasis.

Although research is limited as to black walnut hull’s effectiveness for treating psoriasis, some studies suggest that it may have some potential. One study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology found that extract from the black walnut inhibits inflammatory cells and could show potential in combating inflammatory diseases. However, the study was limited in scope and more research is needed to determine the safety and effectiveness of black walnut hull for psoriasis.

Limitations of Black Walnut Hull

It’s important to note that while black walnut hull may have potential benefits for psoriasis, it’s not a replacement for conventional medical treatment. Psoriasis is a complex condition that requires a comprehensive approach to management, including lifestyle changes, medication, and topical treatments.

If you’re considering using black walnut hull as a natural remedy for psoriasis, it’s essential to talk to your dermatologist first.

Risks of Black Walnut Hull

There are some potential risks and side effects associated with using black walnut hull. Some people may have an allergy to walnuts, which can cause a range of symptoms, including hives, itching, and swelling. If you’re allergic to tree nuts, it is essential to avoid black walnuts and products that contain them.

Black walnut hull has not been documented to interact with any medications, although it does interfere with iron absorption. If you have anemia, talk to your doctor before taking this supplement.

Black walnut hull products are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so it’s impossible to know the potential short and long-term safety benefits of ingesting them or applying them topically.

Incorporating Black Walnuts Into Your Diet

If you are interested in incorporating black walnuts into your diet, there are various ways to do so. You can eat them raw or roasted, use them in baking, or add them to salads and other dishes. Some MyPsoriasisTeam members include walnuts as part of an anti-inflammatory diet.

One member shared, “So I’ve started an anti-inflammatory diet in earnest with the following: leafy vegetables, celery, beets, salmon and other fatty fish, walnuts, and olive oil.”

Make sure to consume black walnuts, and all other nut products, in moderation, as they are high in fat and calories.

Other Natural Supplements and Psoriasis

In addition to black walnut hull, countless other natural remedies and products are popular amongst people living with psoriasis. Some of these include aloe vera, turmeric, collagen, oregon grape root, vitamin D3, and omega-3 fatty acids. Again, it is important to talk to your dermatologist before trying any new supplements, over-the-counter remedies, or skin care products.

Talk to Your Doctor

Black walnut hull is an herbal supplement that has been used for centuries for its various health benefits, including potential skin benefits. However, at the moment, research is still too limited to show its effectiveness at alleviating psoriasis symptoms.

If you are going to try a topical product that includes black walnut hull, be sure to run it by your dermatologist first to make sure it contains no ingredients that may cause your psoriasis to worsen. As always, don’t alter your current treatment plan without speaking with your health care team.

Talk With Others Who Understand

MyPsoriasisTeam is the social network for people with psoriatic disease and their loved ones. More than 117,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their experiences with others who understand life with psoriasis.

Have you tried black walnut hull extract? How have natural supplements been part of your psoriasis treatment? Share your experience in the comments below or join the conversation on your Activities page.

Posted on May 31, 2023
All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

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Steven Devos, M.D., Ph.D. received his medical degree and completed residency training in dermatology at the University of Ghent, Belgium. Learn more about him here
Scarlett Bergam, M.P.H. is a medical student at George Washington University and a former Fulbright research scholar in Durban, South Africa. Learn more about her here

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