Juglans Cinerea. Butternut, White Walnut.

Botanical name: 

Description: Natural Order, Juglandaceae. This is the native butternut tree of America, growing in nearly all sections, forming a large and spreading head, with a stout trunk and nearly horizontal branches. It is so well known throughout our country that detailed description seems unnecessary.

Properties and Uses: The inner bark of the root (and also of the trunk) is medicinal, yielding its virtues to hot water and diluted alcohol. It is among the moderately slow but very reliable cathartics, relaxing and stimulating, influencing the gall-ducts and gall-cyst, and the muscular fibers and mucous membranes of the bowels. It secures the ejection of bile, and the dislodgment of all hepatic and alvine accumulations; but does not excite watery stools, and always leaves behind a desirable tonic (but not astringent) impression on the alvine canal. In sensitive persons, and those of the nervous temperament, it often causes sharp griping–an effect more common to the recent than the long-dried root. Bilious and bilious lymphatic temperaments rarely feel any griping; yet it is not a suitable agent for any form of intestinal sensitiveness or irritation, though alkaloids modify its griping. It often colors the faeces nearly black.

In all forms of jaundice, biliousness, and chronic costiveness, resulting from a deficient discharge of bile, it is a cathartic of the most reliable and strengthening character. In chronic and sub-acute diarrhea, it is of much service for its action on the hepatic function; and S. Black, M. D., of Elkton, Ky., tells me he cured many cases of camp diarrhea with it alone–first using a pretty large cathartic dose, and then a small tonic-hepatic (but not distinctly cathartic) dose twice a day. This form of diarrhea must not be confounded with dysentery–a malady to which juglans is not at all adapted. In bilious and sluggish patients, I have not only overcome obstinate costiveness of many years' standing, but have also effectually relieved dense (not irritable) hemorrhoids by the daily use of nothing but juglans extract. Although it apparently docs not facilitate the secretion of bile, yet it so effectually purges the hepatic tubes of all viscid accumulations, that it is of much service in tonic preparations for the intermediate treatment of quotidian and chronic agues. J. Weeks, M. D., of Mechanicsburg, Ind., says he has at times completely broken up agues by maintaining free hepatic action with only a strong preparation of juglans. It is not given in powder, but always in some one of its concentrated preparations; or added to tonics when these require some hepatic association. It is usually advisable to combine some aromatic with it.

By pressure between moderately heated iron plates, the kernels of the butternut yield a large percentage of a fixed oil. G. N. Davidson, M. D., of Huntsville, Ind., uses this in sub-acute and chronic ophthalmia, with great success; and others have confirmed his report of its value. It may also be employed on tetter, ringworm, and similar cutaneous difficulties. It slowly becomes rancid, and then is unfit to use; but possibly it may be preserved by admixture with its own bulk of glycerin. Prof. Rafinesque says the oil of black walnut, (juglans nigra,) is often effectual in expelling worms, and has even been known to cause the ejection of the tape-worm.

Pharmaceutical Preparations: I. Decoction. Digest two ounces of well-crushed bark of juglans in a quart of hot water for two hours; strain with strong pressure, and evaporate to half a pint, to which add half an ounce of tincture of ginger. A fluid ounce of this may be taken twice or three times a day, for gentle hepatic purposes; or two fluid ounces used for a cathartic dose.

II. Extract. This is prepared by evaporating the decoction to a solid consistence. It is obtained in considerable quantities from the bark, and represents the virtues of the drug quite fully. In doses of from eight to twelve grains, it acts as a reliable cathartic, not exhausting, but always toning to the bowels. If not combined with other cathartics, it may be stiffened with ginger powder and made into pills. It is an admirable basis for pills which are to contain more active ingredients, as apocynin, scammony, or podophyllin. When used thus as a basis for pill-mass, it is usually advisable to soften it with diluted alcohol till it can easily be moved with the spatula. Equal parts of hard extracts of juglans and euonymus, with half a part extract of xanthoxylum, stiffened with a little sanguinaria, form a liver pill of much value–of which from two to four may be given night and morning, the effect being steadily hepatic but not distinctly cathartic.

III. Fluid Extract. Cut a pound of butternut bark into very small pieces, and crush well; macerate it for twenty-four hours in 50 percent alcohol; transfer to a percolator, and add alcohol of the same strength till eight fluid ounces have passed, which set aside. Continue the percolation with hot water till two quarts have passed, which evaporate to eight fluid ounces. Mix the two products. The strength of the drug is not yet fully exhausted, though probably as much so as will prove profitable, yet the second process of percolation may be continued with hot water to exhaustion, and then evaporated to eight fluid ounces and mixed with the first product, and filtered. If much material remains on the filter, an ounce of 50 percent alcohol may be used to dissolve it. Dose, from thirty drops to half a fluid drachm or more. It is usually administered in some aromatic sirup, as of ginger. I have found much satisfaction in combining one part of this fluid extract with three parts of Neutralizing Cordial, in bilious and chronic diarrhea; and giving a moderate dose every six or four hours.

IV. Concentrated Sirup. Macerate one pound of well-crushed bark of juglans for twelve hours in a sufficient quantity of diluted alcohol to moisten it thoroughly. Transfer to a percolator, and treat with boiling water till the drug is exhausted. Add a pound and four ounces of sugar, and evaporate to two pints; strain while hot. Dissolve, as well as possible, the dregs upon the filter in an ounce of diluted alcohol and two drachms of strongest tincture of ginger; add to this, by trituration on sugar, ten drops of oil of anise; and mix the whole with the first preparation. This is a very pleasant and reliable cathartic sirup, and one that seldom gripes unless the bowels are already over-sensitive. Dose, half to a whole fluid drachm. A milder cathartic but more distinctly hepatic preparation may be made by using half a pound each of the juglans and euonymus–forming them into a sirup as above. This I have used to much advantage as a cathartic during the treatment of quotidian agues. Dose, half to a whole fluid drachm every six hours till it operates. It might properly be called Compound Sirup of Juglans. Either of these sirups used with a moderate quantity of fluid extracts of chelone glabra and apocynum, will usually prove efficient as a cathartic and tonic in worms.

V. Sirup of Juglans and Potassa. Crushed juglans, eight ounces; hydrastis, one ounce. Treat in the percolator with tepid water till exhausted; add two pounds of sugar, and evaporate to two pints and a half. Rub into a suitable quantity of sugar five drops each of oils of fennel and peppermint, and triturate with the above sirup; to which half an ounce of bicarbonate of potassa, and eight fluid ounces of brandy are then to be added. This preparation is similar to the Neutralizing Cordial prepared from rhubarb; and nearly equals that elegant sirup, at less than half its cost. In doses of one to two fluid drachms every four hours, it is excellent in all forms of diarrhea, sourness of the stomach, wind colic, etc. In doses of a fluid ounce, it is gently cathartic. I commend it to the profession as a compound of much service in the cases in which the Neutralizing Cordial is used, especially when associated with biliousness.

Juglans enters into compounds mentioned under senna and fraxinus. It is also variously associated with gentian, balmony, and boneset for laxative-tonic purposes; and with cornus florida in chronic watery diarrhea and hepatic obstructions. Various preparations for biliousness also contain it.

The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com