Akhrot, Walnut (Juglans regia)
Who does not like munching onto a handful of nuts and dry fruits randomly to quench hunger pangs in between meals?
Most of us are also familiar with the nutritional benefits of these nuts such as Almonds, Walnuts, and Pistachio etc. They are immensely rich sources of many rare minerals that are not found in our regular food and therefore, their inclusion as part of regular diet is equally important. Their delicious taste is just another reason to munch on, no wonder.
Here we will discuss mainly about Walnuts, which are one of the healthiest nuts to consume and their nutritional benefits are no less than others.
Walnuts are enclosed in a hard but brittle shell which contains the kernel which is shaped like a butterfly and closely resembles the structure of our brain.
The fruit is rich in many vegetable fats and proteins and also some carbohydrates.
The latin name of the fruit is Juglans Regia and it belongs to Juglanduceae family.
Common synonyms of Juglans Regia
- English name – Walnut, Persian Walnut, and European Walnut, Butter nut, White Walnut etc.
- Hindi name – Akhrot
- Sanskrit name – Aksot, Sailabhava, Karparala.
- Kannada name – Akaroda pappu
- Marathi name – Akrod
- Punjabi name – Akharota
There are many species of Walnut trees which are usually deciduous in nature. These trees can grow up to a height of 30 to 130 feet.
These trees are native to U.S.A. and Canada.
The fruit is usually covered in a thick, green husk when the nut is unripe and as it ripens it bursts open this thick husk and Walnut fruit with a hard shell comes out.
The nut has an oily taste as the fat content of the kernels can be up to 50% which also gives it an oily taste. This Walnut oil and tannins contained in this plant are the main chemical constituents of this plant.
- GUNA (Characteristics): Guru (Heavy), Sara (Flowing Nature), Snigdha (Smooth)
- RASA (Taste): Madhura (Sweet)
- VIPAKA (After Taste that Develops Post Digestion): Madhura (Sweet)
- VIRYA (Potency): Ushna (Hot Potency)
Many herbs as per Ayurvedic research and knowledge perform special action which is exclusive of their normal properties. This effect of these herbs sometimes comes handy in dealing with crucial health condition which may not be dealt with so easily otherwise.
This action performed by certain herbs is known as "Prabhava" in Ayurveda.
So, Walnut has a special role to play in the general management of all vata vitiated disorders. It pacifies Vata and Kapha body energy and improves body strength and anabolism. It is good for the heart and reproductive system and strengthens the body inside out.
COMMON PROPERTIES OF THE HERB
Due to Tannins and many healthy fats and minerals, Walnut is a very potent anti – oxidant source. It is a natural source that helps maintain our body's vitality and longevity.
As a positive effect on the heart, Walnut helps reduce bad cholesterol levels in blood which are responsible for plaque formation and development of heart disorders.
It is one of those lesser known healthy fats that help in aiding weight loss process. A person should substitute unhealthy sources of fats with healthy ones like Walnut to obtain healthy and faster weight loss.
Walnut is considered as a brain food. This is so because of its amazing richness of omega – 3 fatty acids which are very essential for healthy and stable brain health.
Hot potency of this nut helps it to protect the body against cold stroke and chilblains. It can be used externally also to cure skin break outs and swelling due to chill blains.
For cosmetic purpose, Walnut is used to enhance the texture and shine of skin and hair. It is used in many shampoos, conditioners and lotions for the same reason.
Walnut has astringent and germicidal properties because of which it helps in case of pharyngeal infection, respiratory infections and sore throat.
Walnut bark can be used as well for some medicinal purpose. Its decoction given to a patient of intestinal worms can help clear out his bowels evading the worms from his intestines in the process.
Paste of Walnut bark can also be applied externally on the goiter swelling and it has been said to relieve the swelling to a large extent.
Walnuts are good for the joints. They help in reducing inflammation of aching joints and improving joint mobility in case of arthritis, osteoarthritis and gout.