Tips & Basics

How To Make An Iodine Rich Black Walnut Tincture

Black Walnut is a tree with a dubious reputation. It is notorious for killing plants that try to grow beneath it because of its high content of the chemical juglone.

Combined with large quantities of falling nuts that quickly turn black and slimy, it’s no wonder it is often shunned.

Despite its negative qualities, black walnut has long been valued by herbalists for the potent medicine it can provide. Those nasty fall nuts are naturally rich in iodine, which you can easily extract in a tincture. You can use this iodine tincture for many things, including preventing radiation poisoning.

The situation in Eastern Europe is heating up, and it is important we prepare for the worst. As the threat of nuclear war increases, iodine is increasingly on our minds.

Related: The First Thing You Should Do After a Nuclear Attack

In case of an iodine shortage, it is imperative we know the natural resources that surround us and that can aid in a time of crisis. By preparing this black walnut tincture now, you can be prepared for when SHTF.

Black Walnut Identification

How To Make An Iodine Rich Black Walnut TinctureThe first thing you need to do is locate a black walnut tree.

Native to Eastern North America, you can find Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) trees as far north as Ontario and as far south as Georgia and northern Florida. Their range reaches from the Atlantic Coast as far west as South Dakota.

But how do you distinguish Black Walnut trees from the other five species of walnut that grow in the US?

One way to distinguish between different types of trees is to examine the leaves.

How To Make An Iodine Rich Black Walnut Tincture

All species of walnuts have feathery pinnate leaves. Black walnut has between 15-23 leaflets grouped together in pairs on each twig.

What black walnut doesn’t have is the extra leaf at the tip that other varieties do. This leaf is the easiest way to distinguish it from other species.

When the black walnut does have a terminal leaf, it is small. While very similar in other ways, English and butternut walnuts always have a large terminal leaf.

Black walnut bark is dark and deeply fissured. If you remove the bark, you can see the dark brown wood beneath it. The bark on the black walnut is darker than the bark on other walnut varieties.

The deep ridges in the bark are the most distinctive feature of this tree in winter. You can see diamond-shaped patterns in the ridges in the bark.

nutsThe nuts’ shape varies depending on which variety of walnut you have.

Since we are looking for Black walnuts, we want to look for round nuts rather than oval ones like the butternut variety.

You will also find black walnuts also have the hardest shells.

But we don’t need to worry about that now because it is the outer hull of these nuts that we use for our tincture. Later, you can decide if you want to struggle to enjoy the delicious nut inside.

Black Walnut Tincture For Radiation

We want to have iodine on hand in case of radiation exposure. Potassium Iodine tablets can help protect your thyroid gland from exposure to radioactive iodides.

But right now, our ability to procure iodine may be limited. You may already be finding tablets are on backorder, and who knows when they will arrive.

But people tell us that when other sources of iodine ran out after the Chernobyl disaster, a black walnut tincture was used. And it worked.

potassium iodide

While the FDA will advise us only to use approved potassium iodine tablets, there are studies out there showing the topical application of iodine is as effective as oral potassium iodine in blocking radioiodine absorption in the thyroid. If you have access to a black walnut tree, you can easily make an iodine rich tincture in your home.

Other Uses For Black Walnut Tincture

Even if there isn’t a nuclear attack, a black walnut tincture is useful to have in your household apothecary. It is antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and works as an antiparasitic.

An Ingenious Way To Stockpile Prescription Medicines At Home Before SHTF

You can apply it topically to your skin to help treat wounds, skin infections, and fungal infections. Or you can take it internally to expel parasites. It also has been used traditionally for upset stomachs, heart problems, and even as a hair dye.

How To Make A Black Walnut Tincture

You can easily make a black walnut tincture at home as long as you have black walnuts. Ideally, you will be using the hulls from walnuts you have harvested yourself, so you know that the ingredients are of the highest quality.

However, if you want to make this tincture and it’s not black walnut season, you can purchase dried and powdered hulls.

When To Harvest

walnut fruitBlack walnuts are usually ready to harvest in September or October. You want to harvest when they are underripe rather than overripe.

When the fruit is ready to harvest, your finger should slightly leave a dent when you press it. If it is overly soft or has many brown spots, then choose another.

You will want to remove the green outer hull from the shell to use for your tincture. For now, you can reserve the shell with the nut.

Later you can pit yourself against the hardest of all the walnut shells and try to release the delicious treat inside.

What You Need

  • 10-12 Black walnut hulls or dried black walnut powder
  • Vodka (or other alcohol at least 75 proof)
  • Mason jar
  • Coffee filter
  • Funnel
  • Tinted bottles for storage


1. Cut the hulls and place them in the mason jar.How To Make An Iodine Rich Black Walnut Tincture

2. Cover the hulls with vodka to a minimum of two fingers above the top of the hulls. Do not exceed double the height of the hulls, or your tincture will not be as strong.How To Make An Iodine Rich Black Walnut Tincture

If using dry hulls, you may need to add alcohol as the hulls absorb the liquid.

3. Seal the jar and leave it in a cool dark place for at least two weeks.How To Make An Iodine Rich Black Walnut Tincture

4. When your tincture is ready, place a coffee filter inside a funnel and strain the liquid into a tinted bottle for storage.

5. Store in a cool dark place

For radiation protection, you can paint the tincture onto your skin rather than take it internally.

For internal use, dissolve no more than 15 drops into a glass of water and take it three times a day. Discontinue use after 14 days.

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