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CHITRAL HORTICULTURE SOCIETY

Local Practice:

Kernels of Walnut (birmogh) are dried, ground and an oil is extracted. This oil is used as laxative. Tooth brush (miswak) is made from the bark of the tree which is considered to be very effective against tooth and gum diseases. Leaves are also used for the same purpose. The rind of the fruit (pericarp) are separated, dried and stored, and are used as an effective walnut colour dye which is used in the Chitrali patti (locally made, thick, woolen cloth) making process.

Historical Use:

Walnuts are rich source of energy and contain health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.

They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (about 72%) like oleic acid and an excellent source of all important omega-3 essential fatty acids like linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and arachidonic acids. Regular intake of walnuts in the diet help in lowering total as well as LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” levels in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet which is rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids help to prevent coronary artery disease, and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.

Eating as just as 25 g of walnuts per day provides about 90% of RDI (recommended daily intake) of omega-3 fatty acids. Research studies have suggested that n-3 fatty acids by their virtue of anti-inflammatory action help lower blood pressure, cut down coronary artery disease, and stroke risk, and offer protection from breast, colon and prostate cancers.

Additionally, they are rich source of many phyto-chemical substances that may contribute to their overall anti-oxidant activity, including melatonin, ellagic acid, vitamin E, carotenoids, and poly-phenolic compounds. These compounds known to have potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.

Scientists at University of Scranton, Pennsylvania had recently discovered that walnuts have highest levels of popyphenolic antioxidants than any other common edible nuts. Eating as few as six to seven walnuts a day could help scavenge almost all the disease causing free radicals from the human body.

Further, they are an excellent source of vitamin E, especially rich in gamma-tocopherol; carry about 21 g per 100 g (about 140% of daily-required levels). Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.

They are also packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates.

They also very are rich source of minerals such as manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Copper is a cofactor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as co-factors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion, and nucleic acid synthesis. Selenium is an important micronutrient, which functions as a co-factor for anti-oxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidases.

Walnut oil has flavorful nutty aroma and exhibits excellent astringent properties. Applied locally, it helps to keep skin well protected from dryness. It has also been used in cooking, and as “carrier or base oil” in traditional medicines in massage therapy, aromatherapy, in pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry.

Munch a handful of walnuts a day and you will have enough recommended levels of minerals, vitamins, and protein.

Local Name birmogh
Botanical Name Juglan Egg
Part used Kernel, Bark, rind of fruit (pericarp) and leaves.
Locally used for Laxative, Tooth and gum diseases, dye.