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Walnut

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Walnuts are plants belong to the genus Juglans and family Juglandaceae. They are deciduous trees, 10–40 meters tall, with pinnate leaves 200–900 millimetres long the shoots have chambered pith. Walnuts are a delicious way to add extra nutrition, flavor and crunch to a meal. While walnuts are harvested in December, they are available year round a great source of those all-important omega-3 fatty acids.
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Botanical Names
Walnut
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Akshot, Akshod Hindi : Akhrot Gujarati : Akhrod, Akhod Marathi : Akhrod, Akrod Bengali : Aakhrot, Akot, Aakrot Telugu : Aksholam Kannada : Acrota Tamil : Akhrot
Chemical Constituents
The main constituent of fruits is fat ranging from 78.83% to 82.14%. Linoleic acid is the major fatty acid reaching the maximum value of 60.30% followed by oleic, linolenic and palmitic acids. Walnuts are a rich source of omega-3 essential fatty acids and also good source of n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Ellagic acid in walnuts is a compound possessing antioxidant property. Walnuts are an excellent source of proteins, fiber, B vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese (1). Approximately 90% of the phenols in walnuts are found in the skin, including key phenolic acids, tannins, and flavonoids. The form of vitamin E found in walnuts is somewhat unusual, and particularly beneficial. Instead of having most of its vitamin E present in the alpha-tocopherol form, walnuts provide an unusually high level of vitamin E in the form of gamma-tocopherol. Some phytonutrients found in walnuts as quinone juglone are found in virtually no other commonly eaten foods. Other phytonutrients like the tannin tellimagrandin or the flavonol morin - are also rare and valuable as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. These anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients also helps to explain the decreased risk of certain cancers including prostate cancer and breast cancer in relationship to walnut consumption (2).
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Pharmacology
Walnut possesses many beneficial properties. They are antibacterial, fight against tumors, anti inflammatory, antiviral, and antiseptic in nature. Walnuts' concentration of omega-3s has many potential health benefits ranging from cardiovascular protection, to the promotion of better cognitive function, to anti-inflammatory benefits helpful in asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. In addition, walnuts contain an antioxidant compound called ellagic acid that supports the immune system and appears to have several anticancer properties (3).
Health Benefits
• Walnuts are a rich source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. These nutrients improve cardiovascular health and also provide anti-inflammatory benefits in asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema and psoriasis. • Studies have shown that walnuts are effective in preventing gallstones in women. • Melatonin which is a powerful antioxidant and also induces a good night's sleep, is present in walnuts in the bio-available form. Hence having a handful of walnuts before going off to bed helps in getting a sound sleep. • Walnuts reduce total cholesterol in the body. They increase the amount of HDL cholesterol and lower the LDL cholesterol levels in blood. • Besides omega-3 fatty acids that prevents erratic heart rhythms and regulate plaque formation in blood vessels, the essential amino acid l-arginine in walnuts improves the elasticity of blood vessels. This ensures proper supply of blood to various organs (4). • These nuts are helpful in easing constipation due to their laxative effects. • Walnuts are also called the 'brain food'. It is not only due to the wrinkled appearance of their shell that resembles the brain, but also due to the fact that they contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Nearly 60% of our brain is structural fats which are primarily omega-3 fatty acids. • Lp(a) is a lipid compound that increases blood clotting and increases the risk of artherosclerosis and heart diseases. Walnuts reduce the amounts of this lipid compound in the body. • Walnuts are known to improve bone health (5).
Application in Cosmetics
Intake of this dry fruits is well known fact for enhancing beautiful skin as this has all vitamins B and E and they are the ultimate source of glowing skin. It provides beautiful balanced body and mind. Fruits and oil are rich in antioxidants and thus perfect healer for skin blemishes. Consumption of walnut helps to get smooth skin and it is amazing source of healing anti ageing. Walnut oil makes a great carrier oil blend for the purpose of massaging the body. It is more often brought to use as base oil that is used in combination with one or the other essential oils. It is known for its soothing refreshing emollient qualities (6).
Research References
1. Anderson, KJ, Teuber, SS, Gobeille, A, Cremin, P, Waterhouse, AL & Steinberg, FM (2001) Walnut polyphenolics inhibit in vitro human plasma and LDL oxidation. J Nutr 131, 2837–2842. 2. Dragland, S, Senoo, H, Wake, K, Holte, K & Blomhoff, R (2003) Several Culinary and Medicinal Herbs Are Important Sources of Dietary Antioxidants. J Nutr 133, 1286–1290. 3. Effects of Walnut Consumption on Endothelial Function in Type 2 Diabetic Subjects: A randomized controlled crossover trial Diabetes Care 2010 33: 227-232 4. Ros, E, Núñez, I, Pérez-Heras, A, Serra, M, Gilabert, R, Casals, E & Deulofeu, R (2004) A walnut diet improves endothelial function in hypercholesterolemic subjects: a randomized crossover trial. Circulation 109, 1609–1614. 5. Effects of walnut consumption on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis and systematic review Am J Clin Nutr 2009 90: 56-63 6. ABULIKEMU Abulizi,DILINUER Talipu,AISHA Nulahong,ABULIMITI Abudoukadeer (College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering,Xinjiang University,Urumqi 830046,China);Determination of Total Flavonoids in Walnut Kernel Septum Membranes with Spectrometric Method[J];Food Science;2008-11 7. Progress of research on the chemical components and pharmaceutical action of walnut kernel [J] C Qin, LI Lei-ke… - Journal of Anhui University 8. Melatonin in walnuts: influence on levels of melatonin and total antioxidant capacity of blood RJ Reiter, LC Manchester… - Nutrition, 2005 .