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During the Chernobyl nuclear disaster the areas in the fallout zone ran out of potassium iodide and sea weed sources of iodine. They used black walnut tincture as an iodine supplement by painting people's knee skin with it. It was effective in preventing radiation poisoning of the thyroid in those treated with it.

Black Walnut Tincture

  • Author: Chris


Use black walnut hulls for a locally sourced iodine tincture, use topically.


  • 10 to 12 black walnut hulls
  • 3 to 4 cups of 40% or higher proof vodka
  • 1-quart jar
  • 5 amber glass bottles with dropper lids


  1. Fill a quart jar with fresh black walnut hulls. Pour 40% vodka over them.  Generally, an herbalist would use an alcohol of at least 50% or 100 proof for this preparation, but where I live you can’t easily find vodka with a higher alcohol percentage.  The tincture is still strong enough even with a lower alcohol percentage.
  2. Cap tightly.  Label and date the jar.  Shake the jar once a day or as often as you think of it.  After 6 weeks, strain the jar contents, reserving the liquid.  Press the spent walnut hulls with a potato ricer or other press, to capture as much of the tincture as possible.  Discard the walnut hulls.  Pour the completed tincture into amber glass bottles.  Cap with a dropper lid.
  3. Label and date.  The tincture will be good for years.  Iodine is very stable.


The normal dosage of this tincture is very low since the herbal remedy is so strong.  15 drops can be taken in water, 3 times a day.  To use it as an iodine supplement it’s just as effective to paint the skin with it as it is to take it orally.

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