The Latin name of the botanic genus Juglans (walnut) comes from Jovis glans, meaning “the fruit of Jupiter”. The genus includes 21 species spread across the temperate northern hemisphere, from Europe to Japan and America and walnuts have been mainly used as food, but various parts of the plants were also used as medicine or cloth dye.
|Juglans regia - walnut and husk. Source: Wikipedia|
In Transylvania green walnut husk was mainly used as a domestic remedy, but it also features in some apothecary cures due to its strong effects in curing skin problems (eczema), scrofulosis (ganglia inflammation), as a resolutive (substance reducing swelling), as an emetic (useful in eliminating parasites for example) and as an astringent.
|18th c. dried husk - Putamen Nucum Juglandis|
The History of Pharmacy Collection in Cuj-Napoca, Transylvania, includes two jars for pharmaceutical products obtained from walnuts. In the apothecary table in the Officina one can see a wooden container that still preserved eighteenth-century dried walnut husk Putamen Nucum Juglandis, from an apothecary shop in Baia Mare. The second container, usually preserved in the museum's storage areas and not permanently on display, is a green glaze pottery jar with the paper lied inscribed “Extr(actum) nucum j(uglandis) virid(is)” – green walnut extract. This nineteenth century jar was once used in the Unicorn apothecary shop from Cluj-Napoca.
|19th c apothecary jar inscribed Extr(actum) nucum j(uglandis) virid(is) - green walnut extract|
The presentation is also available in Romanian HERE.
Walnut-related objects are on display at the museum in Cluj during the month of March 2017.