Corn Silk Benefits

Corn Silk
Latin Name

Zea Mays

Also Known As

Maize Silk, Stigma Maydis, Yu Mi Xiu, Mother's Hair

Origin

South America

Parts Used

Corn Silk

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

With a history of use stretching back to prehistoric times, Corn was domesticated by the people of Central and South America where it was, and remains, a staple food for many cultures.

The traditional use of Corn Silk can be traced back to the Mayans, Incans and Native Americans, who used it to treat bladder and urinary disorders and as a poultice for bruising and swelling. The Native Americans also showed the European settlers how to brew a healing tea from Corn Silk.

Corn Silk Benefits

Bladder and Urinary Health

As a powerful diuretic and anti-inflammatory, Corn Silk increases urination, thus preventing the build up of bacteria in the urethra. It soothes inflammation in the bladder and urinary tract and coats the lining of the urethra.

Corn Silk can help to strengthen the urinary system as a whole and is effectively used to prevent bedwetting (enuresis) in children and incontinence in older people.

A 2011 – 2012 study was conducted in Baghdad on 42 patients of both sexes with UTI’s. Manifestation of the UTI were checked clinically and included; suprapubic pain, urgency, frequency and dysuria. All of the patients were followed up after 5 days, 10 days and 20 days from starting a course of treatment with aqueous extract of Corn Silk. The study concluded: "Administration of aqueous extract of Corn Silk significantly reduce the symptoms in patient with UTI in addition to reduction in the values of pus cells, RBCs, and Crystals, without any reported side effect which indicate its efficacy and safety."

Kidney Health

A study entitled "Study of the Kidney Repair Mechanisms of Corn Silk - Binahong Leaves Combination in Rat Model of Kidney Failure" was recently published in the International Journal of Pharmacology. The results suggested that these two herbs together led to a reduction of oxidative stress and that they might be beneficial to the repair of renal damage.

Another study found that Corn Silk can help to prevent the formation of kidney stones and can increase the percentage of urinary stones through the urinary tracts. The study entitled "In-vitro Anti-Urolithiatic Activity of Corn Silk of Zea Mays" proved that it exhibited anti-urolithiatic activity - the dissolving or preventing the formation of calculi in the kidneys, ureters, or bladder. The study concluded that, “The aqueous extracts of Corn Silk of Zea mays has shown significant activity on comparison to the synthetic drug Spironolactone, furosemide and poly-herbal formulation Cystone."

The researchers found that Corn Silk was playing an important physical role in the treatment of kidney stones by increasing the contraction of smooth muscles, which led to increase the urinary output and increased the percentage the passage of urinary stones through the urinary tracts.

Type 2 Diabetes

The hypoglycaemic mechanisms of Corn Silk have been investigated by many researchers the world over. It has a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a herbal medicine to treat diabetes.

A 2009 study, “The effects of Corn Silk on glycaemic metabolism”, concluded: “Corn Silk extract markedly reduced hyperglycemia in alloxan-induced diabetic mice. The action of corn silk extract on glycaemic metabolism is not via increasing glycogen and inhibiting gluconeogenesis but through increasing insulin level as well as recovering the injured β-cells.”

Other studies have shown that Corn Silk also balances blood lipid levels which can prevent and reduce the complications of diabetes. Corn Silk appears to exert a multi-targeted approach on hypoglycaemia which is not as fast as its pharmaceutical counterpart, however the effects are more stable and much safer.

For the early stages of Type 2 Diabetes the use of Corn Silk can help to get sugar levels under control. In severe cases, Corn Silk can be elected to enhance the effect of pharmaceutical drugs and reduce their side effects.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Corn Silk is rich in bioactive compounds such as flavonoids and terpenoids which are thought to contribute to the anti-hypertensive action of this herb. It also contains high amounts of potassium, a mineral that is well known for its vasodilating properties and ability to relieve tension of the blood vessels – one of the main causes of high blood pressure.

Several recent studies have shown that “aqueous extract” of Corn Silk gave a statistically significant reduction in mean intraocular pressure and blood pressure within 8 hours of administration.

Typical Use

Corn Silk Tea

Use 1 - 2 teaspoons of Corn Silk Tea per cup of boiling water. Allow to steep for 10 - 15 minutes - relax and enjoy. 

Folklore and History

Zea Mays is translated as “cause of life” and “our mother.” This nomeclature is thought to come from the Zuni tribe - one of the 19 pueblo tribes from New Mexico, and speaks volumes of the importance they placed on this food and herb. 

One version of a Zuni tribe legend reveals the powerful secrets of corn. It was said that was the magic of the Corn Maidens turned the hearts of the Zuni from war to farming. Their dance atop the corn stalks, visible as the wind stirs the corn tassels, is a vivid reminder of prosperity the Corn Maidens brought. When these goddesses were pursued for selfish reasons they fled, leaving the corn of the Zuni people to wither and die. Only Paiyatuma, the god of dawn, and the melodies from his painted flute brought them back.

Corn Silk
Constituents

Corn Silk Active Compounds: Allantoin, Sterols, Saponins, Hordenine, Plant acids, Vitamins C and K, Potassium

Precautions

Not recommended if you are taking diuretics, blood pressure medication, diabetes medication, blood thinners or anti-inflammatory drugs.

Not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Corn Silk may increase the excretion of potassium.