Fooding for Life

Corn Silk

Scientific: Stigma Maydis [WikiPedia]

Composition: Contains flavonoids, alkaloids, phenols, steroids, glycosides, carbohydrates, terpenoids and tannins

Appearance: Silken tassels on corn.

Parts Used: Tassels.

Common Uses: Corn silk is an important herb used traditionally by the Chinese, and Native Americans to treat many diseases. It is also used as traditional medicine in many parts of the world such as Turkey, United States and France. Its potential antioxidant and healthcare applications as diuretic agent, in hyperglycemia reduction, as anti-depressant and anti-fatigue use have been claimed in several reports. Other uses of corn silk include teas and supplements to treat urinary related problems. The potential use is very much related to its properties and mechanism of action of its plant’s bioactive constituents such as flavonoids and terpenoids.

Although this plant is known to most as a valuable food source, the silken tassels in the Zuni tribe legend “Corn Maidens” danced upon, are one of the most popular form of medicine for the herbalist. 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.

Corn silk contains proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It also contains chemicals which might work like water pills (diuretics), and it might alter blood sugar levels, and help reduce inflammation. Corn silk is used for bladder infections, inflammation of the urinary system, inflammation of the prostate, kidney stones, and bedwetting. It is also used to treat congestive heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure, fatigue, and high cholesterol levels.

Fresh green corn silk is collected from the cob and dried for tea or processed into tincture. The concentration of potassium in corn silk makes it a wonderful supplement for a variety of kidney problems. Potassium is a key mineral in healing the kidneys. Corn silk offers more per gram than bananas. Potassium is essential for controlling blood pressure.

Alternatives and Adjuncts: Kidney tonic, combine with marshmallow, hawthorn, ginkgo or goldenrod.

Topic Specific References:

  • Corn Silk (Stigma Maydis) in Healthcare: A Phytochemical and Pharmacological Review [PubMED]
  • Beneficial Effects of Corn Silk on Metabolic Syndrome [PubMED]
  • Effects of Maydis stigma polysaccharide on the intestinal microflora in type-2 diabetes [PubMED]
  • Safety Evaluation, in Vitro and in Vivo Antioxidant Activity of the Flavonoid-Rich Extract from Maydis stigma [PubMED]
  • Corn silk (Stigma maydis) in healthcare: a phytochemical and pharmacological review [PubMED]
  • Effects of Maydis stigma polysaccharide on the intestinal microflora in type-2 diabetes [PubMED]

Used In:

PLEASE NOTE that herbal and other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.

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