What is Cornsilk? Information & Medicinal Properties of Cornsilk
What is Cornsilk?
Corn Silk is a collection of the stigmas (fine, soft, yellowish threads or tassels) from the female flowers of Corn (maize), and they are four to eight inches long with a faintly sweetish taste. Cornsilk (Zea mays) is an herbal remedy made from stigmas, the yellowish thread-like strands found inside the husks of corn. The stigmas are found on the female flower of corn, a grain that is also known as maize and is a member of the grass family (Gramineae or Poaceae). The stigmas measure 4-8 in (10-20 cm) long and are collected for medicinal use before the plant is pollinated. Cornsilk can also be removed from corn cobs for use as a remedy. If fertilized, the stigmas dry and become brown. Then yellow corn kernels develop. Corn is native to North America and now grows around the world in warm climates.
Cornsilk is also known as mother’s hair, Indian corn, maize jagnog, Turkish corn, yu mi xu, and stigmata maydis. Corn is a grass which can grow up to 3 meter. Corn forms thick stems with long leaves. The flowers of corn are monoecious: each corn plant forms male and female flowers. The male flowers form the tassel at the top and produce yellow pollen. The female flowers are situated in leave axils and form stigmas or corn silk (yellow soft threads). The purpose of the cornsilk is to catch the pollen. The cornsilk is normally light green but can have other colours such as yellow, yellow or light brown.
Only cornsilk (styles and stigmas) is harvested for medicinal properties. Cornsilk should be harvested just before pollination occurs. Cornsilk can be used fresh or dried. The corn kernels (or corn) are a well known food.
Cornsilk Medicinal Properties
Cornsilk has detoxifying, relaxing and diuretic activity. Cornsilk is used to treat infections of the urinary and genital system, such as cystitis, prostatitis and urethritis. Cornsilk helps to reduce frequent urination caused by irritation of the bladder and is used to treat bed wetting problems. Cornsilk is found to reduce kidney stones. In China, cornsilk is traditionally used to treat oedema and jaundice. Studies indicate that cornsilk can reduces blood clotting time and reduce high blood pressure.
Corn originates from Central America but is cultivated in many countries as a food crop and as fodder. In countries with colder climate the whole corn plant is used a cattle feed.
Health Benefits of Cornsilk
Corn Silk is an old remedy for urinary tract ailments, including bed-wetting, painful and frequent urination, stones, bloating, gravel in the bladder and chronic cystitis and prostatitis. It is also thought to help relieve edema and the painful swelling of carpal tunnel syndrome and gout. Corn Silk is an old-fashioned, gentle, but effective, diuretic without the loss of potassium. Some new research claims that Corn Silk may help to lower blood sugar levels and reduce blood-clotting time.
Cornsilk also served as a remedy for heart trouble, jaundice, malaria, and obesity. Cornsilk is rich in vitamin K, making it useful in controlling bleeding during childbirth. It has also been used to treat gonorrhea. For more than a century, cornsilk has been a remedy for urinary conditions such as acute and inflamed bladders and painful urination. It was also used to treat the prostate. Some of those uses have continued into modern times; cornsilk is a contemporary remedy for all conditions of the urinary passage.
Corn Silk is an old and effective diuretic that promotes the flow of urine, relieving excess water retention, and it has been used to treat acute and chronic bladder infection, cystitis, urethritis, prostatitis (and other prostate disorders) and also combat urinary stones. Unlike other diuretics, however, the high level of potassium in Corn Silk offsets potassium loss caused by the increased urination when used as directed. The herb is also believed to relieve bladder irritation caused by the accumulation of uric acid and gravel and eases the pain of burning urination. When Corn Silk is given to children (or adults) several hours prior to bedtime, it is said to diminish the occurrence of enuresis (bedwetting). Because it soothes bladder irritation, Corn Silk generally helps to reduce the occurrence of frequent urination problems.
- Corn Silk helps to ease edema and swelling caused by many inflammatory conditions, such as gout and carpal tunnel syndrome, and as a demulcent, it helps to soothe inflammation, especially inflamed mucous membranes. It is also used to alleviate the bloating and discomforts of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
- Drinking cornsilk tea is a remedy to help children stop wetting their beds, a condition known as enuresis. It is also a remedy for urinary conditions experienced by the elderly.
- Cornsilk is used to treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones in adults. Cornsilk is regarded as a soothing diuretic and useful for irritation in the urinary system. This gives it added importance, since today, physicians are more concerned about the increased use of antibiotics to treat infections, especially in children. Eventually, overuse can lead to drug-resistant bacteria. Also, these drugs can cause complications in children.
- Furthermore, cornsilk is used in combination with other herbs to treat conditions such as cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder), urethritis (inflammation of the urethra), and parostitis (mumps).
- Cornsilk is said to prevent and remedy infections of the bladder and kidney. The tea is also believed to diminish prostate inflammation and the accompanying pain when urinating.
- Since cornsilk is used as a kidney remedy and in the regulation of fluids, the herb is believed to be helpful in treating high blood pressure and water retention. Corn-silk is also used as a remedy for edema (the abnormal accumulation of fluids).
- Cornsilk is used to treat urinary conditions in countries including the United Sates, China, Haiti, Turkey, and Trinidad. Furthermore, in China, cornsilk as a component in an herbal formula is used to treat diabetes.
- In addition, cornsilk has some nonmedical uses. Cornsilk is an ingredient in cosmetic face powder. The herb used for centuries to treat urinary conditions acquired another modern-day use.
- Cornsilk is safe when taken in proper dosages.
- Before beginning herbal treatment, people should consult a physician, practitioner, or herbalist.
- If a person decides to collect fresh cornsilk, attention should be paid to whether the plants were sprayed with pesticides.
Cornsilk Side Effects
There are no known side effects when cornsilk is taken in designated therapeutic dosages.