What is Cornsilk?


Cornsilk is made from stigmas, the long silky yellowish thread like vegetation that is found growing out of the top of a female ear of corn. Other terms for cornsilk are mother's milk, Turkish corn, Indian corn, and yu mi xu. The stigmas are harvested before pollination can occur after the vegetation reached 4 to 8 inches in length. Cornsilk has many uses as an herbal remedy.


Corn (maize) is a New World plant. It is a warm weather plant probably first cultivated among the Mayans and Aztec peoples. Eventually, corn became an important food and medicinal crop among the Native peoples of North and Central America. Centuries before Christopher Columbus first introduced Europeans to corn, American Indians were using corn silk as a treatment for urinary problems and to control bleeding during labor. Indians also used it to treat sores, boils and indigestion.

Modern Science and Cornsilk

Cornsilk is loaded with flavonoids and polyphenols. Flavonoids and polyphenols are phytochemicals thought to have cancer fighting antioxidant properties. Cornsilk has demulcent properties. It forms a soothing film over an inflamed membrane. This is why cornsilk is beneficial in calming hyperactive bladders, prostates and intestines. Because is contains mucilage (a substance found in plant matter that absorbs water), cornsilk is useful herbal treatment for those trying to lose weight.

Urniary Tact Problems

Cornsilk is still used today was it was hundreds of years ago as a natural treatment for all types of urinary related problems. It is used to treat inflamed bladder and pain while urinating. It is gentle enough to be used by children and older adults suffering from enuresis.

How To Make Cornsilk Tea

For internal use, fresh or dried cornsilk is usually infused in to tea. The general recipes is place 1/4 cup of fresh cornsilk or 2 teaspoons of dried cornsilk in a mug. Pour one cup (8 ounces) of boiling water over the cornsilk material and allow to infuse for 5 minutes. Strain out and discard the solids. Drink the infused liquid as you would tea. You may sweeten the cornsilk tea with honey if if you desire. Limit usage to one cup a day for no longer than 10 days. Because of its soothing properties, cornsilk tea may help to relieve the tenseness and irritability experienced by PMS sufferers.

External Uses

A poultice made from cornsilk is a time-honored method of treating boils.To make a poultice, grind dried cornsilk into a powder. Add enough water to make a paste. Cut a piece of gauge large enough the boil completely. Spend the cornsilk paste on the gauge and apply to the boil. Use sports tape to hold the poultice in place. Leave in place 2 hours. Users might feel some pain as the poultice draws the toxin out of the boil. Reapply as needed.

Side Effects

No one allergic to corn should not use cornsilk. Cornsilk has no known side effects and is considered safe with proper use. Self treatment with cornsilk should not take the place of medical treatment in the care of urinary problems.

About this Author

Based in North Carolina, Carol Taber has been writing for two years. Her work is published on her blog A Second Cup and on eHow.com. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in accounting from the University of New York at Buffalo.

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