Corn Silk

Corn Silk

Also known as

Zea mays, Indian Corn, Maidis Stigma, Maize Silk, and Stigma Maydis.


Zea mays is the botanical name for corn. Zea comes from Greek, meaning "to live." Mays comes from Spanish ma?z, or maize, the same word as a term in a native Mexican language meaning "mother," or "mother of life." Corn silks are the silky tassels running the length of an ear of corn. They serve as styles or tubes for collecting the pollen that fertilizes each seed. Corn silk is not considered a food, but it has a long history in herbal medicine as a treatment for urinary complains.


1,8-cineole, alpha-terpineol, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, geraniol, hordenine, limonene, menthol, niacin, riboflavin, selenium, thymol, vitamin C, and vitexin. Corn silk contains many of the phytochemicals found in barley greens, the thymol found in thyme, and also the menthol found in mint. It may or may not contain vitamin K, depending on the growing conditions and how it is stored.

Parts Used

Dried silk, whole or powdered.

Typical Preparations

Usually taken as a tea, but can be used as an encapsulated powder or mixed with corn oil for application to the skin. May be administered as a capsule or extract.


Corn silk relieves a wide range of conditions characterized by urinary inflammation. It is especially useful in treating inflammation caused by bacterial infection. A complex polysaccharide in the silk activates macrophages (white blood cells) to engulf and dissolve infectious microorganisms. The volatile oils neutralize fungi and yeast. Corn silk is both diuretic and kaliuretic, that is, it encourages retention of sodium and excretion of potassium. Not everyone benefits from excretion of potassium, but people with chronic fatigue, adrenal burnout, and generally "cold" symptoms may.


Do not use corn silk if you also take Lasix (furosemide).

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