Corn silk is the silky, soft tassels found inside the husks of the Indian corn. The silk is cut off when the husks are fresh. It is dried in a warm and airy room or in a drying shed. The drying process takes approximately 1-2 weeks. The dried corn silk is cut and stored in an airtight container preferably in a dark glass container.
Corn silk loses its diuretic properties and becomes a laxative when it is stored inappropriately or when it is not properly dried. Corn silk loses most of its healing properties after one year of storage. It is regarded as herb, not food. The constituents are:
(i) Vitamins: B panthothenic acid, thiamin, beta carotene, Vitamin C , and K.
(ii) Corn silk is rich in potassium, iron, silicon (silica), calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.
(iii) The main constituents are maizemic acid, fixed oil, mucilage, resin, saponin, salicylic acid, oxalic acid, alkaloids, tartaric acids, flavonoids, tannins, thymol, steroids, etc.
Method of preparatory/dosage
(i) Infusion (tea): 1 to 2 teaspoons of the dried herbs are infused for up to 10 minutes in a teacup of boiling water. This could be taken warm or cold 3 -5 times daily.
Alternatively:-30g of the herb is infused in a litre of boiling water.
(ii) Decoction: The silk from 3 ears of fresh corn could be boiled with 3 tea cups of water for 5minutes up to 1 cup of the decoction could be taken at time for up to 3-5 times a day.
(iii) Corn silk capsules: Dried corn silk is powdered and capsulated. 2 capsules are taken 3 times daily with plenty of water at meal times.
Therapeutic indications (uses) /
Corn silk combines diuretic and demulcent (soothing any inflamed surface), anti- inflammation action in one. For this reason, it is very useful in the treatment of:
(i) Nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys). In this case, pure honey could be taken along with the corn silk tea. In cases of nephritis usually due to bacterial infections, corn silk combines well with renal antiseptic herbs like garlic, parsley, goldenseal root, yarrow, aloe/coconut water (mixture)
(ii) Profuse albumin in urine due to nephritic syndrome (Nephrosis), unsweetened corn silk infusion alone is excellent for this condition, especially in children.
(iii) Renal colic: Because of the sedative, anti-inflammatory and the analgesic actions of corn silk, the infusion or the decoction of the herb calms the pains of renal colic. It may be taken in conjunction with GARLIC.
iv. Renal lithiasis or kidney stones or gravel: pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, chemical and artificial additives and colourings and other chemicals can create a build-up of waste materials which could be difficult for the kidneys to fitter out. Sometimes, these waste materials aggregate and crystallise and form stones in the Kidneys a condition known as renal lithiasis.
The intake of corn silk tea regularly is known to prevent the formation of kidney stones in susceptible patients. The tea also helps in dissolving kidney stones. In this condition, corn silk combines well with phyllanthus nuriri (or cleavers). Corn silk tea may be taken in conjunction with lemonade, garlic/lemon juice mixture, aloe vera/coconut water mixture.
In all the kidney problems mentioned above, drinking plenty of fluid (in form of spring water, fruits juices, etc.) in addition to the herbal therapies, will help flush the kidneys, prevent the deposition of sediments and also prevent kidney infections. Take corn silk herbal infusion in addition to the juice extracted from water melon, grape, papaya, carrot seeds, etc. The therapy may be taken along with herbs.
Corn silk (tea, decoction, etc.) is known to have a diuretic property (i.e. helping to eliminate water from the kidneys or water retentions in the body). It is also rich in vitamin K and does not result in loss of potassium (a problem common with synthetic diuretics). Because of these, corn silk is very useful in the treatment of fluid accumulation in the heart and heart enlargement.
Studies have shown that corn silk infusion or decoction lowers high blood pressure. Also, it is a safe herbal diuretic for hypertensive patients. It is rich in vitamin k and prevents the loss of potassium. Being a diuretic and urinary demulcent, infusion or decoction of corn silk, when taken, helps to soothe the irritation in the bladder and along the genitourinary tract, which causes frequent burning and painful urination.
Regular intake of corn silk tea helps in shedding off excess body weight and fats. To achieve a good result, corn silk infusion can be taken daily for a long time. Corn silk is very safe for both children and the elderly; and the infusion can be taken over a long period of time, even in pregnancy. Taking an overnight cold infusion of corn silk exerts hypoglycaemic (Blood sugar lowering) effect, especially in an overweight patient. A mixture of corn silk and Phyllanthus nuriri, when taken as tea regularly, helps in the treatment and prevention of sclerosis of the liver, Gall bladder stones and cholecystitis (gall bladder inflammation).
Uric acid is generated by the consumption of red meat (also ingested with the meat are the toxins like hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals which the muscles of the body absorb).At the saturation point, these uric acids and other metabolites crystallize into a sharp needle- like points, especially in the joints, giving rise to the symptom of the painful gouty arthritis and other disease conditions like sciatica, neuritis and sometime weakness of the liver. When taking regularly as decoction or infusion, corn silk eases the pains and discomforts associated with these conditions. This is so because the herb combines analgesic, anti-inflammatory, litholytic and lymphatic system cleansing properties in one. Apart from soothing the pains of inflammation, corn silk helps in removing excess uric acids and other toxins from the blood.