The common corn is one of the most easily recognizable plants in the world; it is used as a major food in many different areas of the world by a variety of peoples. Morphologically, pith filled and a nodded stalk with supportive prop roots characterizes a typical corn plant. The corn bears two morphologically distinct and bisexual flowers, thus the peculiar tassel at the top of the stem consists of the staminate or the male flowers - that is flowers which bear only stamens. On the other hand the female flowers or the pistillate flowers are found only in the kernels on the familiar corn cob-called ears-; this recognizable cob is always covered by a leafy but protective husk and is borne on the stalk. The pollen from the staminate flowers is caught and retrieved by extended threadlike styles and stigmas known commonly as corn silk - these reach out into the air from the corn cobs. American culture and society is closely associated with the corn plant and the corn with its distinct ornamental tassel and the ears has remained an enduring motif of much American art and culture since the earliest eras of the colony in North America.
Corn silk (stamens), meal.
A variety of herbal remedies are prepared from different parts of the corn plant, a very soothing and relaxing diuretic action is possessed by the corn silk. Traditionally, this part of the plant has been also used as an effective remedy for the treatment of acute inflammation and chronic physical irritation present in the urino-genital system of patients; these include problems including cystitis, disorders such as urethritis and cases of prostatitis in men. Bladder infections and urinary tract infection in children are disorders which especially benefit from treatment using the corn silk - this remedy is very useful in both cases. A strong antiseptic and ameliorative action is present in the corn silk, at the same time, the remedy is used in removing toxins from the body, in the treatment of congestion and catarrh, in the reduction of deposits and irritants from the kidneys and urinary bladder - the detoxification power of the corn silk is extremely valuable in a variety of ways for different patients. The remedial action of the corn silk has been effectively used in the removal of urinary stones and accumulated gravel in the urinary tract, it is also used extensively where chronic bladder irritation and physical bladder weakening have led the to the development of a frequent need for urination and perhaps to the display of sudden bedwetting behavior by the patient.
The urinary system responds very well to the corn silk as a remedial measure partly due to the presence of significant amounts of the essential mineral potassium in the corn silk, and also due to its diuretic action - the corn silk can therefore serve as a general remedy for the majority of problems likely to affect the urinary system. The flow of urine, and the elimination of toxins is increased by the corn silk remedy, the herbal remedy also relaxes and soothes the muscular lining of the urinary tubules and the muscular urinary bladder itself, this action helps in relieving any physical irritation in the bladder and improves the condition of the patient. The remedies made from corn silk work by alleviating the irritation at the site or localized area in those cases where a chronic irritation affects the urinary bladder and the urethral walls leading to the frequent urination, the corn silk also acts locally on prostate disorders which give rise to an inability to pass urine properly.
Topical problems and skin irritations as well as inflammation can also be treated effectively and benefit from the corn silk's healing and soothing abilities - as an external or topical treatment, the corn silk is also excellent for rapidly healing wounds and all types of ulcers affecting the skin.
A great range of illnesses was also treated using simple corn meal by most Native Americans, who made extensive use of this form of the corn in traditional remedies. In fact, corn meal is known to have been used by the ancient Mayan, the ancient Incan, and all Native American folks as a part of their herbal medicines, a simple poultice made from corn meal was used for the topical treatment of bruises, in the treatment of swellings on the body, to treat various sores and to heal boils, and in the treatment of nicks, cuts and all types of topical problems on the skin. Corn was also used in other ways in the Native American traditional medicine system, for example, in his book the “American Indian Medicine”- published 1970, Vogel has writes that "the Chickasaw Indians treated itching skin, followed by sores when scratched, by burning old corncobs and holding the affected part over the smoke.", thus even the cobs were used by the native peoples in medicine.
Corn silk is also used in the medical system of China, where problems such as internal fluid retention and jaundice are treated using the corn silk.
The lowering of elevated blood pressure may also be made possible by taking corn silk as the remedy tends to reduce the retention of fluid in all tissues of the body, at the same time, the corn silk also helps in the quick detoxification and rapid elimination of all accumulated toxins and metabolic wastes in the body - due to this, the remedy aids in relieving the symptoms of gout and disorders associated with arthritis. As a remedy, it is considered to have a thorough but gentle detoxifying effect on the body.
Other medical uses
Habitat and cultivation
The corn is native to the Andean ranges and to areas in Central America, Peru could be its place of origin - these days, corn has become a major food crop of the world and is grown extensively around the world. In the springtime, the seeds are sown to propagate that year's crop of corn. The corn plant grows very quickly and the harvest of the ripe cob and the corn silk is carried out during the summer, these are carefully separated and used immediately or they are dried in the sun for storage and later use.
The flow of bile from the liver through the bile ducts is believed to be increased and affected by the corn silk, and the remedy is said to be capable of stimulating the production of bile in the liver - this property is very important and can benefit a lot of people affected by poor digestion. The effect of corn silk on blood pressure is currently being researched in China, corn silk has been found to be capable of reducing elevated blood pressures in patients, and it is also known to reduce the time that blood takes to clotting - thus decreasing blood loss during injury.
The corn silk can be taken in different forms for different disorders - it is usually taken in the form of an herbal infusion, though it can also be used either fresh or dried in these remedies. Dosage of the herbal corn silk infusion for the treatment of urinary tract infections is one cup, containing 200 ml or 8 fl oz, taken thrice each day of the treatment period until full recovery. For making a poultice, a decoction derived from the corn meal can be thickened and used; this can be applied directly on wounds and sores affecting the person. The herbal corn silk tincture is excellent in the treatment of disorders like cystitis, this herbal tincture of corn silk can also be taken at dosages of three ml-about 50 drops - at least thrice every day of the treatment period. Dosages of the same herbal tincture in the Chinese system of medicine is 15 to 30 g of the tincture or 3/4 - 1 1/2 oz per dose, taken thrice every day of the treatment period.
How it works in the body
The urinary tract region is the main area where the remedial actions of the corn silk are felt to the greatest extent. Various constituents of the corn silk perform different roles in the body, for example, the compounds called the saponins are said to be mainly responsible for all the anti-inflammatory action of the remedy and the compounds called the allantoin are the main healing agent in the corn silk remedy, a soothing effect as well as a demulcent action arises from the abundant mucilage in the corn silk, this serves to heal the irritated tissues and helps in tissue recovery. The overall diuretic effects of the herb is balanced by the presence of abundant quantities of the mineral potassium, the diuretic action affects the conditions of water retention in the body. The combination of an overall diuretic action and the presence of the mineral potassium benefits a variety of urinary tract disorders, and useful in the treatment of cystitis and prostatitis and all other urinary tract infections. An essential blood clotting factor in the body is the vitamin K, which is a fat soluble vitamin found in corn - this vitamin is essential for normal clotting of blood and the prevention of excessive bleeding following injuries.