Corn silk, Stigma maydis, has a long history of use in the traditional medicines of China and America. The herb which is the stigmas or pale yellow strands that surround a cob of corn is known as yu mi xu in Traditional Chinese Medicine. There is one strand of silk for each kernel of corn.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) lists it as a neutral temperature and sweet flavoured herb which has influence over the Liver, Gall Bladder and Urinary Bladder. Its main functions are:
- promotes urination
- stops bleeding
- clears damp heat from Liver and Gall Bladder
Corn silk has been traditionally used for oedema and to stop nose and gum bleeds.
The herb has been researched for various pharmacological functions including: antioxidant, diuretic, blood glucose reduction, anti-diabetic, anti-fatigue, anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory. Most of the research has been from animal and ‘test tube’ studies however this herb does have a long history of traditional use .
I often suggest this herb to my patients who may benefit from its diuretic (or damp draining) action. It can be easily (and cheaply) made into a tea and is a great way to use one of the by-products of delicious sweet corn.
How to make corn silk tea
- Take corn silk from one ear of corn and rinse.
- Add it to saucepan with 2 cups of water.
- Boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Strain liquid into a cup and enjoy.
You may drink several cups per day of this mild, pleasant tasting tea. Other herbs may also be added to the tea for flavour or other functions. If you are taking medications consult with your practitioner before using corn silk tea.
Corn silk also can be purchased dried as a herb tea.
Feeling damp? Here are some more ideas for draining dampness.
To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture). Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.