CORN SILK, Zea mays graminaceae for urinary tract and men's prostate health
The Indians grew corn in the new world a longtime before Columbus discovered America. Indian corn has been found in ruins throughout most of North and South America. It was many years after Columbus brought corn to Europe that it was used as a crop. It is still more widely used in the Americas than anywhere else. In the Americas, it is used for a vegetable as well as a grain.
When the Indians hulled and dried corn, they called it hominy. When it is ground, fine, medium and coarse it is called grits. In the South it is still is a popular dish (my wife really like grits). South of the border, they like to grind the yellow corn and make cornmeal. From this many foods can be made, such as cornbread, spoon bread, johnny cakes, hasty puddings, hush puppies and tortillas. Oh yes, and let's not forget POPCORN, the great American snack.
And yet, there is another use for this wonderful corn plant. The silk from the plant has been used for many hundreds of years as an aid to the health of man. Corn silk is a diuretic, to help the secretion and flow of urine. It is also a demulcent to soothe and protect the inflamed tissues of the kidney, bladder and the urethra.
Many years ago, there was a man named George who had painful urinations. To compound the problem, the urine flow was very scant and would burn and irritate. In the hospital they tried everything, but George never really got well. They put in a catheter and this relieved the pressure somewhat, but he was still in pain. They suggested that his wife take him home.
It was early autumn and a friend came to visit George. The weather was nice and the friend suggested they go for a walk, even though it was difficult. As they walked and talked, they passed a neighbor's place who had many stalks of corn growing in his garden. George's friend said, “Have you tried corn silk for your problem?” George said “What do you mean, what has corn silk got to do with my urinary problem?” The friend told George that when he saw that bunch of corn he just remembered something. When he was a small boy, his father was very sick with a urinary problem. He said “We didn't know what was wrong with Pa, but he would groan a lot and he spent a lot of time in bed. One day, the doc came out from town and talked to Ma and Pa. Pretty soon, Ma said to my brother and me that we should go pick some corn and bring it in. We got about a dozen ears. We thought she was going to give them to the doc, but Ma said to take the silk out of the cobs and put them in a pan of water. She made some tea and gave it to Pa. Within a week or so, Pa was well enough to work out in the yard.”
George and his friend stopped in and asked his neighbor if they could get some corn. They made some corn silk tea. Within a few days, his urination was much easier and George felt much better.
Everyone knows what corn and corn silk look like, so we won't bother to try to describe them. Most everyone has had a pain in the back in the kidney area, or has had a bladder infection, or burning urination or cystitis. Many men have had the pain of a swollen prostate gland and scalding urine. There are many diuretics that will help these problems. Perhaps the least known diuretic is corn silk. It can be eaten raw, used as a tea, or taken in a capsule or in tincture form. Corn silk can also be used as a poultice over afflicted areas. Corn silk is used in Grandma's herbal Prostate and Kidney formulas. Corn silk is also used in helping to overcome bed-wetting problems in children and some other adults.
Gather corn silk before the pollen drops from the flowers. This should be quickly dried in the shade. Don't let it get dark. Sometimes we don't realize how great some simple plants are.