Corn Silk

Corn Silk (Zea mays)

Family: Poaceae

Parts commonly used: Stigma (fine, soft threads) from the female flower (ear).

Properties/energetics: Diuretic, demulcent, tonic/Cool, amphoteric energy having both drying and moistening potential; sweet and astringent.

Systems predominantly affected:  Genitourinary, circulatory.

Uses: Used for acute inflammation of the genitourinary system such as urethritis, cystitis, and prostatitis. This herb is especially useful for conditions of purulent (pus-forming) decomposition of urine in the bladder. It will cleanse the bladder membranes in cystic catarrh and will manifest antiseptic action when in the presence of morbid deposits. This is one of the most valued of urinary sedatives for treating bladder infections for children. The demulcent action is helpful in treating bed-wetting, especially when this condition is due to weakness or irritation of the renal system. (Note: Use fresh green Corn Silk or recently dried silk from organically grown and unsprayed corn. The silk should smell and taste like young, sweet corn. Or use a liquid extract of this fresh stigmata. The dark red-brown color of Corn Silk that is frequently sold indicates that it is old, oxidized, and essentially useless.)

Combinations: Combines well with plantain, St. John’s Wort, and Agrimony to strengthen the bladder and allay bed-wetting. For bladder infection, combine with Bearberry and Couch Grass. Combines with Couch Grass, Saw Palmetto, and Yarrow for treating prostatitis and an enlarged prostate.

Affects on specific body types: This sweet, slippery herb is soothing, strengthening, and cooling to hot irritated tissue. Its remarkable ability to relieve the discomfort of a burning, inflamed urinary tract, burning urethritis, cystitis, prostatitis, and/or undue urgency and frequency of urination make it a phyto hero for those with a Warrior-dominant constitution and for any child or adult person with weak bladder control.

Preparations/dosage: Eat the fresh (undried) silk like you would fresh, young corn on the cob. It is sweet and nourishing. Infusion: Infusion of the fresh silk is the most active preparation. 1 cup three times a day, though not at bedtime when treating bed-wetting. Tincture: 30 to 50 drops two to five times a day.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition