What is Corn Silk?
Corn silk is the name used for the threads, known as stigmas, found at the top and sides of a corn stalk. The female corn plants use these tassel-like fibers to catch the male plant pollen. People usually toss away as a by-product of the corn husk when preparing it for food. However, it has treated a host of ailments for generations. Corn silk is a regular staple of Native American and Chinese medicines and many European traditions. (x)
The botanical name for corn, Zea mays, comes from a Hopi word that translates to “cause of life” or “our mother.” Corn silk, also known as stigma maydis in Latin, has many benefits. These include treatment of inflammation and enlarged prostate. It’s also a go-to for bladder and urinary tract infections and kidney stones. It might even help manage hypertension and diabetes. Using corn silk tea is said to help children overcome bed-wetting.
In the old days, people boiled corn silk and drank it as tea. Now, its extract is available as a dietary supplement in powder, liquid or capsule form. With this added convenience, it has never been easier to reap the benefits of this powerful plant.
Corn Silk Benefits
Corn silk is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium and sodium. Corn silk contains more potassium per gram than bananas. It also contains compounds called flavonoids, which benefits your body. Of the flavonoids found within it, researchers believe one called maysin is accountable for some of its unique therapeutic effects. (x)
Flavonoids are compounds that act as antioxidants. Antioxidants are essential to prevent oxidation, a process that breaks down cells and can be detrimental to your body’s optimal health. Besides the applications mentioned below, it promotes overall cellular health.
For centuries, people have benefited from corn silk within traditional herbal medicine. Now, exciting new research is underway to establish the benefits that have made it so coveted. Some included:
- Helps Treat Urinary Health
Corn silk extract acts as a diuretic, meaning it helps flush water through the urinary tract and out of the body. It is also a demulcent, which refers to its ability to soothe urothelial surfaces. (x) Thus, one of the most common uses for this extract is to help maintain the urinary tract’s health or ease specific urinary ailments. (x)
If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you know it can be painful and inconvenient. The antibiotics often used to treat them can also cause unwanted side effects. Historically regarded as an effective remedy for UTIs, modern studies are now supporting corn silk as a health condition solution. In one study, however, 42 men and women with active UTIs experienced a continual reduction in their symptoms after five, 10, and 20 days of using the extract. (x)
- Flushes Out Kidneys
Corn silk extract can also reduce kidney stones by flushing out the mineral debris that can accumulate in the urinary tract. A study of kidney repair using corn silk on rats supports the extract as a useful solution for repairing damaged kidneys. (x)
A medical report states several studies substantiate the validity of corn silk as a promising therapy for your kidneys. Natural antioxidants and other corn silk components are the reason for successful treatments to the urinary tract. (x)
- Prostate Health
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or BPH, is a common occurrence in men marked by an enlarged prostate gland. While usually not harmful, it can cause troublesome symptoms, including increased frequency and urgency of urination.
Prescription medications exist for these symptoms, but corn silk extract may be a natural way to reduce them. Humans have used it for this purpose for a long time, and animal research confirms its efficacy. In one clinical study, for example, researchers synthetically induced BPH in rats by injecting testosterone. Upon treatment with corn silk extract, the symptoms were then dramatically reduced. (x)
- Reduces Blood Pressure
Research suggests that corn silk extract can help with hypertension (elevated blood pressure), thanks to its high potassium content. A study supports its effectiveness as a dose of the extract significantly lowered participants’ blood pressure within hours. (x) Because hypertension is a potentially serious medical condition, it’s essential to check in with your healthcare professional before managing it with supplements.
- Lowers Blood Sugar
When blood sugar is chronically elevated, as is often the case in people with diabetes, it’s called hyperglycemia. Uncontrolled hyperglycemia can cause a variety of symptoms and even lead to a medical emergency.
Corn silk extract is a traditional “anti-diabetic” and can help manage blood sugar levels. Specifically, it can help reduce blood sugar during times of hyperglycemia. Animal research found that water extracts of corn silk lower blood sugar levels in diabetic mice by increasing insulin and repairing the pancreas’ damaged cells — the organ that produces insulin. (x) (x)
Another study reports that corn silk also improves cell dysfunction and targets pathways to enhance insulin action as additional benefits if you have diabetes. (x) Again, because diabetes is also a severe medical condition, be sure to consult a professional before treating this ailment with supplements.
Corn silk has anti-inflammatory properties — phytochemical. Phytochemicals are nutrient compounds you find in plant foods. In studies, researchers noted an interruption of the normal functioning of many pro-inflammatory compounds. Taking the corn silk increased vascular permeability while inflammation reduced. (x) For those dealing with chronic inflammation, corn silk may help manage symptoms with fewer side effects than standard anti-inflammatories.
Oxidation describes the normal process that occurs during oxygen metabolism in the body. This process creates “free radicals,” which can damage cells unless neutralized by antioxidants. Oxidation provokes chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. (x) Corn silk extract is a rich source of natural antioxidants — particularly flavonoids. Studies found it reduces oxidative damage in mice at about the same level as vitamin C. The supplement may also encourage the body’s own antioxidants production. (x) (x)
Corn silk extract may also help increase endurance and fight fatigue. In a study, animals given the extract had higher glycogen levels (fuel) in the liver and showed greater exercise tolerance. (x) It can also reduce oxidative damage in the muscle after strenuous exercise, improving the recovery rate. (x) For those looking for a pick-me-up before or after the gym, this extract may be for you. But, talk with your physician before starting any new supplement.
Corn Silk Supplement Dosage
Considered safe, corn silk and its extracts may help you. (x) But because of a lack of modern human studies, there isn’t a specific dosage recommendation. Consider reading the product label and see what the recommended dosage is best for you — follow that or check with your doctor. For beginners, try 1200 mg (1/2 tsp) dose daily with water is a reasonable amount to start. Consult with a healthcare professional to tailor your dosage depending on the particular application. (x)
Where to Buy Corn Silk Extract?
You can purchase corn silk extract at BulkSupplements.com. The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor for pure dietary supplements. BulkSupplements.com is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other food and supplement brands to make their products. All products at BulkSupplements.com are manufactured and tested according to current and proper manufacturing practices.
Are you interested in trying corn silk extract? Contact BulkSupplements.com to place an order.
Corn Silk Extract Side Effects
Using corn silk for medicinal applications has shown a super low occurrence of mild side effects. (x) The rare instances reported include:
- Lowered Potassium
Those who already have decreased blood potassium levels may have some difficulties.
- Allergic Reaction
- Low Blood Sugar
Because corn silk naturally lowers blood sugar levels, please consult with a physician before taking the supplement if you already have issues with low blood sugar.
- Potential Adverse Combinations
Though rare, there is the possibility of adverse reactions when taken in combination with certain medications. If you are taking any prescription medications or other herbal supplements, consult with a healthcare provider before adding corn silk to your regimen. He or she can work with you to catalog your medications and see how they might interact with a supplement.
The Bottom Line
Since ancient times, cultures have used corn silk to help ease various health concerns. When prepared as a strong tea, the silk threats worked as a medicinal treatment such as inflammation, enlarged prostate, bladder problems, urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
With a host of benefits and very few side effects, corn silk is an established folk remedy for some of the most common conditions—the accumulated wisdom of the ages confirmed by modern science and accessed through a convenient powdered extract.
Whether used for a urinary tract infection, your child’s bed-wetting or an energy boost, corn silk offers many potentially significant applications. Even if you want a little more push at the gym, this extract can make a noticeable difference before and after competitive sports or a personal workout.
The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.