cornsilk large Cornsilk

Cornsilk | Zea mays

general characteristics

general characteristics

Common names include cornsilk with the whole plant commonly called sweetcorn, Indian corn and maize. It is a member of the grass family, Graminaceae.


Cornsilk is the name given to the tassel like 'silks' (botanically speaking, these are the stigma from the female flowers) that protrude from the top of each individual cob. The plant has both male and female flowers. The corn plant is an annual plant (completes its entire growth cycle in one growing season) thought to be a native of the Americas and brought into Europe in the 15th century. It is now grown as a major food crop the world over and is an excellent food in its natural state.


Cornsilk tincture and dried herb are available to buy in our herbal shop.






harvesting and preparation

harvesting and preparation

Corn grows well enough in Britain and when planted as seed in Spring will produce ripe juicy cobs complete with silks, ready to harvest around August/September. Plant the corns in blocks, not rows as the flowers are wind pollinated. Block planting ensures a better crop of cobs and therefore silks.
Harvest the silk when the cob is large and mature but before the silks dry out and go brown (indicating the readiness of the cob for eating), simply cut them off the end of the cob. When you come to harvest the cob itself, remember to make use of the additional silk found inside the cob, beneath the leaves. Lay the green/yellow silks on a tray lined with newspaper and allow to dry fully before rubbing them between the hands to crumble or powder it and store the silks in an airtight jar in a cool dry place. Eat the fresh corn as soon as possible after picking, raw or cooked. The cobs themselves can also be dried to ensure seeds for next year or to grind into corn meal which is also very nutritious. Leave on the plant to dry or bring into a warm place indoors.
Cornsilk looses its potency after around a year of storage.

Cornsilk tincture and dried herb are available to buy in our herbal shop.



therapeutic actions and uses

therapeutic actions and uses

Cornsilk is categorised by herbalists generally as a genito-urinary system tonic herb. It soothes, protects and heals the mucous membranes of the urinary system organs (kidneys, bladder and prostate) where they are irritated or damaged (such as from stones, gravel or infection), cleanses the urinary system, encourages the kidneys to excrete excess water so is a useful diuretic and alleviates inflammation in the entire urinary tract. Its diuretic effect encourages the retention of sodium and the excretion of potassium. Paradoxically, it lessens the need to urinate when the bladder has become overactive or when the prostate is enlarged.


It is rich in potassium, silica, B vitamins, vitamin K.

Cornsilk is perhaps most known for its effectiveness as an anti-inflammatory for urethritis, prostatitis (and prostate problems generally), cystitis and interstitial cystitis, burning or pain on urination generally, bladder and other urinary tract infections (especially when combined with urinary antiseptics). Its diuretic action enhances urine output and helps to flush out bacterial infection. It is also safe to use during pregnancy.


Even though it is a diuretic, cornsilk is often used to help treat urinary incontinence (including stress incontinence from sneezing, coughing etc) and bed wetting in children as it tones and strengthens yet at the same time sedates the bladder tissues. It will also cleanse the genito-urinary system of purulent mucous (aka pus) and catarrhal and waste deposits.


Cornsilk can help to prevent, dissolve and disperse kidney stones and gravel in the system. It can also give relief to mild nephritis, renal colic and other kidney infections in combination with other herbs such as marshmallow root, yarrow and antimicrobials such as buchu. If you are prone to kidney or bladder stones, take a cup of cornsilk tea daily to help prevent their formation. Cornsilk can also help to lessen bags or dark circles under the eyes, both of which can indicate underlying kidney issues. It is a great ingredient for a kidney cleanse herbal formula.


It also helps to protect the kidneys from certain toxins. This could make cornsilk a potentially useful herbal tea to lessen the toxicity of certain prescribed drugs perhaps.


Cornsilk tea and tincture are known to be quite potent antioxidants, equal to vitamin C.


Cornsilks have a blood glucose lowering action so can be used to help control high blood sugar in diabetes. The silks not only increase insulin secretion (thereby lowering blood sugar) but also increases the amount of sugar stored in the liver as glycogen. Here is a research study detailing the effects of cornsilk on glycaemic metabolism.


Cornsilk can be used in gout to help cleanse excess uric acid from the body. It can also be useful as part of natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatism.


The diuretic action means that cornsilk is useful in a formula for water retention (oedema). It is also used in weight loss programmes.


Its diuretic properties lead to a reduction in blood volume so it can be used to help lower high blood pressure.


Cornsilk is often used in a formula for sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhoea.


It also thins bile and promotes its flow from the gallbladder, helps relieve gallbladder inflammation and irritation and has been shown to lower blood lipids in those with high cholesterol. It works well as a joint kidney/liver cleanser and toner.

The silks when fresh or dried can be applied to wounds to help draw out pus and encourage healing.


It can be taken as a tea to help ease depression and nervous or physical exhaustion.


Here is a link to an excellent review into the medicinal uses of cornsilk.



dosage and cautions

dosage and cautions

* Cornsilk is considered a safe herb with no known harmful interactions. However if you are taking a diuretic remember that cornsilk is also a diuretic!

* Most herbal authorities agree that the silks are most effective when used fresh or freshly dried as they lose their potency quite rapidly.

* Don't use in the late evening if treating bed wetting, use throughout the day with the last dose in the late afternoon /early evening.


Dried or fresh silks in tea form: up to 2 teaspoons per cup, 3 times daily

Tincture: ranges from 3-6 mls to 1-3 teaspoons in a little water, 3 times daily

The fresh silks can also be eaten raw , they have a mild slightly sweet taste.




Add 12 to the child’s age. Divide the child’s age by the total.
E.g. dosage for a 4 year old...... 4 {age} divided by 16 {age + 12} = . 25  or 1/4 of the adult dosage.





Child watering plants




© the wild pharma 2013 | tel: +044 [0]1435 831 525 | email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Terms of using this website