Corn silk tea is made from what we used to refer to as a waste product. It is that silky part of maize that you usually removed before boiling of roasting your corn-maize. Isn’t it a wonder that what was supposed to be a waste is now something to fall back to for much of our health conditions? It, absolutely, is.
Corn, also known as maize belongs to the family of Poaceae or Gramineae. It is said to be indigenous to Mesoamerica and was domesticated in Mexico some 9000 years ago. From there, it has spread the world over, and is even a staple food in most African countries.
All parts of corn are useful, including the silks. The silks are elongated stigmas which look like tuft of hairs. Its color at first is light green. Later, the corn silks turn into red, yellow or light brown. The function of corn silk is to trap pollen grain for pollination. But that is not all there is about corn silk; this amazing material possesses several bioactive compounds that treat several health diseases. It is fortified with lots of antioxidants and polyphenols, which when you drink corn silk tea, are supplied to your body systems.
Corn silk tea has been used as traditional medicine in many parts of the world, like China, America, Turkey, and France. It has been used for the treatment of cystitis, edema, kidney stones, diuresis, prostate disorder, and urinary infections as well as bedwetting and obesity. It soothes and relaxes the lining of the bladder and urinary tubules, hence reducing irritation and increasing urine secretion.
Phytochemical contents of corn silk
Phytochemicals are the non-nutritional bioactive compounds, which you can find in various parts of plants. In plants these compounds perform vital functions particularly to protect themselves from predators and harsh environmental conditions. But that is not all, these compounds are also important in pharmaceutical and medicinal fields due to their antioxidant, antimicrobial, and other biological properties.
The phytochemicals present in corn silk include phenolic acids, flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins, saponins, sterols, carotenoids, volatile compounds and vitamins, such as vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin E.
Health benefits of corn silk tea
As i pointed out earlier, corn silks possess several phytochemicals which confers on them the ability to treat certain health conditions. Some of the health benefits shall be discussed in details in this article, and you shall see the correlation between the phytochemicals present in corn silk and the health benefits.
Corn silk tea is good for depression
Corn silks possess rich content of flavonoids and phenols, which may have contributed to the use of corn silk tea for treatment of depression. A study conducted on this showed that corn silk could be a reliable and accessible alternative medication for depression and, even anxiety disorder.
It also means that corn silk tea may be just good for bed time, after dinner, just like spearmint tea. In case you find it difficult falling asleep during bed time, you may just drink a cup of corn silk tea to calm your nerves and induce a sleeping mood to your body. This way, you could sleep well and wake up greatly refreshed.
Corn silk tea may lower your cholesterol level
Hyperlipidemia refers to the elevation of plasma lipids such as triglycerides, total cholesterols, cholesterol esters and phospholipids. This leads to a pathological condition which plays a major role in the development of atherosclerosis and is recognized as a risk factor for the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases.
The flavonoids present in corn silk were shown in a study to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, significantly. It was also shown that the administration of the flavonoids did not reduce the level of high density lipoproteins, making corn silk a potent alternative medicine for protecting against atherogenesis.
Can lower blood sugar level
Hyperglycemia is associated with diabetes and obesity. But regular intake of corn silk tea will reduce this high glucose level and keep your sugar level in check.
Can be used to treat diabetes
Patients with diabetes mellitus are characterized by high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) due to a lack of insulin secretion, insulin action, or both. The anti-hyperlipidemia and anti-hyperglycemia properties of corn silk tea make it a good remedy for treatment of diabetes.
Aside lowering of blood sugar and lipid levels, corn silk also enhances the insulin sensitivity of your cells, thereby improving glucose transportation across cellular membrane. You may drink corn silk tea while taking medication. This may quicken the process of healing.
Corn silk tea possesses antioxidants
Oxidative stress can cause a number of diseases including atherosclerosis, neurodegenerative disorder, and cancer, diabetes, inflammatory and aging. Natural antioxidants scavenge the free radicals released by oxidative stress and prevent them from attacking your cells.
Corn silk is rich in vitamin C and vitamin E, which are strong antioxidants. It also contains phenolic compounds which act as natural antioxidants.
Antioxidants restore youthful skin and protects against autoimmune diseases such as ischemic stroke and rheumatoid arthritis. You may combine corn silk and blue oyster mushroom and make a tea with them. This will greatly improve your health and strengthen your immunity.
May increase diuresis and kaliuresis
Diuresis is a discharge of urine in a large amount, while kaliuresis is the secretion of potassium in a large amount in urine. Corn silk tea may increase the volume and frequency of your urine. It also increases potassium excretion. This may be helpful for someone who wants to lose weight.
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Corn silk possesses anti-inflammatory compounds
This tea may be good for pain relief, and for arthritic patients. Its anti-inflammatory compounds suppress the release of pro-inflammatory compounds and hence, suppress pain. In traditional medicine, corn silk tea has been used in treating edema, including skin edema. It is also used as analgesic tea. If you take the corn silk tea on a regular basis, you may protect yourself from inflammatory responses.
Corn silk tea can protect your kidney
Another important function of corn silk tea is its protective role on the kidney. Some toxic compounds like lead gentamicin usually accumulate in the body and become toxic to the body. These substances go on to form kidney stones and adversely affect the function of the kidney affected. But the antioxidants and phenolic compounds present in corn silk protect your kidney from such toxic substances. The diuretic activity of the tea may also contribute in the excretion of those toxic substances.
May prevent cystitis
cystitis is an inflammation of the urinary bladder, usually caused by bacterial infection. Cystitis may be developed by anyone, but it is more common among women. It often causes constant urination. This infection can be treated by drinking corn silk tea. This is likely due to the present of tannins and saponins in the silk, and some alkaloids as well.
Who may not take corn silk tea?
Although corn silk possesses such a wide array of health benefits, it may not be taken without your doctors permission.
There is currently no scientific work on the effect of corn silk on pregnant or nursing mothers. It is therefore advisable to avoid corn silk tea if you are pregnant or nursing a baby.
Corn silk tea recipes
You can prepare your corn silk tea by using the fresh silk or a dried one. It all depends on the availability of the corn silk and ease of preparation.
Dried maize silk tea recipe
To prepare a corn silk tea from dried corn silk, you would need to source a much quantity of corn silk as possible. Spray those silks on a clean platform and allow to dry under shade from sunlight.
- Two spoonful of dried corn powder
- A spoonful of ginger powder
- A lemon or orange
- A honey
- Heat two cups of water in a pot till it boils
- Add the silk and ginger powders in a cup
- Add a cup of hot water into the cup
- Allow to steep for about 10 minutes
- Strain your tea into a tea cup
- Add lemon or orange juices for flavor
- For a sweet taste, add honey and stir.
- Serve hot or warm
Fresh maize silk tea recipe
- Boil sliced pieces of ginger roots in a pot for about 10 minutes
- Add the corn silk and lower the temperature.
- Allow to steep for another 10 minutes
- Strain your tea and add lemon and honey for sweet flavor and taste respectively.
- Enjoy your tea.
Hasanudin, K., Hashim, P., & Mustafa, S. (2012). Corn silk (Stigma maydis) in healthcare: a phytochemical and pharmacological review. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 17(8), 9697–9715. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules17089697
Hasanudin, Khairunnisa & Hashim, Puziah & Mustafa, Shuhaimi. (2012). Corn Silk (Stigma Maydis) in Healthcare: A Phytochemical and Pharmacological Review. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). 17. 9697-715. 10.3390/molecules17089697.
Hu, Q.L.; Zhang, L.J.; Li, Y.N.; Ding, Y.J.; Li, F.L. Purification and anti-fatigue activity of flavonoids from corn silk. Int. J. Phys. Sci. 2010, 5, 321–326
Nawaz, Haq. (2018). Phytochemical Composition: Antioxidant Potential and Biological Activities of Corn. 10.5772/intechopen.79648.
Ebrahimzadeh, Mohammad & Mahmoudi, Mitra & Ahangar, Nematollah & Ehteshami, Saeed & F, Ansaroudi & F, Nabavi & M, and. (2009). ATIDEPRESSAT ACTIVITY OF COR SILK. Pharmacologyonline. 3. 647-652.