The long shiny fibers at the top of the corn are known as Indian corn or Corn silk (Zea mays). Indian corn can be employed to combat chronic or acute cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys), gout and rheumatism. It also has been known to counter kidney stones, oedema (fluid retention), fluid in the heart and acidosis (excess acid). It is helpful as a reliable diuretic and weight reducer as it neutralises and promotes the excretion of waste products containing uric acid.

It is an effective healing agent as it has a very soothing effect on the urinary passages.

It is also useful for acidosis, renal colic, oedema, fluid in the heart, incontinence and bed-wetting. Indian corn tea stimulates urination in the body which can be useful in treating a variety of urinary tract infections. An Indian corn infusion may also  be used as a non-irritating enema.

Corn on the cob is delicious and can be prepared in a variety of ways,

from boiling and roasting to manufacturing that cinema favourite – pop corn. But for herbalists, it is the part of the plant that is normally discarded which holds the most benefit.

While cornmeal makes a palatable and nutritious gruel  which can form an excellent part of a convalescent’s diet, any sick person would be better served if served the silky strands called Indian corn!

So next time you buy corn on the cob, cut off the corn silk before you cook your corn, and put them out to dry in the shade, for later use.

Corn silk can be used as a herbal tea and when taken in this form, it is a demulcent (an agent which soothes and protects the digestive tract) as well as being very soothing to the urinary passages to the point that some herbalists recommend it as an agent to counter prostate disorders.

Combined with other herbs, the following recipe for Cystitis (bladder infection) is taken from an old Herbal:

Mix all herbs into a bowl and then store the mixture in a sealed glass jar away from sunlight. Prepare the mixed herbs as a hot infusion. Drink 3–4 cups daily before meals.