Uses for Corn Silk

Corn Silk Uses

Few things in life are more delightful than discovering the goodness in something (or someone!) that the general population discards without a second thought.

Right now, in my part of the world, sweet corn season has reached its peak. If you’ve ever shucked a lot of corn, you’ll recall how pesky it is trying to get the silk off of the cob. You’ve probably even muttered some not-so-nice things about it, in the process. (I know I have!)

Well, today, we’re going to talk about a few of the wonderful benefits that corn silk has and why we should view it more as a blessing than a curse.

 

Corn Silk can be used to help alleviate symptoms that go along with the following conditions: bedwetting, cystitis, prostatitis, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, gout and hyperglycemia. (More details on those below.) It’s also a natural source of vitamin K and potassium.

To harvest your corn silk: Simply pull the golden-green strands off of the ears, when shucking your corn, and spread them out on a plate or paper towel to dry. Corn silk is best used fresh, or as a second best option – freshly dried.

Make sure you use homegrown or organic corn. The silk on conventional corn from the supermarket is likely loaded with pesticides that would be counterintuitive to our goal of increased health.

To make a tea: Use about 1 tablespoon of chopped corn silk per cup of almost boiling water. Cover and let this steep for fifteen to twenty minutes or until cool enough to drink. Strain. Sweeten with raw honey to taste, if you wish. You can store leftovers in the refrigerator for two to three days. Doses vary depending on your body weight and condition, but a general recommendation for adults is up to 1 cup of tea, two to three times during the day – avoiding the hours right before bedtime. Reduce doses for children accordingly.

 

corn silk tincture

To make an alcohol tincture: (You can also buy ready made tincture HERE from Mountain Rose Herbs.) Fill a small jar about 1/4 full of fresh, chopped corn silk. Fill the rest of the jar with a high proof alcohol such as vodka. Cap and let this infuse in a cool, dark place for four to six weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain and dose around 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, several times a day; reduce amount for smaller children. (Mix with a spoonful of raw honey for higher patient compliance & tastiness!) Shelf life of this is well over a year.

To make a glycerine tincture/glycerite: Another way to preserve your fresh corn silk, is to use vegetable glycerine to make a tincture, instead of vodka. Glycerites are more suitable for children, pets and those who wish to avoid alcohol. Using roughly two to three times the amount of glycerine than fresh corn silk, blend the two in a mini-food processor until thoroughly macerated. Pour into a jar, cap and store in a cool dark place, shaking daily. After two weeks, remove and strain your glycerite through a fine mesh sieve and/or several layers of cheesecloth. A suggested starting dose is 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, several times a day. (Reduce for smaller children.) Shelf life is about a year.

Corn Silk & Pets: Corn Silk can be used to treat many pets. (Yes, even cats – see HERE for info on naturally treating Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease.) The tea made with fresh silk works best, especially if you are targeting the urinary tract, but a glycerite can be helpful too. (Suggested tea dose: about 1/4 cup of tea per 20 lbs of body weight, twice per day. Glycerite dose: 1/4 teaspoon per 20 lbs, twice per day.) Not recommended for pregnant animals. Check with a qualified vet for further guidance on your pet’s particular situation.

If you have an allergy to corn or are taking a prescription diuretic, don’t take corn silk. If you have other medical conditions, are pregnant or nursing, have severe pollen or other allergies, or any general concerns, it’s a good idea to check with a qualified professional before use.

 

corn silk glycerite

Corn Silk for Bedwetting:

Corn Silk is a safe and gentle herb to use in the treatment of bedwetting. Use the tea or tincture during the day (up until about 4 or 5 hours before bed) to help strengthen a weak urinary system. You may want to combine it with plantain or yarrow for more effect.

Remember, there are many causes of bedwetting, including allergies, poor diet, deeper medical issues and stress. As a former “accident-prone” sufferer, I implore you to keep exploring options & examine every aspect of your child’s life, if the corn silk doesn’t seem to help after several weeks. In my case, I had a horrid elementary school teacher that made me a nervous wreck. It’s a very long story and I even ended up seeing a kidney specialist because of the severity of my problem… but, for the sake of brevity, I’ll jump to the solution: once I transferred schools, I never had an accident again.

 

Corn Silk for Cystitis, Prostatitis and Urinary Tract Infection:

Corn silk is anti-inflammatory and protects and soothes the urinary tract and kidneys. It acts as a diuretic and increases the output of urine, without adding further irritation to an already inflamed system.

For urinary tract infections, try combining with uva ursi or Oregon grape.

Saw Palmetto combines well with corn silk, to help reduce prostate inflammation and help with pain while urinating.

For cystitis, investigate yarrow as an accompaniment to your corn silk.

(These conditions can be serious. Be sure to work with a qualified professional who is aware of your medical history and inform them of any home remedies you are taking. Be especially sure to promptly inform your doctor or nurse if you develop blood in your urine or lower back pain. Avoid corn silk if you’re already on a prescription diuretic.)

 

Corn Silk and Kidney Stones:

Along with marshmallow root, corn silk may be helpful in easing the passage of a kidney stone. Some people are able to take corn silk for longer periods of time, as a tonic herb. This may help reduce incidents of flare ups while you work on underlying diet and stone triggering issues.

 

Corn Silk and Gout:

Many people report relief from gout after drinking corn silk tea. It could be that the diuretic action helps flush out excess toxins & waste. (Based on that premise, dandelion tea or tincture may help as well.) More studies need to be done on this connection, but it’s well worth a try. (Avoid this home remedy, if you are on prescription diuretics.)

 

Corn Silk and Hyperglycemia:

Type 1 diabetes runs in my family, so this use is of particular interest to me. Corn silk has been shown to lower blood sugar levels. For more information on this, check out the following studies:

 

A few other interesting studies on corn silk for my fellow science nerds:

 

One of my greatest joys is in helping people discover the benefits of things growing right around them. I hope this article, along with others I’ve written like it, help you realize that you don’t have to spend a fortune to make safe, simple & effective home remedies for your family. Look closely at what you have available and work with it! :)

As always, remember that I’m an herbal hobbyist who doesn’t know your medical history, so if you have any questions or concerns or signs of serious illness – be sure to consult with a qualified medical professional for individualized advice.

Throughout my blog, you will find links to Amazon.com and Mountain Rose Herbs. These are my affiliates which means if you click on the link and end up buying something, I earn a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you and you are under no obligation to use them, but they do help provide funds to cover blogging expenses. (Thank you for your support!)

Also shared on Homestead Barn Hop!

 

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44 Responses to Uses for Corn Silk

  1. Pingback: Grilled Sweet Corn with Fresh Herbs The Nerdy Farm Wife

  2. Paula Martin says:

    Love your posts! Every one! thanks!

  3. Jenny says:

    Oh my word, no wonder my goats and chickens go for the silk first when I shuck my sweet curb directly into the pen. There is so much information and knowledgeout there and so much to learn. Thanks for how simply you explain how you.do things or the benefits. Love getting an email from you.

  4. Wow!!! How cool to find out those darn corn silks could be useful. I have made corn cob jelly so now all parts can be used. Thanks for sharing!!!

  5. Jerica says:

    What a brilliant post! Thank you so much for sharing it on Wildcrafting Wednesday!

  6. Excellent post! I love that you have found something that just went into the compost heap and now I simply MUST tincture is as soon as possible!

  7. sunshine says:

    Luv ur blog!!!
    Ran across your blog searching for natural methods to help with chronic pain and now chronic water retention; I was a hobbyist herbalist most of my life, and heard of corn silk before as an aid, however, I needed a recipe.
    Thank You

    PS: I have been on prescription medication for 12 years and the side effects are sometimes disabling for me, most of which cause water retention. Since, I take Lassix for that side effect, I wonder about how long I should stop the prescription before trying the corn silk tea. What about raw corn silk on a salad?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Sunshine! :) If you plan to stop any medication, then you’ll definitely need to work with a doctor on that. Sometimes, they aren’t supportive of natural treatment and if that’s the case, you can ask around your local health store or check your phone book and try to find a naturopath or holistic doctor who can help you figure out the safest way to proceed. (That’s how we found ours, by asking the health store people who they went to see when they needed a doctor.)

  8. Sharon says:

    Thank you for all the usefull information. Needed this today.

  9. Saptieu Sarr says:

    Thank you Paula for sharing your knowledge; just want to add my long term suffering with foot pains to cut the story short; there was a day that i bought some corn and boil them the hush was piling so my mind just clicks why not boil the hust and silk together pour it into a plastic bowl and soak your feet in; I then straight away did it; and feel relief and ease; then continued with it for about five days now i am back on my feet.

  10. Michelle says:

    Interesting post Jan. Just shredding some come and googled the used for the silk, when I came upon your article. I strongly believe in using the things that God has blessed us with from nature to heal and take care of our bodies. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Martha says:

    One cautionary note – be sure you use organically grown corn. Conventionally grown corn pesticide sprays are aimed at the husks and the silk to deter pests that enter the ear that way and cause damage. If you are comfortable with the FDA assessment that the product is safe for consumption, remember the husk and silk are most likely not expected to be consumed. I would say better safe than sorry especially since we are learning amazing ways to care for our bodies from Jan, who I would like to say thank you for sharing all of this!

    • Jan says:

      Ah yes, that is a great point! When I get more time this evening, I’ll do an edit on the post to reflect the use of homegrown/organic corn. Thanks for the reminder! (and thank you for the kind words too!!) :)

  12. Kay says:

    It’s always wonderful to come across people like you who try to help others. Thanks a lot!

  13. joanne says:

    I’m have stage4 kidney failure due to an excess amout of calcium in my urine. I take potassium citrate and Lasix for it. I have been on this treatment for over a year now with no improvement. do you think this would be something beneficial to me instead of all these pills? I try to stick to a low calcium intake,my calcium count is very low but I can’t take any calcium suppliments for it. I also suffer from reoccureing kidney stones. I am interested in trying the cornsilk tea as an ulternative. thank you

    • Jan says:

      Hi Joanne, Since you’re on Lasix and have those kidney issues, you should double check with a nurse or doctor familiar with your health history to be sure. I would also suggest that you look in your area for a naturopathic doctor. They are trained to know both traditional medicine and natural remedies like herbs. I found mine by asking my local health store owners about doctors they liked. If your condition hasn’t improved for over a year, it does sound like a significant change is needed, but you’d have to do so under the supervision of someone who can safely adjust down your meds, as needed. Calcium has some important co-factors needed to make it go where it’s supposed to go such as vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium, etc so if yours is going in the wrong places (your kidneys), you might need more of those vitamins/minerals badly. It could also be diet related or genetics or all sorts of reasons, but a naturopath looks for the root cause and tries to address that, instead of just treating symptoms with more and more medications like regular doctors tend to do. If you can’t find a naturopath though, you could still ask your doctor about the corn silk. I hope you’re able to find something to help and best wishes for improved health!

  14. joanne says:

    also I would like to mention that my vitamin d level is very low and my kidney specialist that I see said I can not take any vitamin d supplaments because of the stage 4 kidney failure. he also told me that he will have to remove my left kidney and put me on dialysis for the rest of my life. I would like to throw all the pills away and try to go natural. thank you for listening , and trying to help me. joanne

  15. Heidi wilson says:

    First time I’ve seen your site and thank you! I am researching cornsilk and will be making some tincture to share with a class and I’m wondering if freezing the silk till use is as effective as drying it. I won’t have enough ready at the same time. Also I have a friend who will be saving me hers so wanted to know the best way. Thank you very much!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Heidi! I think freezing it should work great. You could also start the tincture with the little bit of corn silk you have and just keep adding more to the jar as you get it.

      • Heidi wilson says:

        Thanx so much, I appreciate you answering me. I found your site the most helpful I have found so far and will recommend you to others! Summer blessings!

  16. Who’d of thought it! I had no idea corn silk could be used for these health issues.

    Thanks!

  17. hayor says:

    Wow u don’t know what u have done on till you are seeing Gods blessing this is great

  18. This is really interesting. I never knew corn silk had any purpose other than simply making it down-right difficult to clean the ear of the corn ;) Thanks for teaching me something new!

  19. Barbara says:

    In the Philippines, this is a folk remedy, and I have made corn silk tea to help with my UTI. I always wondered if it was a viable remedy, and reading your article about corn silk was both enlightening and reassuring. Thanks for sharing this!

  20. Barbara Casarow says:

    sSomewhere in researching making soap I saw something about using silk in soap. Were they talking about corn silk?

  21. Rachel says:

    This is amazing. Is there anywhere I can by organically grown corn silk online?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Rachel! You should be able to find dried organic corn silk at on online herbal vendor such as MountainRoseHerbs.com or BulkHerbStore.com. You can also check your local farmer’s market or grocery store with an organic section for an ear of fresh corn to harvest from. (Just one ear has tons of silk to use.)

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