Uses for Corn Silk

Have fresh corn? Don’t throw away that corn silk!

Corn Silk can be used to help alleviate symptoms that go along with: bedwetting, cystitis, prostatitis, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, gout and hyperglycemia.

It’s also a natural source of vitamin K and potassium.

Herbal Uses for Corn Silk - 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.

Few things in life are more delightful than discovering the goodness in something 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.

To harvest 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.

Basket of fresh corn

To make an alcohol tincture:

Fill a small jar about 1/4 to 1/3 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. Adult dose around 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, several times a day. (Mix with a spoonful of raw honey for higher patient compliance & tastiness!) Shelf life of corn silk tincture is well over a year.

You can also buy ready made corn silk tincture (extract) from Mountain Rose Herbs.

To make a glycerin tincture/glycerite:

Another way to preserve fresh corn silk, is to use vegetable glycerin to make a tincture, instead of vodka. (You can buy pure, organic vegetable glycerin from Mountain Rose Herbs.)

Glycerites are more suitable for children, pets, and those who wish to avoid alcohol.

Using roughly two to three times the amount of glycerin 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. 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.While this site does its best to provide useful information, any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk and not a substitute for medical, legal, or any other professional advice of any kind.

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, helps 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! :)

Originally published July, 2013, updated August, 2021.

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70 Comments

  1. Pingback: Grilled Sweet Corn with Fresh Herbs The Nerdy Farm Wife
  2. 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.

  3. 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!!!

    1. I haven’t tried corn cob jelly yet; it’s still on my giant want-to-try-one-day list! But, yes – it’s great to be able to use pretty much every part of a plant. :)

  4. 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!

  5. 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?

    1. 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.)

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

    1. 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!!) :)

  9. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

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

    Thanks!

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

    1. 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.)

  13. I never knew about this corn silk use:) so thank you for the info.
    One quick question, you don`t cook it only put it in almost boiled water and then let it cool down right, cos I came across a video on You Tube that said that you need to boil it for some time and then drink it after cooling down.
    He pointed out your page for the info.
    So I am a bit confused.
    Hope you can clear it up for me:)
    Thank you.
    Best wishes, Tessa

    1. Hi Tessa! You’re right, it only needs to be made like a tea and not boiled for some time. Would you mind sending me the link to that video – I’d like to check it out. Thanks! :)

      1. so weird I put in the video link but then the comment doesn`t get in ggrr:(
        oke will try it in different way:)
        the video of Dr Greger is this one

        /watch?v=RVvw5kiO8u8
        put in front you tube dot come

        and the video where the guy put in your webpage is this one

        /watch?v=To6551jMN0s

        hope this can put in a comment lol

        1. Hi Tessa,
          Sorry about that! Sometimes comments end up in the spam box – especially if they have a link in them. I try to go through and fish them out, but with hundreds of spam coming in each day (even with three spam filters installed!!!), it’s impossible to find them all.
          I will certainly check out those videos as soon as my internet allowance regenerates! Thank you so much for linking them for me! :)

  14. Jan,
    love this site! there is always such great information on here. We just moved from the city to a small 2.5 acre house in the country. The previous owners didn’t really use the land so it is really overgrown. I have a lot of cleaning, plowing and chain sawing to do this year so next year I can start my gardens! As a mom of 5 I cant wait to get my kids involved with the gardens and just get them outside. I wish I could borrow you for a few weeks so I can learn everything you know! lol! For now I will start with your ebooks. Thank you for sharing

    1. Thanks Tammy! How wonderful to have your new land to explore! It will be fun to see what types of plants you uncover while you clear the area. I still have a lot to learn myself! :) Every year I progress a little bit more – it seems slow, but it’s steady. Now I see why our grandparents were such expert gardeners. They just kept at it year after year, learning with each season’s successes and failures. This year we FINALLY got corn to turn out beautifully. (After a lot of years of rather sad corn lol.) Enjoy your new land! :)

  15. How do I store corn silk? Can I dry it and freeze it. I’d like to be able to keep it during winter months

    1. Hi Brenda! I think you could try drying and freezing it. Since you can buy it dried at places like Bulk Herb Store, it seems to me that you could dry it and then store it in a small jar (like a canning jar), out of direct sunlight. (A dark cupboard would be best.)

  16. This is INCREDIBLE!! Thanks for the knowledge on corn silk – my mouth is agape with surprise at what we can do with the whole corn plant! I have just had a spare moment to uproot a few corn that I plant in my garden, as Autumn arrives. They are all baby corns, and as I made to throw the silk away, I instinctively felt that there must be a usefulness for the corn silk as they were pretty to the touch and soothing. Hence I googled it and came to your website!

    What a wealth of amazing information I got here. Thanks Jan! Am totally bowled over! Would be making loads of teas, and sharing the knowledge.

  17. I’m sitting here sipping corn silk and peppermint tea looking for ideas on how to use up my fresh corn/corn silk that I bought at the farmer’s market last week- northern CA markets are insanely good for most of the year.

    I’d love to put some in soaps and creams but I am not setup for that in my small kitchen.

    I have added it to chicken broth in the last 40-60 min of simmering. The taste is almost like a mild popcorn tea, not bad but not that great. Tonight I added peppermint tea, which is not too strange considering the corn silk has some menthol phytochemicals in it, and it overpowers the corn silk taste.

    Great blog!!

  18. First heard of the benefits of corn silk by local doctor in Trinidad(West Indies) on radio programme so I was seeking the views of other sources.The info confirmed
    his revelation and testimony of those who benefited from the corn silk tea. Many thanks for your comprehensive suggestive usage of corn silk

  19. Hi, I am having terrific results drinking corn silk tea a couple 3 times a day for my over active bladder. Now when I have to go it’s with a full bladder and am no longer getting up several times a night to pee, getting a good nights sleep is priceless!….Not to mention no “accidents” any more.

  20. Hi, Jan,
    Thanks for this great info! I’m interested in using silk in a vodka tincture, as it seems the easiest way for me to use it. But my intended benefit is to help with hyperglycemia — I’m wondering if the alcohol would be counter-productive in this application, since it’s not recommended for diabetics.
    What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Karla, That’s a great question! I’m not 100% sure on the best way to go; you’d definitely want to run anything by your primary health care provider who is familiar with your history & blood sugar levels. One option they might approve of is to use the tincture, but drop it in a hot liquid like tea or coffee to help some of the alcohol evaporate out. Tinctures are so concentrated, you don’t need much to be effective. (My ND told me that some cough syrups have more alcohol than a diluted tincture.) Another option is to use it to make tea, or you could simmer a small amount in broths or soup & bypass the alcohol completely.

  21. Hi Jan. I love your posts and have something to add. This is about the bedwetting issue. I had that problem for years of my childhood. It is a difficult thing for all involved. My problem was solved when my Dad told me to stop sleeping on my stomach and sleep on my back. Maybe I was in 3rd grade by then? It stopped that night and never returned. Mom asked him why he didn’t think of that earlier? I am 65 now and am going to try corn silk tea to help with the urgency issue. I am ever grateful to you and your readers!

    1. Hi Connie, Thanks for sharing! That’s so interesting to hear & I know will be helpful for others visiting this page too! Thank you! ❤

  22. Great article today! Each spring I gather a small handful of dandelions to make into tea for me and my grands. They love it and appreciate the nutrients and vitamins present. I was careful to add the petals to boiled water to steep – not boil them in water to steep. It is so hard to write directions when you know what to do but writing it is so much more difficult. You have done a great job in your instructions. I see now when there are no more dandelions, I have another gift from nature to tide me over – corn silk tea. THANK YOU so much for this information!

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