Zea mays / Maisbaard

Corn and Cornsilk General InformationCorn has been used for ritual and medicinal uses as well as being a food source, since the time of the Mayans and Aztecs. To ancient Indians, Corn was a symbol of protection, luck, property, and wealth. They hung a sheaf of Corn above a mirror for good fortune, and wore necklaces of dried grains to prevent nosebleeds. The Indians also burned corn ears on the threshold of a bedroom to ward off a painful delivery, and placed an ear of Corn in the baby’s cradle for protection.

Corn Silk is a collection of the stigmas (fine, soft, yellowish threads or tassels) from the female flowers of corn called maize, and they are 4 - 8 inches long with a mild sweetish taste. The origin of Corn is impossible to trace, because it has been cultivated for so many centuries. It is thought to come from Mexico or subtropical regions and is cultivated in warm climates. Corn thrives in rich, well-drained soil in sun and may be propagated by wind pollination. Maize was eaten and considered an important food source throughout much of North America and Central America, and became the center of art and religious life for many American Indian tribes. Moreover, many tribes used it in a variety of medicinal ways. The name corn is actually derived from an Anglo-Saxon word for a collective group of grains of cereals grown for food. Maize/Corn did not actually reach the Old World until after Columbus discovered America. Corn is America's greatest contribution to the food of the world (both human and cattle feed).

Corn and Cornsilk Uses & Scientific Evidence For

Corn is best known for its ability to help prevent cardiovascular diseases by lowering cholesterol levels, but it also has regenerative properties. It is rich in essential fatty acids, which helps the rebuilding of cells, and in maintaining the hydration of the epidermis. Cornsilk is the yellowish thread-like strands called stigmas found inside the husks of corn. The stigmas are found on the female flower of corn and are collected for medicinal use before the plant is pollinated. Cornsilk is highly valued in herbology as a support to the urinary system. It contains silicon, B vitamins, PABA, and small amounts of iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Cornsilk is used to soothe the urinary tract and can give relief to the bladder, kidneys and small intestine. Cornsilk assists with prostate problems, bed-wetting, carpel tunnel syndrome, edema, and obesity. It has also been used to lessen the effects of premenstrual syndrome, and it promotes relaxation.

Corn oil a good preventative for cardiovascular disease and it is also a wonderful skin conditioner. It is found in hair conditioners, body-massage oils, emollient hand creams, lip balms, and facial care products for dry and damaged skin, baby skin, and mature skin.

Corn and Cornsilk Dosage Information

Corn and Cornsilk come in various forms and are ingredients in many products. For best results, read and follow product label directions. If using a tincture take 3 – 6 ml of the tincture three times a day.

The stigmas should be collected just before pollination occurs; the timing depends upon climate. It is best used fresh as some of the activity is lost with time. Tea/Infusion: Pour a cup of boiling water onto 2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10 – 15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

Combinations: Cornsilk may be combined with Couchgrass, Bearberry, Buchu or Yarrow for the treatment of Cystitis.

Corn and Cornsilk Safety & Interaction Information

There are no known safety issues associated with Corn and Cornsilk and is generally regarded as safe, except for those with corn allergies. It is recommended that young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease refrain from using Cornsilk.

Do not use Corn Silk if you also take Lasix (furosemide).

Antimicrobial Activities of Extracts and Flavonoid Glycosides of Corn Silk (Zea mays L)

Fazilatun Nessa*,a, Zhari Ismailb and Nornisah Mohamedb

Abstract: Corn silk refers to the stigmas of Zea mays L. (Gramineae) from the female flowers of maize. Based on its flavonoid contents, it is medicinally used in the treatment of a number of diseases. Screening of plants against pathogenic bacteria is an important step to validate its medicinal properties. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the antimicrobial activities of different solvent extracts, flavonoids of corn silk and compare the activities with standard antibiotic gentamycin. The petroleum ether (PECS), chloroform (CECS) and methanol (MECS) extracts (25 mg/mL) of corn silk were tested for their antimicrobial activity. Twelve pathogenic bacteria: Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter aerogenes, Salmonella typhi, Salmonella paratyphi, Escherichia coli, Shigella sonnei, Shigella flexneri, Proteus vulgaris, Proteus mirabilis and one yeast Candida albicans were used to investigate the antimicrobial activities of the extracts. Gentamycin (50 μg/mL) was used asreference antibiotic.

Two isolated flavonoid glycosides (2.0 mg/mL) of corn silk were tested for their antimicrobial activity.

The microbial growth inhibitory potential was determined by using the agar hole-plate diffusion method. PECS, MECS and flavonoids were active against eleven bacteria out of twelve bacteria. CECS was active only against five bacteria.

No extracts and flavonoids were sensitive against Escherichia coli and Candid albicans. The results were compared with gentamycin, which was active against all the bacteria tested. Extracts and flavonoids showed significantly (p<0.05) higher sensitivity against a number of bacteria than gentamycin.


[3] Maksimovic ZA, Malencic D, Kovacevic N. Polyphenol contents and antioxidant activity of Maydis stigma extracts. Bioresour Technol 2005; 96: 873-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ j.biortech.2004.09.006

[4] Maksimovic ZA, Kovacevic N. Preliminary assay on the antioxidative activity of Maydis stigma extracts. Fitoterapia 2003; 74: 144-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0367-326X(02)00311-8

[5] Mohsen SM, Ammar ASM. Total phenolic contents and antioxidant activity of corn tassel extracts. Food Chem 2009; 112: 595-8.

[6] El-Ghorab A, El-Massry KF, Shibamoto T. Chemical composition of the volatile extract and antioxidant activities of

the volatile and nonvolatile extracts of Egyptian corn silk (Zea mays L.). J Agric Food Chem 2007; 55: 9124-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jf071646e

[7] Guo J, Liu T, Han L, Liu Y. The effects of corn silk on glycaemic metabolism Nutr Metab (Lond) 2009; 6: 47-52.

[8] Rau O, Wurglics M, Dingermann T, Abdel-Tawab, M, Schubert-Zsilavecz, M. Screening of herbal extracts for activation of the human peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor. Pharmazie 2006; 61: 952-6.

[9] Waiss AC, Chan BG, Elliger CA, et al. Maysin, a flavone glycoside from corn silks with antibiotic activity towards corn earworm. J Econ Entom 1979; 72: 256-8.

[10] Guevara P, Perez-Amador MC, Zuniga B, Snook M. Flavones in corn silks & resistance to insect attacks. Phyton- Int J Exp Botany 2000; 69: 151–6.

[11] Habtemariam, S. Extract of corn silk (stigma of Zea mays) inhibits the tumour necrosis factor-alpha- and bacterial lipopolysaccharide-induced cell adhesion and ICAM-1 expression. Planta Med 1998; 64: 314-8.

[12] Elliger CA, Chan GB, Waiss AC Jr, Lundin RE, Haddon WF. Glycosylflavones from Zea mays that inhibit insect development. Phytochem 1980; 19: 293-7.

[13] Snook ME, Gueldner CR, Widstrom WN, et al. Levels of maysin and maysin analogues in silks of maize germplasm. J Agric Food Chem 1993; 41: 1481-5.

14] Sosa A, Rosa EL, Fusca MDR, Ruiz SO. Flavonoids and saponins from styles and stigmas of Zea mays L.

(Gramineae). Acta Farm Bonaerense 1997; 16: 215-8.

[15] Fazilatun N, Zhari I, Nornisah M. Phytochemicals from corn silk (Zea mays). J Trop Med Plants 2001; 2: 189-92.

[16] Ebrahimzadeh MA, Pourmorad F, Hafezi S. Antioxidant activities of Iranian corn silk. Turk J Biol 2008; 32: 43-9.

[17] Khan MN, Ngassapa O, Matee MIN. Antimicrobial activity of Tanzanian chewing sticks against oral pathogenic microbes Pharm Biol 2000; 38: 235-40.

Molecules. 2015 Dec 10;20(12):22102-12. doi: 10.3390/molecules201219835.

Safety Evaluation, in Vitro and in Vivo Antioxidant Activity of the Flavonoid-Rich Extract from Maydis stigma.

Peng KZ1,2, Yang X3, Zhou HL4, Pan SX5

This study aimed to assess the acute toxicity and safety of flavonoid-rich extract from Maydis stigma (FMS) in mice. The in vitro antioxidant activity of FMS was determined by 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and 2,2'-azinobis-(3-ethyl-benzthiazoline-6-sulphonate) (ABTS) scavenging assays. Furthermore, the in vivo antioxidant of FMS against ethanol-induced oxidative damage in mice was determined by analysis of the serum total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD) activity, malondialdehyde (MDA) content, liver tissue glutathione (GSH) content, and protein carbonyl (PC) content in liver tissue. The oral administration of FMS at doses of 30 g/kg did not cause death in mice, and there were no significant biologically adverse effects in mice. These results indicated that the median lethal dose (LD50) is higher than this dose. The IC50 values of FMS for the DPPH and ABTS scavenging activity were 50.73 and 0.23 mg/mL, respectively. Meanwhile, FMS could significantly enhance T-SOD activity, reduce MDA content in the serum, increase GSH content, and decrease PC content in the liver tissue at the tested doses (25, 50, 100, 200 mg/kg·day). These results indicate that FMS can be generally regarded as safe and used potentially as a bioactive source of natural antioxidants.

Nutr Res Pract. 2016 Oct;10(5):501-506. Epub 2016 Jul 4.

Corn silk extract improves cholesterol metabolism in C57BL/6J mouse fed high-fat diets.

Cha JH1, Kim SR2, Kang HJ2, Kim MH3, Ha AW1, Kim WK1.

Corn silk (CS) extract contains large amounts of maysin, which is a major flavonoid in CS. However, studies regarding the effect of CS extract on cholesterol metabolism is limited. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the effect of CS extract on cholesterol metabolism in C57BL/6J mouse fed high-fat diets.


Normal-fat group fed 7% fat diet, high-fat (HF) group fed 25% fat diet, and high-fat with corn silk (HFCS) group were orally administered CS extract (100 mg/kg body weight) daily. Serum and hepatic levels of total lipids, triglycerides, and total cholesterol as well as serum free fatty acid, glucose, and insulin levels were determined. The mRNA expression levels of acyl-CoA: cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT), cholesterol 7-alpha hydroxylase (CYP7A1), farnesoid X receptor (FXR), lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT), low-density lipoprotein receptor, 3-hyroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA reductase), adiponectin, leptin, and tumor necrosis factor α were determined.


Oral administration of CS extract with HF improved serum glucose and insulin levels as well as attenuated HF-induced fatty liver. CS extracts significantly elevated mRNA expression levels of adipocytokines and reduced mRNA expression levels of HMG-CoA reductase, ACAT, and FXR. The mRNA expression levels of CYP7A1 and LCAT between the HF group and HFCS group were not statistically different.


CS extract supplementation with a high-fat diet improves levels of adipocytokine secretion and glucose homeostasis. CS extract is also effective in decreasing the regulatory pool of hepatic cholesterol, in line with decreased blood and hepatic levels of cholesterol though modulation of mRNA expression levels of HMG-CoA reductase, ACAT, and FXR.

Nutr Res Pract. 2017 Oct;11(5):373-380. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2017.11.5.373. Epub 2017 Sep 14.

Corn silk extract improves benign prostatic hyperplasia in experimental rat model.

Kim SR1, Ha AW2, Choi HJ1, Kim SL3, Kang HJ4, Kim MH5, Kim WK1.

This study was conducted to investigate the effect of a corn silk extract on improving benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).


The experimental animals, 6-week-old male Wistar rats, were divided into sham-operated control (Sham) and experimental groups. The experimental group, which underwent orchiectomy and received subcutaneous injection of 10 mg/kg of testosterone propionate to induce BPH, was divided into a Testo Only group that received only testosterone, a Testo+Fina group that received testosterone and 5 mg/kg finasteride, a Testo+CSE10 group that received testosterone and 10 mg/kg of corn silk extract, and a Testo+CSE100 group that received testosterone and 100 mg/kg of corn silk extract. Prostate weight and concentrations of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), 5α-reductase 2 (5α-R2), and prostate specific antigen (PSA) in serum or prostate tissue were determined. The mRNA expressions of 5α-R2 and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) in prostate tissue were also measured.


Compared to the Sham group, prostate weight was significantly higher in the Testo Only group and decreased significantly in the Testo+Fina, Testo+CSE10, and Testo+CSE100 groups (P < 0.05), results that were consistent with those for serum DHT concentrations. The concentrations of 5α-R2 in serum and prostate as well as the mRNA expression of 5α-R2 in prostate were significantly lower in the Testo+Fina, Testo+CSE10, and Testo+CSE100 groups than that in the Testo Only group (P < 0.05). Similarly, the concentrations of PSA in serum and prostate were significantly lower in the Testo+Fina, Testo+CSE10, and Testo+CSE100 groups (P < 0.05) than in the Testo Only group. The mRNA expression of PCNA in prostate dose-independently decreased in the Testo+CSE-treated groups (P < 0.05).


BPH was induced through injection of testosterone, and corn silk extract treatment improved BPH symptoms by inhibiting the mRNA expression of 5α-R2 and decreasing the amount of 5α-R2, DHT, and PSA in serum and prostate tissue.

Molecules. 2019 May 16;24(10). pii: E1886. doi: 10.3390/molecules24101886.

Antihypertensive Effects of Corn Silk Extract and Its Novel Bioactive Constituent in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats: The Involvement of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibition.

Li CC1, Lee YC2,3, Lo HY4, Huang YW5, Hsiang CY6, Ho TY7,8.

Corn silk tea has been used in folk medicine for anti-hypertensive healthcare. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) plays a crucial role on the homeostasis of blood pressure. However, effects of corn silk tea on ACE activity and the presence of ACE inhibitory constituents in corn silk are still unknown. Here we applied proteomics and bioinformatics approaches to identify corn silk bioactive peptides (CSBps) that target ACE from the boiling water extract of corn silk (CSE). CSE significantly reduced systolic blood pressure (SBP) levels in spontaneously hypertensive rats and inhibited the ACE activity. By proteomics coupled with bioinformatics analyses, we identified a novel ACE inhibitory peptide CSBp5 in CSE. CSBp5 significantly inhibited the ACE activity and decreased SBP levels in a dose-dependent manner. Docking analysis showed that CSBp5 occupied the substrate-binding channel of ACE and interacted with ACE via hydrogen bonds. In conclusion, we identified that CSE exhibited anti-hypertensive effects in SHRs via the inhibition of ACE, the target of most anti-hypertensive drugs. In addition, an ACE inhibitory phytopeptide CSBp5 that decreased SBP levels in rats was newly identified. Our findings supported the ethnomedical use of corn silk tea on hypertension. Moreover, the identification of ACE inhibitory phytopeptide in corn silk further strengthened our findings.