Zea mays (L)
Synonyms: Stigmata maydis, Maidis stigmata, Indian corn, maize, Yumixu (Chinese)
Description: Cornsilk refers to the stigmas from the female flowers of maize., fine soft threads 10-20cm long. When fresh, they are like silk threads of a light green or yellow-brown colour; when dry, they resemble fine, dark, crinkled hairs.
Parts used: Stigmas and styles
Collection: The stigmas should be collected just before pollination occurs, the timing of which depends upon climate. Zea is best used fresh as some of the activity is lost with time.
Constituents: flavonoids, chlorogenic acid, saponins, volatile oil, fixed oil, resin, sugars, phytosterols, allantoin, tannin, minerals (especially potassium)
Actions: mild diuretic, urinary demulcent, tonic, antilithic
Indications: dysuria, cystitis, urethritis, nocturnal enuresis, prostatitis.
Therapeutics and Pharmacology: As a soothing diuretic, Zea is a useful remedy in any irritation of the urinary system. It is used for renal problems in children and as a urinary demulcent combined with other appropriate herbs in the treatment of cystitis, urethritis and prostatitis. The diuretic action is in part due to the high concentration of potassium. Zea was used in the past in the treatment of gonorrhoea. French herbalists use it to thin the bile and promote bile flow, and Chinese research confirms this action. It is also believed to lower blood pressure.
Combinations: Combines well with Agropyron, Arctostaphylos or Achillea in the treatment of cystitis, and with Agrimonia and Equisetum in enuresis. It may be used with Alchemilla arvensis and Eupatorium purporeum in phosphatic or uric acid gravel.
Caution: No contraindications are known
Preparation and Dosage: (thrice daily)
Regulatory status GSL
Dried: 2-8g or in infusion
Liquid Extract: 1:1 in 25% alcohol, 4-8ml
Tincture: 1:5 in 25% alcohol, 5-15ml
Syrup BPC (1923) 8-15ml
Additional Comments: Corn is a valuable cereal; the kernels have fibrous coats that help to relieve constipation, and contain starch, protein, and an oil rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which lower the risk of heart disease. In Chinese medicine cornsilk is used for oedema of various origin and for hepato-biliary disease.
BHMA 1983 British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, BHMA, Bournemouth.
Bradley, P.R. (ed.) 1992 British Herbal Compendium, Volume 1, BHMA, Bournemouth.
Grieve, M. 1931 A Modern Herbal, (ed. C.F. Leyel 1985), London.
Hoffmann, D. 1990 The New Holistic Herbal, Second Edition, Element, Shaftesbury.
Lust, J. 1990 The Herb Book, Bantam, London.
Mabey, R. (ed.) 1991 The Complete New Herbal, Penguin, London.
Mills, S.Y. 1993 The A-Z of Modern Herbalism, Diamond Books, London.
Polunin, M. and Robbins, C. 1992 The Natural Pharmacy, Dorling Kindersley, London.
Wren, R.C. 1988 Potter's New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations, C.W.Daniel, Saffron Walden.
Contact: email@example.com Please complete the 'Subject' heading or your email will be assumed to be spam and automatically deleted. Before you contact me, I'd be grateful if you would please check to see if this website has the answer to your question (search box at the top of the homepage) - I have time to answer only a few of the many emails that arrive in my inbox every day. See also the statement below:
For your safety I am prohibited from giving specific medical advice to individuals over the internet or telephone so please do not waste your time or mine by emailing or calling me with detailed information about your health problems - I can only undertake face-to-face consultations for what should be obvious reasons. Diagnoses cannot be made remotely, and I am unable to offer any advice or treatment until I am completely satisfied that I know what I'm dealing with! The herb profiles and treatment suggestions on this website will help enable you to choose which herbs might be appropriate for minor ailments. For more serious or chronic conditions you should seek professional advice. This is particularly important if you are taking medication from your doctor or pharmacist, as some herbs can interact adversely with other drugs. If you would like to have a consultation with a medical herbalist then you should click here then scroll to 'Professional Organisations' at the bottom of the page to find a qualified practitioner in your area.
Christine Haughton, MA MNIMH MCPP FRSPH
Wold Farm, West Heslerton, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 8RY, UK
Last updated 3rd September 2013 ęPurple Sage Botanicals