What are the health benefits of corn silk? Does corn silk have any health benefits at all? Let’s take a look.
Everyone knows about corn silk. They are those long, silky threads that you can find on corn cobs.
Most users discard corn silk. However, research has shown that it may have a lot of medicinal benefits.
Corn silk has been used as an herbal remedy for a number of years. It has been greatly applied in Native American and traditional Chinese medicine. It is currently used in France, China, the United States & Turkey (1).
This article will explain in details the health benefits of corn silk.
CORN SILK AND ITS USES
Corn silk are those thread-like structures that are found beneath the husk of a fresh corn ear.
These thread-like substances play important roles in the pollination and growth of corn. They are also useful in traditional herbal medicine.
Corn silk has many phytochemicals that may have some health benefits.
The Native Americans and Chinese use corn silk to treat various ailments, such as malaria, prostate problems, heart disease, and urinary tract infections (1).
You may use corn silk in its fresh state, but it is usually dried before using as an extract or consumed as tea. Corn silk may also be taken in pill form.
POTENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF CORN SILK
They have a high antioxidant content
One of the health benefits of corn silk is that they are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that fight free radicals in the body. By so doing, they protect the body against the damaging effects of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress causes a lot of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and inflammation (1, 2).
One important antioxidant that may be found in corn silk is flavonoid.
Animal and test tube studies have shown that flavonoids reduce oxidative stress and protects the body against the damaging effects of free radicals (1).
We believe that these compounds play a very important role in many of the health benefits of corn silk.
Corn silk has anti-inflammatory effects
One of the ways by which the immune system responds to attack is by inflammation. However, when the inflammation occurs in excess, it leads to a variety of illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease (3).
Studies have shown that the extract of corn silk may reduce inflammation by inhibiting the actions of two important inflammatory compounds (1).
However, there is great need for human research to verify these effects on humans.
Corn silk helps in blood sugar management
One of the many health benefits of corn silk is its role in blood sugar management. Studies have shown that corn silk may enhance the reduction of blood sugar, while also helping in the management of diabetes symptoms.
A study carried out on diabetic mice showed that the flavonoids in corn silk caused a significant reduction in blood sugar levels compared to the control (6).
Also, a test tube research has shown that the antioxidants present in corn silk may help to prevent diabetic nephropathy (7).
It is expected that these promising results will be verified through human studies.
Corn silk improves blood pressure
The health benefits of corn silk will not be complete if we fail to mention its blood pressure-reducing effects. Studies have shown that corn silk may be very good for the treatment of hypertension.
Also, a recent animal study has shown that the extract of corn silk can reduce blood pressure by inhibiting the actions of angiotensin-converting enzyme (9).
In another study involving 40 human subjects, it was shown that blood pressure could be reduced by gradually increasing the intake of corn silk supplement. Subjects involved in this study were given increasing amounts of corn silk extract until they attained a dosage of 118 mg/pound of body weight (10).
However, we still need more human studies to verify these claims.
Cholesterol reducing effects
One of the many health benefits of cholesterol is that it reduces cholesterol levels (11).
An animal study showed that the administration of corn silk extract significantly reduced the amount of LDL and total cholesterol levels along with increases in good cholesterol (HDL) (12).
Another study involving mice fed with a high-fat diet, showed that administration of corn silk caused a significant reduction in total cholesterol level, compared to the control (13).
CORN SILK DOSAGE – HOW MUCH SHOULD I TAKE IN DAY?
Due to the limited human research on corn silk, no dosage recommendations have been made.
Many factors determine how your body will react to this supplement. These include health status, age, and medical history.
Current research has however shown that corn silk is nontoxic and that humans are safe with doses as high as 4.5g per pound of body weight (1).
However, most supplement labels recommend a dosage below 400-450 mg administered twice to thrice daily.
If you wish to take corn silk supplement, you should begin with a low dose and then increase it gradually if your body responds favorably to it.
If you are not sure about the right dosage, please consult your doctor.
THE SIDE EFFECTS OF CORN SILK
Although corn silk does have many negative effects, the fact is, it may not be good for everyone.
If you are allergic to corn or its products, then you should keep away from corn silk.
Also, corn silk is contraindicated for people who take the following medications:
- Blood pressure medications
- Blood thinners
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Diabetes medication
Also, corn silk should be avoided if you are taking potassium supplements, or you’ve recently been treated for hypokalemia. This is because corn silk may increase the excretion of potassium (1).
Also, you should take into consideration the quality of the supplement that you purchase.
Herbal supplements are not regulated in many countries. Thus, if you are purchasing one, ensure that it has been tested by a third part, like ConsumerLab, NSF International, or US Pharmacopeia.
Always take note of all the ingredients on the product label.
If you are not sure whether corn silk is good for you, please consult your healthcare provider.
We have discussed the health benefits of corn silk in this article. Corn silk has been used for centuries by the Native Americans and Chinese.
There are limited studies on the health benefits of corn silk, but available research shows that it may reduce blood pressure, blood sugar, and inflammation.
Corn silk is generally safe, but it is important that you consult your doctor prior to taking it.