Corn silk is the long, silky threads that grow on corncobs.
Though it’s often discarded when corn is prepared for eating, it may have several medicinal applications.
As an herbal remedy, corn silk has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Native American medicine. It’s still used today in many countries, including China, France, Turkey, and the United States (
This article explains everything you need to know about corn silk, including its uses, benefits, and dosage.
What is corn silk, and how is it used?
Corn silk is the long, thread-like strands of plant material that grow underneath the husk of a fresh ear of corn.
These shiny, thin fibers aid the pollination and growth of corn, but they’re also used in traditional herbal medicine practices.
Corn silk contains a variety of plant compounds that may be responsible for various health effects.
In traditional Chinese and Native American medicine, it’s used to treat a variety of ailments, including prostate problems, malaria, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and heart disease (
More recent research indicates that it may also help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and inflammation (
Corn silk may be used fresh but is often dried before being consumed as a tea or extract. It may also be taken as a pill.
Corn silk is a type of natural fiber that grows on corn plants. It’s used as an herbal remedy for a variety of illnesses in traditional or folk medicine.
Potential benefits of corn silk
Although corn silk is routinely used in herbal medicine, studies on it are limited.
However, preliminary research suggests that it may have health benefits, especially for certain types of inflammatory conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
Antioxidants are plant compounds that protect your body’s cells against free radical damage and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is one of the major causes of a number of chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and inflammation (
Corn silk is a naturally rich source of flavonoid antioxidants.
Multiple test-tube and animal studies demonstrate that its flavonoids reduce oxidative stress and protect against free radical damage (
These compounds may be responsible for many of corn silk’s benefits.
Has anti-inflammatory properties
Inflammation is part of your body’s natural immune response. However, excessive inflammation is linked to a variety of illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes (
That said, human research is needed.
May manage blood sugar
Some research indicates that corn silk may lower blood sugar and help manage diabetes symptoms.
One animal study noted that diabetic mice given corn silk flavonoids had significantly reduced blood sugar compared to a control group (
Although these results are promising, human studies are needed.
May lower blood pressure
Corn silk may be an effective treatment for high blood pressure.
What’s more, a recent study in rats discovered that corn silk extract significantly reduced blood pressure by inhibiting the activity of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) (
In one 8-week study, 40 people with high blood pressure were given increasing amounts of this supplement until they reached a dose of 118 mg per pound of body weight (260 mg per kg) (
Their blood pressure dropped significantly compared to that of a control group, with those given the highest dose experiencing the greatest reduction (
Still, more human research is needed.
May reduce cholesterol
One animal study found that mice given corn silk extract experienced significant reductions in total and LDL (bad) cholesterol alongside increases in HDL (good) cholesterol (
Even so, human research is needed.
A handful of studies indicate that corn silk may reduce inflammation, blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. However, more research is needed.
Corn silk dosage
Because human research on corn silk is limited, official dosage recommendations haven’t been established.
A variety of factors could influence your body’s reaction to this supplement, including age, health status, and medical history.
Most available research suggests that corn silk is nontoxic and that daily doses as high as 4.5 grams per pound of body weight (10 grams per kg) are likely safe for most people (
That said, most labels for corn silk supplements recommend considerably lower doses of 400–450 mg taken 2–3 times per day.
It’s recommended to start with a low dose to ensure that your body responds favorably, then increase it gradually if necessary.
If you’re unsure about an appropriate dosage, consult your medical provider.
A recommended dosage has not been established for corn silk due to a lack of research. That said, it’s best to start with a lower dose to see how your body reacts.
Corn silk side effects and precautions
While very few adverse effects have been reported, corn silk may not be safe for everyone.
If you’ve experienced an allergic reaction to corn or corn products, you should avoid corn silk.
Furthermore, corn silk is not recommended if you take any of the following medications:
- blood pressure drugs
- diabetes medicine
- anti-inflammatory drugs
- blood thinners
Additionally, it’s important to consider the quality of the supplement you buy.
In certain countries, including the United States, herbal supplements are not regulated. Therefore, it’s best to choose a brand that has been tested by a third party, such as NSF International, ConsumerLab, or U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).
Be sure to check the ingredient list on the label, as other herbs are sometimes added.
If you’re uncertain whether corn silk is an appropriate supplement for your routine, consult your medical practitioner.
Corn silk is likely safe for most people. Still, you should avoid it if you’re allergic to corn or taking certain medications. Talk to your medical care provider if you’re unsure how this supplement will affect your health.
The bottom line
Corn silk is a natural corn fiber used in traditional Chinese and Native American medicine.
Research is limited, but some studies suggest that it may reduce inflammation, blood sugar, and blood pressure.
While corn silk is likely safe for most people, you should consult your medical practitioner before taking it.