Part Used: Fresh stigma & style ("silk")
Corn Silk (Zea mays) refers to the stigmas from the female flowers of maize, which are fine soft threads. When fresh, they are like silk threads of a light green or yellow-brown colour; when dry, they resemble fine, dark, crinkled hairs. The stigmas (fine soft, yellowish threads) from the female flowers of maize from 4 to 8 inches long and of a light green, purplish red, yellow or light brown colour, stigmas bifid; the segments very slender, frequently unequal, nearly odourless, and faintly sweetish taste. The active constituenst in the dried Corn Silk are maizenic acid, fixed oil, resin, phytosterols, allantoin, tannin, minerals (especially potassium), chlorophyll, sugar-gum extractive albuminoids phlobaphine salt, saponins, cellulose and water. It is used as diuretic, demulcent, anti-inflammatory, tonic, anodyne, alterative, lithotriptic.
Corn Silk is helpful in any irritation of the urinary system, as a soothing diuretic. It is used for renal problems in children and as a urinary demulcent combined with other herbs in the treatment of cystitis, urethritis, and prostatitis. It is a mild stimulant, diuretic and demulcent, useful in acute and chronic cystitis and in the bladder irritation of uric acid and phosphatic gravel; has also been employed in gonorrhoea. The diuretic action is in part due to the high concentration of potassium. It 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.
Purple Sage Botanicals. http://www.purplesage.org.uk/profiles/cornsilk.htm