Corn (Zea mays)is high in fiber thus helpful for proper digestion. It is also high in B vitamins and we all know how good those are for you. It is especially high in niacin, pantothenic acid, and thiamin.
Zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese are found in corn. Corn is a good source for antioxidants including carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin which are good for your eyes. The kernels are rich in vitamin E which helps protect the body from illness and disease.
Corn oil and corn husk oil used for cooking have been shown to reduce cholesterol with regular use. A return to the traditional three sisters, (corn, beans, and squash) diet has been shown to reduce hyperglycemia-induced pathogenesis and associated complications linked to cellular oxidation stress and hypertension.
Some version of maíz can be found in nearly every meal of the day in Mexico. Atole for breakfast. Tortillas for lunch. Pozole, enchiladas, quesadillas, and tacos for dinner. Even snacks are corn. Elotes (corn on the cob) on a stick smothered in mayonnaise and chili powder are common evening edibles. A cup of maizena (corn starch) is just the thing before bed. Tortillas left over from lunch might be toasted into tostadas and enjoyed with any number of toppings.
It comes as no surprise that even the corn silk has value in Mexican culture. The caballitos de elote (little hairs of corn), also known as barbas de maíz (corn beard), are considered especially good for renal ailments.
My little green herb book, Antiguo Recetario Medicinal Azteca, provides a recipe for a tea to be drunk at room temperature. Boil 15 grams of caballitos de elote in one liter of water, adding alfalfa or barley if desired. Drink three to four glasses throughout the day.
Corn silk tea functions as an anti-inflammatory and diuretic, which of course supports the use of it in treatments for kidney issues. It also helps with water retention during PMS and is often given to the elderly to help with incontinence. PMS tea is made with dandelion leaves, barbas de maíz, and uva ursi.
Corn silk can be used topically to treat spider bites or other insect stings as an infusion to bring down the inflammation. This is for common bites or stings only. Poisonous spider bites or scorpion stings should be treated by a professional healthcare provider.
Corn silk tea is thicker than you might think and for all intents and purposes tastes like diluted corn starch. If your body is already low on potassium, drinking corn silk tea could make the problem worse since it primarily works as a diuretic.
Another precaution you should take is to ensure that the caballitos de elote should come from non-GMO, organically grown corn. Mexico has prohibited the planting of GMO corn but pesticide use is alive and well.