What Are the 4 Highly Medicinal Values of the Humble Corn Plant?

Closeup of an ear of corn in a corn field.

Corn is one of the most widely planted grains in the world and all parts of the plant have medicinal value. (Image: Woraphon Banchobdi via Dreamstime)

During the middle of the 16th century, the corn plant was introduced to China. Corn, rice, and wheat are the three major crops grown worldwide and are often recognized as the “golden crops.”

Corn’s nutritional content is second only to soybeans.

100 grams of corn contains:

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● Protein (8.5 gm)

● Fat (4.3 gm)

● Carbohydrates (72.2 gm)

● Calcium (22 mg)

● Phosphorus (210 mg)

● Iron (1.6 mg)

● Vitamins B1 and B2, carotene and niacin

Experts in the field of nutrition have indicated that corn lacks some important amino acids. Foods such as beans, rice, and white flour are high in these missing amino acids. It is highly recommended to combine these foods together with corn to make up the complete proteins your body needs for optimum growth and development.

Chipotle spicy chicken lunch bowl with rice corn, beans, lettuce, jalapenos, and lime wedges.
It is highly recommended to combine corn with foods such as beans, rice, and white flour to get all the essential amino acids. (Image: Elena Veselova via Dreamstime)

Beneficial uses of corn plant parts: silk, kernel, oil, roots (SKOR)

1. Corn silk is most commonly used to treat edema and hypertension

Corn silk, the hair-like fibers found inside the corn husk of the corn plant, is the most commonly used part of the whole corn plant for medicinal purposes. These silk fibers are simmered for use as tea. Based on Chinese medicine, corn silk is said to contain sweetness, gentleness, mildness, and warmth. It has a number of effects on the body such as increased fluid elimination, improved bleeding control and blood coagulation, increased bile production, and blood pressure reduction. In clinical use, corn silk is used to treat edema and hypertension caused by kidney inflammation. Thus the curative effects are obvious; it’s a stable and cheap treatment option, and worthy of promotion.

2. Corn kernels are a good source of beta carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A

There are two types of corn: yellow and white. The yellow corn contains high levels of carotene. Beta carotene is the compound that gives the vivid red, yellow, and orange coloring to vegetables. Our bodies convert beta carotene into Vitamin A (retinol). Vitamin A is a vital nutrient for our vision, as a long-term lack of it leads to dry eye disease, that is, the conjunctiva and cornea get dry, and eventually this can lead to night blindness. Its role is critical for our cell growth and maintaining healthy organs such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys.

Yellow and white corn sitting out at a vegetable market.
There are two types of corn: yellow and white. (Image: Darryl Brooks via Dreamstime)

3. Corn oil lowers blood lipids

Corn oil is an ideal edible oil for patients with coronary disease. The use of corn oil is said to be good medicine. Long-term consumption of corn oil can lower blood cholesterol and soften arteries. It is ideal for the elderly and patients with arteriosclerosis, coronary disease, hypertension, fatty liver, and obesity. Corn oil is a highly nutritious edible oil. For those who have consumed corn oil for a long time, their blood lipids have decreased significantly and their illnesses have been known to improve.

4. Corn Root is a folk remedy for kidney and bladder (urinary) stones

Severe Vitamin A deficiency can lead to urolithiasis (kidney stones). In folk remedies, this disease is treated by boiling corn roots or leaves to extract their essence, and then drinking the decoction frequently.

Folk recipes for preventing various illnesses

1. Diabetes:

● Simmer 30 g of corn silk in enough water to make two servings of a soup.

● Drink the soup twice per day, one half per serving.

● The effects will be shown after consuming for 10 consecutive days. It is safe for people to drink it for a long period of time.

A dish filled with corn silk sits next to an ear of corn and a cup of soup.
It is safe for people to drink corn silk soup for a long period of time. (Image: Heike Rau via Dreamstime)

2. Chronic nephritis, edema, urinary problems:

● 30 grams of corn

● 15 grams of corn silk

● Add an appropriate amount of water similar to making tea.

● Drink this decoction instead of tea.

3. Pulmonary tuberculosis:

● 60 grams of corn silk

● An appropriate amount of rock sugar

● Decoct in water

Precautions when eating corn

1. Corn products are hard to digest; therefore, those with weak spleen, stomach, and poor digestion should eat them with caution.

2. Do not consume corn as a staple food for a long period of time.

3. Patients with diabetes, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia should avoid eating corn.

4. Don’t eat spoiled corn. Corn can become carcinogenic if it is left to become damp, mildewy, and old.

Translated by Patty Zhang and edited by Maria Me 

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