Corn Silk: A Natural Remedy for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Green corn field growing up

Fresh corn-on-the-cob may be a favorite grilling vegetable but don’t toss out its outer shell too quickly. Indigenous Americans and communities throughout Latin America, Central Europe, and the Middle East have long used corn silk as a remedy for urinary tract infections, kidney and bladder infections, bed-wetting, as well as prostate problems. [1]

Many of you may be asking, “But what about cranberry juice? Isn’t that the tried and true all natural go-to for UTIs?” Because of its bitterness, cranberry juice most often contains sugar which can actually contribute to bacterial overgrowth. It can also sometimes irritate the bladder or aggravate preexisting acid reflux.

Like cranberries, corn silk is a diuretic that flushes the system and makes you urinate but it also contains unique anti-inflammatory compounds as well as Vitamin K and potassium, which support blood circulation. Note that corn silk’s high amounts of potassium can interact with some blood pressure medication so you should check with your doctor if you have questions about this.

Use non-GMO corn or organic corn if possible. Most standard corn in the US is sprayed with chemicals or is derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) which have been shown to have potential negative effects on human cells. [2] If organic corn is not in season or you can’t find it, most herbalists or apothecaries should have it.

The tea that’s made from corn silk is very mild: It tastes like sweet corn water. It generally resolves mild UTIs within 3-5 days. According to many herbalists, small amounts of corn silk tea are safe to drink during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, and for children but, as with any herbal remedy, consult your physician if you have concerns.

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[1]  A 2012 article published in the Journal of Intercultural Ethnopharmocology reports scientific evidence for corn silk’s healing properties.

[2]  See Arjun Walia, “10 Scientific Studies Proving GMOs Can be Harmful to Human Health,” April 8, 2014.

 

 

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