Managing diabetes involves maintaining blood sugars within a target range. Although more research is necessary, corn silks may provide a natural option to help reduce blood sugars.
Corn silk refers to the threads that grow on corn cobs. People have used corn silk as an herbal remedy for centuries in traditional Chinese and Native American medicine. Proponents suggest that it may have several medicinal applications, which may include reducing inflammation, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
In this article, we will discuss corn silk and whether it can help a person to manage diabetes.
Diabetes refers to a group of conditions that impacts how the body processes blood glucose.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
However, some people may instead choose to use complementary and alternative medicines to help control their blood glucose. Research suggests a high prevalence of alternative options, such as herbal remedies, among people living with diabetes.
Corn silk, also known as Stigma Maydis, refers to a traditional Chinese medicine.
Corn silk describes the thread-like strands that grow underneath the husk of a fresh ear of corn. These thin fibers contain plant compounds that may be responsible for various health benefits. Some evidence suggests that corn silk may possess antidiabetic properties.
However, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NICCH) notes that it is vital that a person
Proponents of corn silk suggest that its natural compounds may be beneficial for managing blood sugars.
For example, a
Aside from its potential antidiabetic properties, proponents suggest that corn silk may also offer other health benefits. In traditional medicine, people have used corn silk for swelling and urinary problems.
A 2020 review suggests that possible benefits may include:
- Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory: suggests that the compounds present in corn silk are rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This could provide a protective effect against different conditions. For example, a
2019 papersuggests it could protect against skin damage.
- Antihyperlipidemia: A
2016 mouse studysuggests that corn silk possesses anti-hyperlipidemic activity. Another 2016 mouse studyalso indicates that corn silk can help improve cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of cardiovascular conditions.
- Lowering blood pressure: A
2019 mouse studysuggests that corn silk can help lower blood pressure. Similarly, a 2019 systematic review and meta-analysisnotes that corn silk tea could help improve the effect of antihypertensive drugs and could offer a natural alternative treatment option.
- Treating kidney stones: A 2021 mouse study indicates that sugars present in corn silk can help reduce kidney damage and promote uric acid excretion. As such, corn silk could act as a dietary supplement to help reduce kidney stone formation.
- Reduction of nephrotoxicity: A
2018 mouse studysuggests that corn silk can help reduce kidney damage that may occur as a side effect of a certain anticancer drug. Similarly, a 2020 mouse study also adds that corn silk extracts may help to protect the kidneys.
A 2020 review suggests that corn silk is a safe and nontoxic natural product. However, most studies investigating the potential benefits of corn silk are animal studies. As such, further research is necessary to test the safety and risk of potential adverse events in humans.
Therefore, if people are taking medications for the following conditions, it is advisable that they consult their diabetes care team before using corn silk:
- high blood pressure drugs
- blood clotting
Furthermore, herbal supplements do not undergo regulation in the U.S., and there is not much information available on dosages.
If a person wishes to use a corn silk product, it may be advisable to discuss this with a healthcare professional and to look for products with verification from reputable organizations, such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia.
In traditional medical practice, people can use corn silk to produce a tea. Additionally, some people may also add corn silk to their food, as proponents suggest it improves the nutritional profile without affecting the taste.
Corn silk is also widely available as an oral supplement, as capsules, powders, or liquid extracts.
Managing diabetes typically involves a multifaceted approach. Generally, it involves making lifestyle adjustments to help control blood sugar levels and maintain them in target ranges. This
- consuming a varied dietary plan
- regular exercise
- checking blood sugars
Additionally, a doctor will likely prescribe
However, some people may prefer using alternative therapies that may help with the management of diabetes. The
- alpha-lipoic acid (ALA)
- herbal supplements, such as fenugreek, ginseng, and milk thistle
Although some of these options may show potential benefits, it is not advisable to try them without first consulting a person’s diabetes healthcare team.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires treatment to help a person manage their blood sugar levels. In addition to treating the condition with medication and behavioral changes, there is a growing interest in alternative options such as corn silk.
However, while some research suggests it may have beneficial properties, current evidence is mostly from animal studies. As such, further research in humans is necessary to understand its safety profile and whether it can help with controlling blood glucose levels.
If a person is considering corn silk products, it is advisable that they consult with their diabetes healthcare team, as the herbal supplement may interact with current medications.