Corn stigmas

Corn stigmas

Corn stigmas

Specification & Spread

Corn stigmas (cornsilk) — styli cum stigmatis zeae maydis
Corn — Zea mays L.
Grass family – Poaceae (Gramineae)
Other names: maize

It is an annual herb 1-3 m tall.
The stems are solitary, knotty and not hollow. The leaves are linear and large.
The dicate flowers are staminate, gathered in apical panicles. The pistillate flowers are  in axillary cobs covered with bracts. The fruit is a corn seed which is yellow-orange in colour. The corn seeds are gathered in a cylindrical cob in vertical rows.

It blooms in July – August, the fruits ripen in September – October.

Spreading. The country of corn is Southern Mexico and Guatemala. In the wild state is unknown. It is cultivated everywhere as a grain, silage and medicinal culture. In Russia, the main growing areas are the Central Chernozem region, the Lower Volga region, the North Caucasus and the southern regions of the Far East. Habitat. It grows mainly on fertile and moderately humid soils.


In the corn stigmas there are found:

  • vitamins K1, E, ascorbic and pantothenic acid,
  • carotenoids,
  • as well as fatty oil (up to 2.5%),
  • bitter substances (up to 1.2%),
  • saponins (up to 3%),
  • tar,
  • gums,
  • mucus,
  • organic alcohols.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The pistillate stabs with stigmas (corn hair») are harvested in summer or early autumn in the phase of milky-wax ripeness of the cobs, in August-September when harvesting corn for silage or when harvesting cobs for grain. The blackened tops of the stabs covering the leaves are removed.

Security measures. It is forbidden to break off the stabs with the stigmas on the plantation during the flowering period, since the fertilization cycle is interrupted.

Drying. It is dried outdoors at shady place, with good ventilation or in dryers at temperatures up to 40 °C. The raw material is laid out in a layer of 1-2 cm. When it is slowly dried, it turns brown, moldy, and when dried it is crushed

Storage. The raw materials are packed by pressing into bales or fabric bags. It is stored as hygroscopic raw materials in dry and well-ventilated areas.

Whole raw materials

Soft silky threads (stabs), gathered in bunches or partially entangled, at the top of which are bilobed stigmas. The stabs are somewhat curved, flat, 0.10–0.15 mm wide, 0.5–20 cm long, the stigmas are short, 0.4–3 mm long. Often there are stabs without stigmas. The colour is brown, brown-red and light yellow.
The smell is weak and peculiar.
The taste is with mucous flavour.

Milled raw materials

The threadlike pieces are passing through a sieve with holes of 7 mm in diameter. The colour is brown, brown-red and light yellow.
The smell is weak and peculiar.
The taste is with mucous flavour.

Properties and application

Pharmacotherapeutic group. Choleretic, diuretic and hemostatic agent.
The stabs with corn stigmas have choleretic properties. It increases the secretion of bile, reduces its viscosity and bilirubin content. The action is associated with the entire amount of substances contained in it. Corn stigmas also possess diuretic properties.
The oral application of corn stigmas there was revealed an acceleration of blood clotting and an increase in prothrombin due to vitamin K.
Corn stigmas affect carbohydrate metabolism, as it contains glycokinins – substances of hypoglycemic action.
Phytohemagglutinins have been found in corn stigmas, which are being studied as potential antitumor agents.

Application of corn stigmas

The preparations of corn stigmas are used as cholagogue agents.

It is used in:

  • cholecystitis,
  • cholangitis,
  • gallstone disease
  • hepatitis.

It is especially effective with insufficient bile secretion.
It is used as a diuretic:

  • in urolithiasis,
  • in inflammatory diseases of the urinary tract and prostatitis,
  • in diseases involving microscopic and gross hematuria,
  • as well as with glaucoma.

Corn stigmas are effective:

  • with bleeding, with a low prothrombin index;
  • with diseases of the oral cavity (gingivitis, periodontal disease, etc.).

Application of corn seeds

Corn seeds containing up to 70% starch, proteins, up to 57% fatty oil (in the bud), are used as a food product. From the grains can be get:

  • starch amylum maydis and
  • fat oil Oleum Maydis.

In medicine, the starch is used in the form of mucous decoction,
the fatty oil is for the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis.

It is contradicted with hypersensitivity to the preparation, cholelithiasis, pregnancy, lactation, child age up to 12 years.