(adapted from Kitchen MedicineHome Remedies, p76)

Corn, maize, Indian corn or sweetcorn (Zea mays) has become the leading global cereal crop, and supplies food for humans and animals, corn oil, syrup and starch, breakfast cereal, popcorn and bourbon whisky.

It is also an estimable herbal remedy, with the cornsilk that feathers the cob being used to make a tea that helps treat urinary tract infections, kidney dysfunction and oedema (water retention), and the cornflour a good substitute for talcum powder.

Tropical talcum powder.
James Duke, The Green Pharmacy (1997)

Midwestern manna.
AA Gill, Table Talk (2007)

Cornsilk tea

Buy fresh, milky cobs and collect the silk threads (the part you usually throw away). Make a herbal tea from either fresh or dried cornsilk, about a tablespoonful if fresh or a teaspoonful if dried, infusing in a cup of boiling water. Leave to brew for at least five minutes.

Use for cystitis, bladder irritation or fluid retention.

A homemade foot powder

Sieve together 1 cup cornflour (cornstarch), 0.5 cup of turmeric powder and 0.5 cup bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), or equivalent proportions.

Store in a dry jar and use a small amount daily to keep feet from smells or fungal infections such as athlete’s foot (be careful as it is a messy fine powder and the turmeric can stain things).