HOME      •      SEARCH      •      EMAIL    •     ABOUT

Family Graminaceae
Zea mays

Pao mi

Scientifica names  Common names 
Mays vulgaris Ser. Gahilang (Ig.) 
Mayszea cerealis Raf. [Illegitimate] Igi (Bon.) 
Mayszea vestita Raf. Mait (It.) 
Zea alba Mill. Mañgi (Ibn.) 
Zea americana Mill. Tibi, (Bon.) 
Zea amylacea Sturtev. Tigi (Bon.) 
Zea amyleosaccharata Sturtev. ex L.H.Bailey Corn (Engl.) 
Zea canina S.Watson Maize (Engl.) 
Zea cryptosperma Bonaf. [Illegitimate]  
Zea curagua Molina  
Zea erythrolepis Bonaf.  
Zea everta Sturtev.  
Zea glumacea Larraãga  
Zea hirta Bonaf.  
Zea indentata Sturtev.  
Zea japonica Van Houtte  
Zea macrosperma Klotzsch  
Zea maiz Vell.  
Zea mays L.  
Zea mucronata Poit. ex Vilm.  
Zea odontosperma Ten.  
Zea oryzoides Golosk.  
Zea rostrata Bonaf.  
Zea zaccharata Sturtev.  
Zea tunicata (A.St.Hil.) Sturtev. ex L.H.Bailey  
Zea vulgaris Mill.  
Zea mays L. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
ARABIC: Dhurah, Dhurah shamiyah, Surratul makkah.
CHINESE: Yu mi xu, Zhen zhu mi, Bio gu, Bio lu, Pao mi.
CROATIAN: Kukuruz.
DUTCH: Maïs, Korrelmaïs, Turkse tarwe, Turkse koren.
FINNISH: Maissi.
FRENCH: Maïs, Blé turc, Blé d'Egypte, Blé des Indes, Blé de Turquie.
GERMAN: Körnermais, Echter Mais, Türkisches Korn, Tuerkisher Mais, Tuerkisher Weizen.
HINDI: Anaaj, Makka, Makaa'i, Makaa.
ITALIAN: Granturco, Granoturco, Formentone, Grano di Turchia, Mais.
JAPANESE: Toumorokoshi (Tômorokoshi), Fiirudo koon.
KHMER: Pôôt.
KOREAN: Ok soo soo.
LAOTIAN: Khauz ph'ô:d, Khauz sa:li:.
MALAY: Jagong, Jagung (Indonesia).
PERSIAN: Gaudume makka.
PORTUGUESE: Milho, Milho forrageiro.
RUSSIAN: Kukuruza obyknovennaia.
SPANISH: Maíz, Maíz comun, Mijo turquesco.
TAMIL: Makka cholam, Mokkaiccoolam.
THAI: Khaaophot (Khaophot).
TURKISH: Kokoroz
URDU: Anaaj.
ZAPOTEC: Lox yela'

Mais is a very coarse, erect, tall grass, 1.5 to 2 meters high. Stem is solid, with a soft and spongy center. Leaves are numerous and close together, 30 to 100 centimeters long and 2 to 10 centimeters wide, linear lanceolate. Male inflorescence is erect and terminal; the female inflorescence on the axils of the leaves, cylindric and large. The individual fruit (grain) is is roundish or reniform, compressed, smooth, shining, yellow, white, reddish or even purplish-black.

- Extensively cultivated in most parts of the Philippines. In some islands and provinces, it is a staple article of food.
- Native of America.
- Extensively grown in the tropics and temperate regions of the world.


- Analysis showed percentage of carbohydrate is high, with a good content of protein and fat, with a higher percentage of protein and fat than any other cereal.
- Corn lacks gluten.
- Constituents: Flavonoids, chlorogenic acid, saponins, volatile alkaloid, allantoin, tannins, resin.
- Corn silk yields maizeric acid, 2%; fixed oil; resin; sugar; mucilage and salts.

- Nutrient analysis per 100 g of edible portion: (Proximates) water 76.05 g, energy 86 kcal and 360 kJ, protein 3.27 g, total lipid (fat) 1.35 g, ash 0.62 g, carbohydrate by difference 18.70 g, total dietary fiber 2.0 g, total sugars 6.26 g, sucrose 0.89 g, glucose (dextrose) 3.43 g, fructose 1.94 g, starch 5.70 g; (Minerals) calcium 2 mg, iron 0.52 mg, magnesium 37 mg, phosphorus 89 mg, potassium 270 mg, sodium 15 mg, zinc 0.46, copper 0.054, manganese 0.163 mg, selenium 0.6 µg; (Vitamins) ascorbic acid 6.8 mg, thiamin 0.155 mg, riboflavin 0.055 mg, niacin 1.770 mg, pantothenic acid 0.717 mg, vitamin B6 0.093 mg, total folate 42 µg, total choline 23.0 mg, beta carotene 47 µg, alpha carotene 16 µg, cryptoxanthin beta 115 µg, vitamin A IU 187 µg, lutein + zeaxanthin 644 µg. (17)
- Study of hair extracts yielded flavonoids, saponin, tannins, phlobatannins, phenols, alkaloids, and cardiac glycosides in both AE and ME. Terpenoid compounds were found only in the ME. Total phenolic content in the aqueous extract was significantly higher (42.71 ± 0.87 µg/g of tannic equivalent (TAE) compared to the methanolic extract (40.38 ± 1.10 µg/g of TAE). (19)

- Considered anodyne, antilithic, antiseptic, cholagogue, demulcent, diuretic, hypoglycemic, hypotensive, lithotriptic, tonic, vasodilator.

- Studies suggest hypoglycemic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticataract, nephroprotective, antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, antiplasmodial, aphrodisiac, antidepressant properties.

Parts used
Hairs and cobs.

Edibility / Nutritional
Edible parts: Pollen, seed (raw or cooked), stem.
• Good source of carbohydrates, B vitamins (riboflavin and thiamine), vitamin A and C, potassium and zinc; rich in protein.
• Corn syrup is used in the manufacture of jams, jellies and other sweets.
• Corn syrup is often used in combination with cane sugar and maple syrup.
• Corn starch is well known for its many uses.

• Edible oil is obtained from the seed, used for salads or cooking.
• Roasted seed use as a coffee substitute.

• Diuretic: Take decoction of hairs or cobs as tea.
• Decoction of pith of cob as tea is used for stomach complaints.
• Decoction of roots, leaves, and corn silk used for dysuria, bladder complaints, and bed-wetting.
• The water in which unhusked corn is boiled is a pleasant tasting remedy for urinary tract infection. The corn silk decoction is also thought to be diuretic.
• Good emollient poultice used for ulcers, rheumatic pains and swellings.
• Decoction of parched corn (burned or roasted) taken as tea for nausea and vomiting.
• Infusion of parched corn allays the nausea and vomiting of many diseases.
• Kidney stones: Infusion of corn hair in hot water, 3x daily.
• Poultice of corn silk for wounds and sores.
• In Europe, corn silk (stigma) used for genitourinary diseases. Also used for similar purposes in French Guinea, India, Spain and Greece.
• In China, corn silk is used for fluid retention and jaundice.
• In Nigeria, root decoction used for treatment of malaria. (22)
• The embryo is rich in oil and used widely for cooking, manufacture of soaps.
• Sticky gum containing dextrin used for sealing envelops and gummed labels.
• Corn syrup is used in the manufacture of jams, jellies and other sweets.
• Corn starch is well known for its many uses.
• Glue made from the start in the seed.
• Used for making alcohol.
• Cobs used to supply potash and by distillation can yield acetic acid and acetone. By controlled fermentation, may also yielded nitro-cellulose lacquers.
• Starch used in cosmetics.
• Stem fiber used in making paper.
• Corn spathe used for making straw hats and baskets.
• Corn silk infusion, fresh or dried: cystitis, 1 cup 3x daily.
• As tincture: 3 cc (50 drops) 3x daily for cystitis.

Diuretic / Histopathological Studies:
Three indigenous medicinal plants were studied: C citratus, R sativus, and Zea mays. No morphometrical or histological changes were noted in the liver and kidney of rats. Study concludes that the common use of these indigenous diuretic plants is safe.
Diuretic / anti-lithiasis effect: The influence of Zea mays on urinary risk factors for kidney stones in rats: The study suggests the possible antilithiatic effect of ZM infusion is probably through some diuretic activity. (4)
No Diuretic Effect: In a study of four traditional Vietnamese herbal remedies (Z mays, I cylindrica, Plantago major, O stamineus) claiming to increase diuresis, no diuretic effect was seen in a placebo-controlled double-blind crossover model.
Suppression of Progression of Diabetic Glomerular Sclerosis: Study evaluated the effect of Z. mays on streptozotocin induced diabetic nephropathy in rats. Results indicate the WE of ZM suppressed the progression of diabetic glomerular sclerosis in ST-induced diabetic rat. (5)
Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor: Interfering with leukocyte adhesion is important in the treatment of bacterial sepsis and inflammatory diseases. Study of the crude methanolic extract of Zea mays exhibited significant TNF antagonistic activity and concludes that corn silk has potential for TNF- and LPS-mediated leukocyte adhesion and trafficking. (6)
Renal Effects: In water-loaded conscious rats (2.5 cc/100 body wt), corn silk aqueous extract was found to be diuretic at 500 mg KBW and kaliuretic at 300 and 500 mg KBW. At 5.0 cc/100 g BW, CSAE is kaliuretic at 500 mg KBW but glomerular filtration and filter load decreased without affecting proximal tubular function, sodium or uric acid excretion. (8)
Antibacterial Activity: Zea mays alcoholic extract showed activity against Klebsiella pneumonia, E coli, Salmonella paratyphi A, Salmonella typhi and B. subtilis.
Dissecting Tocopherols Content: Study identified QTLs (quantitative trait loci) with major effects in the natural variation of tocopherols in maize grain. Study provides a guideline for breeders to improve traits that can minimize the risk of malnutrition, especially in developing countries. (12)
Mays Hair Extracts / Phytochemicals and Phenolic Content: Study screening mays hair extracts for bioactive compounds yielded saponins, flavonoids, tannins, phlobatannins, phenols, alkaloids, and cardiac glycosides in both aqueous and methanolic extracts. Findings suggest potential applications as therapeutic and antioxidative agents in pharmaceuticals, food, and other related industries. (13)
Nutritional Evaluation of Baby Corn: Study showed baby corn is a good source of various nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, crude and dietary fibers, and is a par or even superior in nutritional qualities to many other commonly used vegetables. (14)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Husks: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory effect of Z. mays husk extract on NO production and release of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule and eotaxin-1. Results showed the anti-inflammatory effect via down-regulation of expression of iNOS gene which was mediated by inhibition of NF-kB and AP-1 signaling. (16)
• Antimicrobial / Flavonoid Glycosides / Corn Silk: Corn silk refers to stigmas of female flowers of Zea mays. Study evaluated different solvent extracts and flavonoids of corn silk for antimicrobial activities against twelve pathogenic bacteria and yeast C. albicans. Extracts and flavonoids showed antimicrobial activity with significantly (p<0.05) higher sensitivity against a number of bacterial than gentamycin. (18)
• Anticataract / Suppression of Aldose Reductase: Study evaluated the anticataract effect of Zea mays (purple waxy corn) in experimental diabetic cataract. Results showed both medium and high doses of extract decreased lens opacity together with decreased MDA level. Mechanism may be through decreased oxidative stress and suppression of aldose reductase, the rate limiting enzyme in the polyol pathway. (
• Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory / Husk: Study evaluated the analgesic (hot plate and formalin induced paw licking models) and anti-inflammatory effects (carrageenan and cotton pellet models) of aqueous extract of Z. mays husk in male wistar rats. Results suggest analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity which may be due to tannins and polyphenolic constituents. (21)
• Antiplasmodial / Cytotoxicity / Roots: Study evaluated a root extract of Zea mays for antimalarial activity against Plasmodium berghei in rodent malaria models. Results suggest the root extract may possess antimalarial activity against both chloroquine-sensitive and resistant malaria. (22)
• Antioxidant / Phenolic Profile / Corn Silk: Study evaluated phenolic acid, flavonoid and mineral matter profiles of corn silks. Corn silks at silking stage are more suitable as natural source of phenolic compounds than silks at R4 dough stage. The most abundant phenolic compounds were hydroxy- cinnamic acid ester and luteolin derivative i.e. 3-O-caffeoylquinic acid and maysin, respectively. (23)
• Antinociceptive / Anti-Inflammatory / Roots: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of Z. mays ethanol root extract in mice using various experimental models i.e. acetic acid and thermal-induced pains and carrageenan, egg albumin and xylene-induced edema. Results showed significant (p<0.05-0.001) dose-dependent reduction of inflammation and pains induced by different phlogistic agents used. Effects were comparable to standard drug, acetyl salicylic acid. (24)
• Antidepressant / Husk: Study evaluated a husk extract for antidepressant activity in mice using open field, force swimming and tail suspension tests. Results showed significant antidepressant activity attributed to phenolic contents. (25)
• Aphrodisiac: Study evaluated aqueous crude extract of purple corn for aphrodisiac properties in a male rat model. Results showed aphrodisiac effects as evidenced by significant increase in arousal, increase in number of discharges of ejaculatory motor patterns and total number of genital motor patterns. (26)
• Hypoglycemic / Corn Silk: Study evaluated the hypoglycemic effect of methanolic extract of corn silk in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Results showed significant hypoglycemic effect in both type I and type II models. The hypoglycemic mechanism in type-I may be due to regeneration of beta-cells as evidenced by increase of insulin production. (27)
• Cardiotoxicity Study / Acute Toxicity Study / Corn Silk: Study evaluated corn silk extract for safety using histopathological parameters and ECG in rats using graded doses (200, 400, and 800 mgkg) of extract for seven days. Acute toxicity study showed the aqueous extract of corn silk to be safe for medicinal use as evidenced by the absence of lethality at 3200 mg/kg dose. ECG study showed significant electro-cardiographic changes which were corroborated by histological examination of the heart. The histological changes were similar to arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy. Study suggest that despite its safety profile, caution is advised when using corn silk in patients with compromised heart health conditions. (28)
• Nephroprotective / Antioxidative / Husk: Study evaluated the antioxidative stress and renoprotective activities of husk extract and fractions using oxidative stress markers, kidney functions and renal histopathlogy. Results showed antioxidative and nephroprotective potentials which may be due to antioxidant activities of phytochemical constituents. (29)

Commercial cultivation.
Corn silk, tea extracts in the cybermarkets.

Updated January 2018 / March 2013

Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / File:Zea mays Blanco2.279-original.png / Plate from book / Flora de Filipinas / Francisco Manuel Blanco (OSA) / Public Domain / Modifications mades by Carol Spears / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Zea mays L. - corn ZEMA / Steve Hurst @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Corn / Zea mays
Zea Mays / Sweet Corn / Plants for a Future
Histopathological Studies of Some Indigenous Diuretic Medicinal Plants in Rats
Aqueous, Alcoholic Treated and Proximate Analysis of Maydis stigma (Zea mays Hairs)
The influence of Zea mays on urinary risk factors for kidney stones in rats / F Grases et al / Phytotherapy Research • Volume 7 Issue 2, Pages 146 - 149 / DOI 10.1002/ptr.2650070210
The Favorable Effect of Style of Zea mays L. on Streptozotocin Induced Diabetic Nephropathy

Extract of corn silk (stigma of Zea mays) inhibits the tumour necrosis factor-alpha- and b / S Habtemariam / Planta Med (1998) 64: 314-8.
Studies on the individual and combined diuretic effects of four Vietnamese traditional herbal remedies (Zea mays, Imperata cylindrica, Plantago major and Orthosiphon stamineus) / Doan Du Dat, Nguyen Ngoc Ham et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 36, Issue 3, June 1992, Pages 225-231 / doi:10.1016/0378-8741(92)90048-V
Zea mays L. extracts modify glomerular function and potassium urinary excretion in conscious rats / Velasquez, DVO et al / International Journal of Phytotherapy & Phytopharmacology, May 2005
Sorting Zea names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne.
Zea mays / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Dissecting tocopherols content in maize (Zea mays L.), using two segregating populations and high-density single nucleotide polymorphism markers / Xu Shutu, Zhang Dalong, Cai Ye, Zhou Yi, Trushar Shah, Farhan Ali, Li Qing, Li Zhigang, Wang Weidong, Li Jiansheng, Yang Xiaohong and Yan Jianbing* / BMC Plant Biology 2012, 12:201 doi:10.1186/1471-2229-12-201
Phytochemicals screening and total phenolic content of Malaysian Zea mays hair extracts / Solihah, M.A., *Wan Rosli, W.I. and Nurhanan, A.R. / International Food Research Journal 19(4): 1533-1538 (2012)
Nutritional evaluation of baby corn (zea mays) / Santosh Hooda and Asha Kawatra / Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 43 Iss: 1, pp.68 - 73
Zea mays / Synonyms / The Plant List
Anti-inflammatory effects of Zea mays L. husk extracts / Kyung-Baeg Roh, Hyoyoung Kim, Seungwoo Shin, Young-Soo Kim, Jung-A Lee, Mi Ok Kim, Eunsun Jung, Jongsung Lee and Deokhoon Park / BMC Complement Altern Med, 2016; 16: 298. / doi:  10.1186/s12906-016-1284-9
Zea mays / National Nutrient DataBase / USDA
Antimicrobial Activities of Extracts and Flavonoid Glycosides of Corn Silk (Zea mays L) / Fazilatun Nessa*, Zhari Ismail and Nornisah Mohamed / International Journal of Biotechnology for Wellness Industries, 2012, 1, 115-121 115
Phytochemical screening and total phenolic content of Malaysian Zea mays hair extracts / Solihah MA, Wan Rosli W I and Nurhanan AR / International Food Research Journal, 19(4): 1533-1538 (2012)
Preventive Effect of Zea mays L. (Purple Waxy Corn) on Experimental Diabetic Cataract / Paphaphat Thiraphatthanavong,  Jintanaporn Wattanathorn et al / BioMed Research International, Volume  2014  (2014) / http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/507435
Analgesic and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Aqueous Extract of Zea mays Husk in Male Wistar Rats / Bamidele V. Owoyele, Muhammed N. Negedu, Samuel O. Olaniran, Samuel A. Onasanwo, Stephen O. Oguntoye, Joseph O. Sanya, Sabitiu A. Oyeleke, Adekemi J. Ibidapo, and Ayodele O. Soladoye / Journal of Medicinal Food. April 2010, 13(2): 343-347 /  https://doi.org/10.1089/jmf.2008.0311
Antiplasmodial activity and cytotoxicity of ethanol extract of Zea mays root / Jude Efiom Okokon, Bassey Sunday Antia, Bala Adamu Azare, Patience Jude Okokon / Avicenna J Phytomed, 2017; 7(3): 275-284
Antioxidant activity, phenolic profile, chlorophyll and mineral matter content of corn silk (Zea mays L): Comparison with medicinal herbs / Sladana Zilic, Marijana Jankovic, Zorica Basic, Jelena Vancetovic, Vuk Maksimovic / Journal of Cereal Science, Vol 69, May 2016 / https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcs.2016.05.003
Antinociceptive and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Root Extract of Zea mays / Jude E Okokon, Davies Koofreh, Godwin Enin / African Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Vol 5, No 2 (2016)
Antidepressant activity of ethanol extract of Zea mays husk / Jude Okokon, Ebinyo Nelson, Michael Sunday / Advanced Herbal Medicine, Vol 2, Issue 4, Article 4, Autumn 2016, pp 22-28
Aphrodisiac Activity of the Aqueous Crude Extract of Purple Corn (Zea mays) in Male Rats / Miguel Carro-Juarez PhD, Magdalena G Rodriguez-Santiago PhD, Miguel Angel France PhD / Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine
Hypoglycemia and Hypolipidemic Effect of Methanol Extract of Corn Silk (Zea mays) in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats / Ghada M Eltohami, M S Nazik, M M Rawan, B A Rania, E H Azhari , H N Adurahman and Jessinta S / International Journal of Engineering Research & Technology, Vol 2, Issue 10, October 2013
/ Adeolu Adedapo, Omotayo Babarinsa, Ademola Oyagbemi, Aduragbenro Adedapo, Temidayo Omobowale / Mac Vet Rev 2016; 39 (1): 43-49
Nephroprotective activity of husk extract and fractions of Zea mays against alloxan-induced oxidative stress in diabetic rats / Jude E. Okokon*, Mandu Emmanuel Nyong, Grace Emmanuel Essien, Emmanuel Nyong / J Basic Pharmacol Toxicol. 2017;1(3):1-10 1
Zea mays / Synonyms / The Plant List

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

HOME      •      SEARCH      •      EMAIL    •     ABOUT