Tag Archives: Corn

Corn Syrup’s New Disguise

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According to the Corn Refiners Association, high-fructose corn syrup contains the same amount of calories as cane and beet sugar, is metabolized by the body the same way as these sweeteners are, and is an all-natural product.

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Their current ad campaign insists that high-fructose corn syrup is just like honey, which is made by enzymes in a bee’s abdomen — as opposed to the enzymes and acids in centrifuges, ion exchange columns and liquid chromatographers used to make high-fructose corn syrup.

High-fructose corn syrup could be all-natural, if cornstarch happened to fall into a vat of alpha-amylase, soak there for a while, then trickle into another vat of glucoamylase, get strained to remove the Aspergillus fungus likely growing on top, and then find its way into some industrial-grade D-xylose isomerase.

High-fructose corn syrup is indeed similar to cane sugar in that it is about 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose. The American Medical Association issued a statement explaining that “high-fructose syrup does not appear to contribute more to obesity than other caloric sweeteners” … but they also said that “consumers [should] limit the amount of all added caloric sweeteners to no more than 32 grams of sugar daily.” Most sodas contain about 40 grams of high-fructose corn syrup.

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Cornsilk (Zea mays)

Other names: Maize, mais

Description: Corn is a grass which can grow up to 3 meter. Corn forms thick stems with long leaves. The flowers of corn are monoecious: each corn plant forms male and female flowers. The male flowers form the tassel at the top and produce yellow pollen. The female flowers are situated in leave axils and form stigmas or corn silk (yellow soft threads). The purpose of the cornsilk is to catch the pollen. The cornsilk is normally light green but can have other colours such as yellow, yellow or light brown.

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The yellowish thread-like strands found inside the husks of corn. The stigmas are found on the female flower of corn, a grain that is also known as maize and is a member of the grass family (Gramineae or Poaceae). The stigmas measure 4–8 in (10–20 cm) long and are collected for medicinal use before the plant is pollinated. Cornsilk can also be removed from corn cobs for use as a remedy.

If fertilized, the stigmas dry and become brown. Then yellow corn kernels develop. Corn is native to North America and now grows around the world in warm climates.

Cornsilk is also known as mother’s hair, Indian corn, maize jagnog, Turkish corn, yu mi xu, and stigmata maydis.

Parts used: Only cornsilk (styles and stigmas) is harvested for medicinal properties. Cornsilk should be harvested just before pollination occurs. Cornsilk can be used fresh or dried. The corn kernels (or corn) are a well known food.

Phytochemicals: Maysin, Carvacrol, Flavonoids, Polyphenols

Medicinal properties: Cornsilk has detoxifying, relaxing and diuretic activity. Cornsilk is used to treat infections of the urinary and genital system, such as cystitis, prostatitis and urethritis. Cornsilk helps to reduce frequent urination caused by irritation of the bladder and is used to treat bed wetting problems.

Some historians believe that corn has grown for more than 7,000 years in North America. About the time that Christopher Columbus brought the first corn to Europe, the grain grew throughout North and South America. The venerable plant’s stigmas have long been used in folk medicine to treat urinary conditions including inflammation of the bladder and painful urination.

Cornsilk also served as a remedy for heart trouble, jaundice, malaria, and obesity. Cornsilk is rich in vitamin K, making it useful in controlling bleeding during childbirth. It has also been used to treat gonorrhea.

For more than a century, cornsilk has been a remedy for urinary conditions such as acute and inflamed bladders and painful urination. It was also used to treat the prostate. Some of those uses have continued into modern times; cornsilk is a contemporary remedy for all conditions of the urinary passage.

Drinking cornsilk tea is a remedy to help children stop wetting their beds, a condition known as enuresis. It is also a remedy for urinary conditions experienced by the elderly.

Cornsilk is used to treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones in adults. Cornsilk is regarded as a soothing diuretic and useful for irritation in the urinary system. This gives it added importance, since today, physicians are more concerned about the increased use of antibiotics to treat infections, especially in children. Eventually, overuse can lead to drug-resistant bacteria. Also, these drugs can cause complications in children.

Furthermore, cornsilk is used in combination with other herbs to treat conditions such as cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder), urethritis (inflammation of the urethra), and parostitis (mumps).

Cornsilk is said to prevent and remedy infections of the bladder and kidney. The tea is also believed to diminish prostate inflammation and the accompanying pain when urinating.

Since cornsilk is used as a kidney remedy and in the regulation of fluids, the herb is believed to be helpful in treating high blood pressure and water retention. Corn-silk is also used as a remedy for edema (the abnormal accumulation of fluids).

Cornsilk is used to treat urinary conditions in countries including the United Sates, China, Haiti, Turkey, and Trinidad. Furthermore, in China, cornsilk as a component in an herbal formula is used to treat diabetes.

In addition, cornsilk has some nonmedical uses. Cornsilk is an ingredient in cosmetic face powder. The herb used for centuries to treat urinary conditions acquired another modern-day use. Cornsilk is among the ingredients in a product advertised to help people pass their drug tests.

In China, cornsilk is traditionally used to treat oedema and jaundice. Studies indicate that cornsilk can reduces blood clotting time and reduce high blood pressure.

Preparations:
Some herbalists say that cornsilk is best used when fresh, but it is also available in dried form. Cornsilk can be collected from the female flower or from corn cobs. In addition, cornsilk is available commercially in powdered and capsule form and as an extract. Cornsilk is usually brewed as a tea, a beverage that is said to be soothing.

Cornsilk tea or infusion can be made by pouring 1 cup (240 ml) of boiling water over 2 tsp (2.5 g) of dried cornsilk. The mixture is covered and steeped for 10–15 minutes. The tea should be consumed three times daily.

In addition, a tincture of 1 tsp (3-6 ml) of cornsilk can be taken three times daily. Tincture can be purchased over the counter, or made at home by mixing the herb with water or alcohol at a ratio of 1:5 or 1:10.

Cornsilk is also available in capsule form. The usual dosage for 400-mg capsules is two capsules. These are taken with meals three times daily.

A Remedy for Bedwetting:
Herbal remedies can be part of the treatment when children wet their beds. Methods of stopping this behavior include having the child exercise during the day, drink fewer beverages in the evening, and drink a cup of cornsilk tea one hour before bedtime. Cornsilk could be the only ingredient in the tea. However, cornsilk can be part of an herbal combination if bedwetting is caused by lack of nervous control of the bladder.

Cornsilk Combinations:
Cornsilk combines well with other herbs to remedy a range of urinary conditions. One remedy for a bed-wetting tea is to combine one part of cornsilk, St. John’s wort, horsetail, wild oat, and lemon balm.

An herbal practitioner can recommend other combination remedies to treat more complicated conditions. For example, when a person has cystitis, cornsilk can be combined with yarrow, buchu, couchgrass, or bearberry.

Furthermore, cornsilk may be an ingredient in a commercial remedy taken to maintain the urinary tract system. Other ingredients could include yarrow and marsh mallow.

Other facts: Corn originates from Central America but is cultivated in many countries as a food crop and as fodder. In countries with colder climate the whole corn plant is used a cattle feed.

Precautions:
Cornsilk is safe when taken in proper dosages, according to sources including PDR (Physician’s Desk Reference) for Herbal Medicines,, the 1998 book based on the findings of Germany’s Commission E. The commission published its findings about herbal remedies in a 1997 monograph.

If a person decides to collect fresh cornsilk, attention should be paid to whether the plants were sprayed with pesticides.

Side Effects:
There are no known side effects when cornsilk is taken in designated therapeutic dosages.

Interactions:
Information is not available about whether there is an interaction when cornsilk is taken with medication. People taking medications should first check with their doctor or health practitioner before using cornsilk.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.phytochemicals.info/plants/cornsilk.php
http://www.answers.com/topic/cornsilk

 

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Corns and Calluses

Callus evolution.

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The foot is an engineering marvel that cannot be duplicated by robotics. It is composed of 26 bones, 33 joints and around a hundred tendons, ligaments and muscles of various sizes, well oiled and sliding smoothly over each other.

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The foot is encased in thick and leathery skin that protects it from injury. Our feet take us everywhere from the time we first learn to walk till we are finally laid to rest. Yet, somehow, we tend to take our feet for granted until they malfunction, cause pain or refuse to perform as instructed.

Some orthopaedic abnormalities of the feet, like clubfoot, flat feet, congenitally dislocated hips or knock knees, are present from birth. Sometimes shoes may be purchased for conformity to fashion disregarding the requirements of the feet. They maybe ill fitting, too tight or too large. Pointed toe stilettos are notoriously guilty. The gait becomes abnormal as pressure is applied unevenly to the skin of the foot. Irregularity may also occur in old age as a result of arthritis or injury.

When pressure is exerted unevenly on the foot, the skin tends to thicken abnormally. This callused skin may remain like that or develop into a corn. This happens in areas where the skin is rubbed persistently or where the skin is under uneven pressure. Common places are the heel, the ball of the foot and the sides of the toes.

The skin over the unsightly hardened area on the foot, a callus, is dead. So there is no inflammation or pain. Eventually the callus may harden to form a corn. The corn has a central area of inflammation and is painful and tender. It is usually situated near the base of the fifth toe. If the feet are pushed into tight fitting shoes, corns will form between the toes as well. Perspiration and moisture cannot escape from this area causing the corn to become macerated and tender.

If a callus or corn is beginning to develop, the first step would be to determine if there is any source of pressure which has set off the thickening of the skin. Sometimes it may even be due to a sudden increase in the level of exercise or interest in some new sport. Once the cause has been identified it should be removed, or else the callus will exacerbate.

The foot should first be soaked in warm water with rock salt and commercially available liquid soap. After 10 minutes the affected area should be gently rubbed with a pumice stone or a foot scrubber. Some baby oil or moisturiser should then be applied. This gets rid of the corn (or callus) at an early stage.

If the callus is hard and the punctum or tip of the corn is easily visible, commercially advertised OTC (over the counter) corn plasters may be used. Most of them contain salicylic acid — a keratolytic agent that softens and breaks down hard skin. They need to be applied on a dry foot and left in place till the corn softens and falls out. They should not be used on soft corns between the toes.

Wearing loose footwear with low heels and a well-cushioned insole can also relieve the pain. Slippers should be made of soft rubber like MCR (micro cellular rubber). Acupressure slippers are also helpful.

If the corn does not respond to these simple measures, it has to be surgically removed. A qualified dermatologist or surgeon can do it as an outpatient office procedure.

Newer, relatively painless techniques involve freezing the corn with liquid nitrogen or dry ice or removing it with laser technology. It is dangerous to perform “home surgery” — slicing off the corn with a knife or blade. Dangerous debilitating infections can occur due to such amateur attempts.

Diabetics need to take particular care of their corns and calluses and consult their physicians if they have a problem. They may have compromised blood supply to their feet or numbness of the nerves. This may make them insensitive to the pain making them inadvertently ignore the corn. Any self-treatment (especially salicylic corn plasters) is likely to result in dangerous infection.

Some simple rules one should follow:

• Wear proper footwear and socks

• Wash the feet well at night before going to bed

• Moisturise the feet with oil or cream once a day

• Keep the areas between the toes dry, particularly after a bath

• Treat arthritis, blisters, corns and calluses promptly

Appropriate footwear for various sports should be used. One pair of “canvas” shoes should not be used for all activities.

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Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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