Most of us greet the arrival of local corn at farm stands and markets with great excitement and visions of melted butter, sea salt, and perhaps a squeeze of fresh lime.
No summer picnic supper is complete without at least two ears each—pretty please! Traditional Chinese Medicine is not so interested in the sweet kernels —salt and pepper or silver queen—but rather the soft silk that lies between husk and cob.
This silk (Yu Mi Xu in TCM jargon) appears in the materia medica—group together with herbs that drain dampness—dampness being a pathological condition that blocks the functional activity of chi and therefore directly linked to various illnesses and disease. Corn silk is neutral in temperature, sweet in flavor, and targets the bladder, gallbladder and liver and is primarily used to address urinary discomfort or disorders. However, it also works to detoxify the liver (and simultaneously placate the gallbladder) making corn silk tea a potent post summer holiday—complete with late nights and general debauchery—remedy.
To make tea—bring 2 to 3 cups of water to a boil and steep the silk of 1 to 2 ears of corn for 5 minutes. Drain and serve.
Frances Boswell is a licensed acupuncturist at her practice, Qi Sera Sera Acupuncture, in New York City. She focuses on a lesser-known branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which identifies poor diet as a common cause of disease. Traditional Chinese Medicine understands that the importance of food goes beyond ingredients' vitamins, mineral, nutrient, and caloric content—food has its own energetic and spiritual role in our health. Frances's aim is to teach this ancient wisdom, apply it to everyday cooking, and work with patients to modify their diets, in addition to acupuncture, to help them live, eat, and be well. Contact Frances here.