By Sade Oguntola
To many people, all there is to corn is food. But, corn does much more than feed people and livestock. Aside tea from corn silk that helps soothe urinary tract infection and prevent drug-induced kidney damage, experts found tea made from its leaf is a good home-remedy for malaria.
In a new study, experts found that its tea significantly relieve the pain and symptoms of diseases that are caused by inflammation such as arthritis under laboratory conditions in a dose –dependent manner, and thus a suitable remedy.
For the study, the scientists assessed the effects of different doses of the ethanol extract of corn leaf on experimental rats which were made to have pain and symptoms of arthritis.
The relieve in pain and inflammation achieved in the test animals was significant relative to control and the effect of the highest dose at 30 minutes was more than that of the standard drug used for the treatment of the problem.
Although the effectiveness of corn leaf extract was not comparable to that of the standard drugs used for the problem, the researchers said the study’s finding however confirmed its use in Ibibio ethno medicine.
The 2016 study published in the Journal of Herbal Drug involved Jude E Okokon; Koofreh Davies and Bassey S Antia, all from the University of Uyo.
The researchers, however, stated that further work was required on the extract of corn leaf to fully understand its components as well as its mechanism of action in alleviating pain and inflammation.
Leaf of corn plant is used traditionally in Ibibio ethno medicine in Southern Nigeria for the treatment of various illnesses such as malarial fever, pains and inflammatory conditions.
Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, fatigue, vomiting, and headaches. In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, or death.
Besides its nutritive values, maize stalk and inflorescence are also used in ethno-medicine for the treatment of several ailments. The ash of the cob is used for the treatment of cough as well as inflammatory diseases.
The husks are also used in the treatment of pains and arthritis. It is also taken as warm tea for the treatment of malaria in Ibibio traditional medicine.
Folklore uses of a tea made from its cob include treatment of nose-bleeds and menorrhagia (an abnormally heavy and prolonged menstrual period at regular intervals).
In traditional medicine, corn is used for relieving diarrhoea, dysentery, urinary tract disorders, prostatitis, hypertension and tumour.
Researchers have found that the tea made from leaves and roots of corn could be used in the treatment of strangury (slow and painful discharge of the urine, due to spasm of the urethra and bladder), dysuria (painful or difficult urination) and gravel.
Previously, experts had reported the blood sugar regulatory effect of a tea made from corn leaf in West Algeria. According to the 2008 study published in the Asian Journal of Chemistry, individuals only need to take a cup of the tea a day to lower blood sugar level in a diabetic.
Diabetes mellitus (DM), commonly referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which there are high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. Symptoms of high blood sugar include frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased hunger. If left untreated, diabetes can cause many complications, including heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney failure, foot ulcers, and damage to the eyes.
Diabetes is due to either the pancreas not producing enough insulin or the cells of the body not responding properly to the insulin produced.
In addition, experts in the 2010 edition of the Journal of Medicinal Food investigated the effect of corn husk extract in rats and indicated that it also relieved pain in a dose-dependent fashion.
The researchers Owoyele BV from the Department of Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Ilorin in collaboration with others like Negedu MN; Olaniran SO; Onasanwo SA and Oguntoye SO.
These results provide scientific validation for the use of corn husk decoction for the treatment of pain and inflammatory conditions in Nigerian folk medicine.
They suggested that its pain reliving and anti-inflammatory effects that may be due to its tannins and polyphenolic constituents.