Corn (Yu Mi)
Botanical Name: Indian Corn – Zea mays. Dent Corn (Yellow or White Corn) - Zea mays indentata.
Domesticated by the peoples of southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago, maize or corn has since been brought to many countries all over the world for cultivation. Native American Indians were cultivating the multi-colored flint (Indian) corn since 1,000 BC. Contemporary dent (yellow or white) corn was developed from these earlier native varietals. Corn is a soft-starchy food. Whole grain corn is a good source of many antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Corn is a staple food and one of the most popular cereal grains in the world. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses corn silk (Yu Mi Xu) to stop bleeding, lower blood pressure and detoxify.
Below is an overview of Corn (Yu Mi), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Corn (Yu Mi).
Western Name: Corn
Also Known As: Indian Corn – Flint Corn, Multi-colored Corn, Maize. Dent (Yellow or White Corn) – Maize, Field Corn, Sweet Corn, Waxy Corn.
Organs/Systems: Nutrition, Stomach, Immunity, Large Intestines
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Antioxidant, Anti-aging, Digestive. Protects against diverticular disease, eye disorders, constipation.
Pin Yin: Yu Mi (Translates as “Maize Seed.”)
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Stomach, Large Intestine
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Harmonizes the Spleen and Stomach: stimulates the appetite, nutritious. Promotes Urination/Resolves Swellings: difficult urination, edema, lithanguiria.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Kernels
Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Bland, Neutral
Caution: Considered safe.
History/Folklore: Maize (or corn), means “that which sustains us.” It was domesticated by the peoples of southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago. Fossilized corn has been found in Mexico dating back to around 80,000 years ago. Corn was later spread through most of the Americas and brought back to Europe in the late 15th century where it then spread to the rest of the world.
Most of the corn grown in the United States is dent (yellow or white) corn. It was developed in 1846 and most of today’s corn hybrids are derived from it.
Indian corn is also commonly called “Flint Corn” because each kernel’s outer layer is very hard and likened to the stone known as flint. Indian (flint) corn has less soft starch than dent corn (yellow or white corn), nor does it have the dents in each kernel that give dent corn its name. Indian (flint) corn has been cultivated by Native Americans since before 1,000 BC, hence the common name, “Indian Corn.” It is not a hybrid corn.
Indian (flint) corn is easily recognizable for its multicolored kernels that can be red, blue, brown, orange, black, deep blue or purple, yellow and white all on single ear of corn. Each ear of dent corn (yellow or white corn) is either completely full of yellow or white kernels. Dent corn was bred much later than the multi-colored flint corn.
Indian (flint) corn is commonly used in the United States as a decoration for the annual Thanksgiving holiday that celebrates the survival of early settlers from starvation. Had it not been for the local Native American tribes who introduced them to local foods such as Indian (flint) corn, turkey and many other local foods, including pumpkins, these early settlers would not have survived.
Indian (flint) corn has very low water content making it more resistant to freezing than other vegetables. It was the only Vermont crop to survive the areas “Year Without a Summer” in 1816. A hearty corn, it is now being reintroduced to grocery markets as an alternative to dent (yellow or white) corn.
The use of fresh purple corn (and not just dried and ground corn that may not have used the nutritious whole corn kernel) is growing in popularity as an ingredient for corn chips and corn tortillas. A recent study shows that the use of purple corn extract, which is high in anthocyanins, effectively lowered the side effects of some of the drugs used to treat cancer.
Soluble corn fiber is a trending new corn supplement researched for its cardiovascular, anti-cancer and digestive potentials. Corns high fiber content has long made it valuable for promoting smooth digestion and supporting cardiovascular health. New research is on the cusp of better understanding how the digestion of whole corn may be converted into health-supportive substances. For example, corn impacts the bacterial composition in the lower intestinal tract aiding the absorption of calcium. These processes and digestive interactions are just being studied with more information and understanding about corns role in nutrition and healthy bodily functioning to soon be released.
Traditional Chinese Medicine uses Corn Silk (Yu Mi Xu) to stop bleeding, lower blood pressure and detoxify.
Corn oil contains significant amounts of vitamin E, Q10, and phytosterols that all help lower cholesterol levels.
Corn is grown as a food for animals and humans as well as to make popcorn, fructose (corn syrup), alcohol, plastics and ethanal fuel.
Antioxidants, Water, Starch (28-80% of corns dry weight), Sugar (only 1-3%), Phytonutrients (including: Ferulic acid, Beta-carotene (especially Carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin), Vanillic acid, Coumaric acid, Caffeic acid, Syringic acid), Pantothenic acid, Protein (10-15%) Phosphorus, Niacin, Dietary fiber (Hemicellulose, Cellulose, Lignin) , Manganese, Vitamin B, Iron, Magnesium.
The variety of corn called “Sweet Corn” is a low-starch high sugar content corn. Typically corn has a 1-3% sugar content, sweet corn is 18% sugar, most of which is sucrose.
Low to Medium Glycemic Index
The glycemic index measures how quickly carbs (starch and sugars) are digested. Highly ranked foods can cause unhealthy spikes in blood sugar. Corn is ranked low to medium. Whole corn should not cause blood sugar spikes.
One bag of popcorn can contain a large portion of the daily recommended intake of dietary fiber.
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