EN on Foods

August 2015 Issue

Corn: An A-maize-ing Plant

The folklore. Maize, known in the U.S. as “corn” (Zea mays,) was domesticated in Mexico at least 7,000 years ago. While corn was a staple in early American cultures, it spread to the rest of the world via the Spanish explorers in the late 15th century. Among Native American tribes, corn was a symbol in rituals, folkloric medicine, and mythologies; the Cherokees believed it treated kidney stones, the Mohegan tribe used it to relieve poison ivy, and the Navajos relied on it for sore throats. In traditional Chinese medicine, corn was used to treat heart disease, gallstones, jaundice, and hepatitis.

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