Corn starch, more commonly known in the UK as cornflour, is the starchy flour derived from corn, maize or wheat grain. It is commonly used as a thickening agent, both in the food industry and in home cooking.
Corn starch was mostly used for industrial purposes and as a laundry starch until the mid 1800s, when it began to be used in food.
Corn starch powder is almost tasteless, and is quite high in calories, so it is often added to food for people who need to increase their calorie intake for whatever reason. It is also used as a source of glucose for people suffering from glycogen storage disease, an inherited metabolic disorder, as it is a rich source of carbohydrates.
Diabetics who tend to suffer from night time hypos may find corn starch to be a good addition to their bedtime snack, as it releases sugar very gradually into the bloodstream due to being slowly digested.
Corn starch can also be used as part of your beauty regime. It can be used as a setting powder or to thicken mascara, and as a dry shampoo. Corn starch can also be mixed into a soothing paste to apply to sunburn or minor scrapes and grazes.