Barley Grass Sprouts (Hordeum vulgare L.) Graminaceae
Parts Usually Used: Grain, germinate seeds (barley sprouts).
Barley grass is one of the green grasses - the only vegetation on the earth that can supply sole nutritional support from birth to old age. Barley has served as a food staple in most cultures. The use of barley for food and medicinal purposes dates to antiquity. Agronomists place this ancient cereal grass as being cultivated as early as 7000 BC. Roman gladiators ate barley for strength and stamina. In the West, it was first known for the barley grain it produces.
Astounding amounts of vitamins and minerals are found in green barley leaves. The leaves have an ability to absorb nutrients from the soil. When barley leaves are 12-14 inches high, they contain many vitamins, minerals, and proteins necessary for the human diet, plus chlorophyll. These are easily assimilated throughout the digestive tract, giving our bodies instant access to vital nutrients. These include potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, beta carotene, B1, B2, B6, C, folic acid, and pantothenic acid. Indeed, green barley juice contains 11 times the calcium in cows' milk, nearly 5 times the iron in spinach, 7 times the vitamin C in oranges, and 80 mg of vitamin B12 per hundred grams.
Barley also contains a -glucan, a fiber also found in oat bran and reported to reduce cholesterol levels. The root contains the alkaloid hordenine which stimulates peripheral blood circulation and has been used as a bronchodilator for bronchitis. Barley bran, like wheat bran may be effective in protecting against the risk of cancer.
Medicinal Properties: Demulcent, digestant, carminative, nutritive Back to TopCommon Use: Barley is widely cultivated grain used as a food and in the brewing process. It is an additive for human and animal cereal foods. It also makes a flavorful flour for use in baking breads and muffins.
Uses: A mucilaginous substance is obtained when hulled barley (pearl barley) is cooked; good nutritional source for throat or stomach problems. The demulcent properties of cooked barley is useful in external treatment of sores, fevers, diarrhea, gout, and tumors. Used as a tonic during convalescence.
Barley water is a skin freshener, cleanses and softens skin. Made by simmering 3 tbsp. barley in 3 cups water for an hour. Strain and cool. Rinse off face after using and refrigerate the barley water. This is best for normal skin. Drinking barley water is also supposed to clear and beautify the skin; sweeten with honey and orange juice.
Barley shoots are used to dry mother's milk, treat food stagnation, weak stomach, weak digestion, loss of appetite, and hepatitis.
Care: It is a very hardy plant and can be grown under a greater variety of climatic conditions than any other grain, and a polar variety is grown within the Arctic Circle in Europe.
Culpeper's Complete Herbal & English
Physician, by Nicholas Culpeper, pgs., 16-17.
The Herb Book, by John Lust, pgs., 4, 107, 193, 495, 497, 497, 500, 502, 503, 504, 506, 507, 529, 531, 567, 573, 574.
Chinese Medicinal Herbs, compiled by Li Shih-Chen, pgs., 207.
Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, pgs., 25-27.
The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, pg., 85.
The Yoga of Herbs, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, pgs., 61, 193, 227.
Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, pg., 112.
Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., pgs., 34, 130, 259-260, 296.
The Nature Doctor, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; pgs., 41, 520.
Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, pg., 78.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Disclaimer: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.