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Ph.D. (Biochemistry), M.Sc (Human Genomics)
Ayurvedic View By
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Last updated on:
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Barley

Barley
Barley, also known as Yava in Ayurveda, is the fourth most important cereal crop after wheat, maize and rice. It is rich in dietary fibers which makes it a highly nutritional food.
Barley grass juice aids in weight loss as it reduces the blood cholesterol and triglycerides due to its antioxidant properties. It also increases metabolism and reduces hunger pangs which helps control excessive eating, thereby managing weight. Barley seeds are beneficial for kidneys as they increase urine production and prevent the growth and formation of stones due to their diuretic properties.
As per Ayurveda, Barley has Rechana (laxative) property which helps to provide relief from constipation when added to the diet.
Consuming Barley water not only increases breast milk production but also improves digestion of the mother as well as the baby. However, pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their physician before consuming Barley.
You can apply a paste of powdered Barley seeds with coconut oil to improve skin health. It protects the skin cells from damage caused by free radicals due to its antioxidant properties. Young green Barley leaves helps in skin whitening as they contain a compound (tricin) that inhibits the synthesis of melanin (a natural pigment in the body that make the skin, hair and eyes appear darker)[3][6][17][26][30][31].

What are the synonyms of Barley?

Hordeum vulgare, Kulekhara, Jau, Jav, Cheno, Javegambu, Yava, Java, Javo, Barlibiyam, Yava Dhanya, Dhanyaraja, Tiksnasuka, Hayesta, Divya, Yay, Jave godi, Barli Akki, Yavam, Baarli, Barliarisi, Yavalu, Barlibiyam, Tella Tumma[1].

What is the source of Barley?

Plant Based

Benefits of Barley

What are the benefits of Barley for High cholesterol?

scientific
Modern Science View
Barley is effective in managing the High cholesterol levels due to its high soluble fiber content. It contains fibers (beta-glucan) that are responsible for reducing cholesterol and thereby, managing heart diseases[5].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
High cholesterol occurs due to an imbalance of Agni (digestive fire). Impaired digestion at the tissue level produces Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) which lead to the build-up of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body. Taking Barley in your daily diet helps manage High cholesterol due to its Kapha balancing and Lekhana (scrapping) properties. It also prevents the build up of bad cholesterol and removes Ama, thus maintaining a normal level of cholesterol in the body, thereby reducing the risk of heart problems as well.

Tip to use Barley to manage High cholesterol level
a. Take 2-2.5gm of Barley powder (or as directed by a physician).
b. Consume it with lukewarm water after taking light food.
c. Repeat regularly to maintain normal cholesterol level.

What are the benefits of Barley for Stomach cancer?

scientific
Modern Science View
Barley grass powder might help be helpful in reducing the risk of Stomach cancer due to the presence of flavonoids. Intake of flavonoids has been linked to reduced risk of Stomach cancer due to their strong antioxidant activity that reduce oxidative stress by preventing free radical damage[23].

What are the benefits of Barley for Cancer of colon and rectum?

scientific
Modern Science View
Young Barley grass juice or water might be helpful in Colorectal cancer as it has antioxidant properties. These antioxidants protect the normal colon cells from free radical damage and inhibit the growth of cancer cells[7].

What are the benefits of Barley for Inflammation of the airways (bronchitis)?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
In Ayurveda, Bronchitis is known as Kasroga and is considered to be caused by poor digestion and imbalance of Kapha dosha. Poor diet and incomplete elimination of waste leads to the formation of Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) in the form of mucous in the lungs. In Spite of being Sita (cold) in nature, Barley helps manage bronchitis due to its Kapha balancing property. It helps prevent the formation of mucus in the lungs, thus providing relief in the symptoms of Bronchitis.

What are the benefits of Barley for Weight loss?

scientific
Modern Science View
Barley grass juice might help promote Weight loss as it reduces the body weight, BMI, blood triglycerides and cholesterol levels - all the factors responsible for weight gain. This is due to the presence of certain antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress in the cells and inhibit the absorption of dietary lipids and plasma triglycerides[9][11].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
According to Ayurveda, weight gain starts because of change in lifestyle and diet choices that lead to an imbalance of doshas in the body. This imbalance weakens the digestive fire, which increases accumulation of Ama, and leads to an imbalance in Meda Dhatu and results in Obesity. Barley helps manage obesity due to its Kapha balancing and Lekhana (scrapping) properties. It helps reduce the accumulated Ama, ultimately resulting in Weight loss.

Tip
a. Take 1 Barley grass tablet (or as directed by a physician).
b. Consume it with lukewarm water.
c. Repeat daily to maintain normal weight.

How effective is Barley?

Likely effective
High cholesterol, Stomach cancer
Likely ineffective
Cancer of colon and rectum
Insufficient evidence
Inflammation of the airways (bronchitis), Weight loss

Precautions when using Barley

Advice from Experts
Important
scientific
Modern Science View
Individuals with allergic response to Barley flour or beer should avoid consuming Barley products as it might result in severe allergic reactions or skin rashes[12].
Important
scientific
Modern Science View
Although Barley has anti-inflammatory properties, it is advisable for gluten-intolerant people to avoid its consumption. It contains gluten (hordein) which might lead to inflammation in the intestines of gluten-intolerant individuals (such as those with celiac disease)[22].
Allergy
scientific
Modern Science View
People suffering from Bakers’ asthma i.e. an allergic response from breathing cereal flour should take caution while working in baking and milling industries where Barley is used as it might aggravate allergy[12].
Breastfeeding
scientific
Modern Science View
Barley is considered safe during breastfeeding except for women suffering from celiac disease[13].
Minor Medicine Interaction
scientific
Modern Science View
Barley contains high fiber content which might interfere with the absorption of medication taken orally. It is advisable to take medicines 1 hour before or 2 hours after consuming Barley[12].
Other Interaction
scientific
Modern Science View
Barley might reduce blood sugar levels. It is advisable to avoid its consumption along with medication, herbs or supplements that lower blood sugar[12].
Pregnancy
scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, traditionally, pregnant women have been advised to avoid the intake of large amounts of Barley sprouts[12].

How to use Barley

1. Barley Powder
a. Take 2-2.5gm of Barley powder (or as directed by a physician).
b. Consume it with lukewarm water before meals.
c. Repeat regularly to maintain normal cholesterol level.

2. Barley Grass tablet
a. Take 1 Barley grass tablet (or as directed by a physician).
b. Consume it with lukewarm water.
c. Repeat daily to maintain normal weight.

3. Barley Soup
a. Add ½ cup unrefined Barley with 2½ cups of water in a pan and bring to a boil.
b. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
c. Add 1½ tablespoon of honey and mix well.
d. Cool, strain and add juice of ½ a lemon.
e. Drink it lukewarm throughout the day depending upon the severity of the of UTI condition or as directed by the physician.

Benefits of Barley

What are the benefits of Barley for Boils?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Barley can be applied directly on the skin to manage boils. Boils generally occur due to an imbalance of Pitta dosha and might lead to certain conditions like inflammation and pus accumulation. Barley, being Sita (cold) in nature helps balance Pitta dosha and reduces the inflammation of Boils, thus providing relief.

Tip to use Barley to get relief from Boils
a. Take a few Barley seeds.
b. Crush or grind them into powder form.
c. Add coconut oil to make a paste.
d. Apply this paste on the affected area to get quick relief in case of Boils.

How effective is Barley?

Insufficient evidence
Boils

How to use Barley

Barely Paste
a. Take a few Barley seeds.
b. Crush or grind them into a powder form.
c. Add coconut oil to make a paste.
d. Apply this paste on the affected area to get relief from wounds, boils or any skin infection.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Can we drink Barley water daily?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, you can drink Barley water daily as it has various nutritional benefits as it is rich in fiber and low in fat content. However, it is a high calorie drink and its consumption should be limited to 2 times a day.

Q. Is Barley better than rice?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Barley is a better choice than rice as it does not have a high glycemic index as compared to rice. In addition, it has high fiber content that aids in weight loss.

Q. For how long should I boil Barley water?

scientific
Modern Science View
Rinsed Barley grains and water should be boiled in a saucepan. After a boil, it should be simmered for 25-30 minutes so that the grains are cooked and become soft.

Q. In what different ways can you eat Barley?

scientific
Modern Science View
Barley has high nutritional value and can be added to your regular diet diet. Hulled Barley or Pearl Barley can be used, however, hulled Barley takes longer time to cook. Once cooked, Barley can be added to soups, stews or salads. It can also be used as a side dish instead of rice. Barley can also be used in place of oats as breakfast porridge.

Q. Is Barley a complete protein food?

scientific
Modern Science View
A complete protein food is referred to as a dietary source that provides all nine essential amino acids in the diet. Barley is not a complete protein but it can be taken along with pulses to achieve complete protein.

Q. Do you need to soak Barley before cooking it?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Barley should be soaked overnight before cooking so as to reduce the cooking time. However, Pearl Barley does not need soaking as it becomes tender easily while cooking.

Q. Is Barley good for diabetics?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Barley seeds might be beneficial for diabetes as they have high soluble fiber content that regulates the blood glucose levels by slowing down the glucose absorption. They might also reduce oxidative stress and prevent kidney damage in diabetic patients due to the antioxidant property[14][15].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Diabetes, also known as Madhumeha, occurs due to an imbalance of Vata-Kapha dosha as well as impaired digestion. Impaired digestion leads to an accumulation of Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) in the pancreatic cells and impairs the function of insulin. Barley helps maintain normal insulin function, thereby reducing the symptoms of diabetes due to its Vata-Kapha dosha balancing and Katu (pungent) properties.

Q. Is Barley good for thyroid?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Barley might be good for thyroid as it contains certain phytonutrients that decrease the levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). It also protects the brain from any damage that might result due to thyroid problems and helps in maintaining normal brain functioning[18].

Q. Is Barley good for urinary tract infections?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Barley might be good for urinary tract infections as it aids in flushing out the infection causing bacteria from the body due to its diuretic property. It also helps in soothing irritations in the urinary tract that might occur because of the infection due to its anti-inflammatory property[2][16].

Q. Is Barley good for kidney stones?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Barley seeds might be good for kidney stones. They increase the production of urine that helps in the removal of certain minerals (such as calcium and phosphorus) from the body, thereby preventing the formation and growth of kidney stones due to its diuretic property. It also protects the kidney from damage caused by oxidative stress and aids in maintaining normal kidney function due to its antioxidant property[17].

Q. Does Barley help in inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis)?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available for Barley in inflammatory bowel disease, Germinated Barley foodstuff (GBF) might help in managing the condition. GBF is derived from germinated Barley and acts as a prebiotic. It reduces the damage of colon cells due to its high insoluble protein and dietary fiber content. GBF also has the water-holding capacity that decreases the frequency of diarrhea[8].

Q. Is Barley good for piles?

scientific
Modern Science View
Though there is no direct scientific evidence to support the role of Barley in piles but Barley has laxative properties that help in relieving constipation. This might be helpful in managing the symptoms of piles[19][20].

Q. Does Barley cause constipation?

scientific
Modern Science View
No, Barley does not cause constipation. Infact, it has laxative properties that help in relieving constipation. It is rich in insoluble dietary fibres that stimulate the bowel movement, thereby preventing constipation[19][20].

Q. Does Barley cause weight gain?

scientific
Modern Science View
No, Barley does not cause weight gain. In fact, It contains a certain constituent (beta-glucan) that makes a viscous solution in the intestines that slows down gastric emptying, digestion, and absorption. This, in turn, helps in reducing body weight and BMI[21].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
No, Barley does not cause weight gain. In fact, Barley helps control excessive weight gain due to its Kapha balancing and Lekhana (scrapping) properties. It helps reduce the accumulated Ama, which is one of the prime causes of weight gain.

Q. Does Barley cause gout?

scientific
Modern Science View
No, Barley grass does not cause gout. Infact, it might be beneficial for gout patients. Gout is caused by an increased levels of uric acid that induces severe joint pain, redness and swelling. Barley has diuretic properties that increases urine production and decreases the serum levels of uric acid. It also reduces the damage caused by oxidative stress in gout patients due to its antioxidant properties[23].

Q. Does Barley cause flatulence?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Barley can cause flatulence. As it contains high fiber content, it gets digested slowly. The bacteria present in the colon produce gas while digesting the fiber that might lead to flatulence[24][25].

Q. Does Barley keep improving the health of the skin?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Barley is beneficial for improving skin health. It reduces oxidative stress and prevents the skin from free radical damage, thereby improving skin elasticity[26].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Yes, Barley is beneficial for the skin due to its Rooksha (dry) and Sita (cold) properties. It helps prevent excessive oiliness and provides a cooling effect to the skin. Barley also helps improve complexion due to its Varnya (improves complexion) property.

Q. Is Barley good for wrinkles?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, fermented Barley might be good for wrinkles. It contains a certain constituent (beta-glucan) that increases collagen production and keeps the skin well hydrated. It also protects the skin from damage caused by the radiation of the Sun, thus preventing premature aging and wrinkles[27].

Q. Is Barley good for hair growth?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Barley might be good for hair growth as it contains a certain constituent (procyanidin B3) that has growth-promoting activity[28].

Q. Does Barley help in wound healing?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, the topical application of Barley might help in wound healing as it contains a certain component (beta-glucan) that helps increase cell migration and thus, wound closure[29].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Yes, Barley helps in wound healing due to its Sita (cold) property. It helps provide a cooling effect and reduces inflammation at the affected area.

References

  1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Of India.Part 1 Volume 1.
  2. McIntyre A.Drink to Your Health: Delicious Juices, Teas, Soups, and Smoothies That Help You Look and Feel Great.2004.External Link
  3. Simonsohn B.Barley Grass Juice.2001.External Link
  4. WebMD.Barley: Uses, Side effects, Doses, Interactions [Internet].Atlanta [last updated in 2016].External Link
  5. Behall KM, Scholfield DJ, Hallfrisch J.Diets containing barley significantly reduce lipids in mildly hypercholesterolemic men and women.Am J Clin Nutr.2004;80(5):1185-93.External Link
  6. ROSENBERG S. Natural Pregnancy, Natural Baby: Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Birth and Post-Partum Discomforts.2008.External Link
  7. Czerwonka A, Kawka K, Cykier K, et.al.Evaluation of anticancer activity of water and juice extracts of young Hordeum vulgare in human cancer cell lines HT-29 and A549.AAEM.2017;24(2):345-349.External Link
  8. Kanauchi O, Suga T, Tochihara M , et.al.Treatment of ulcerative colitis by feeding with germinated barley foodstuff: first report of a multicenter open control trial.J Gastroenterol.2002;37(14):67-72.External Link
  9. Das M, Kaur S. Status of Barley as a Dietary Component for Human.RRJFPDT. 2016.External Link
  10. Choi SW, Kim SH, Lee KS, et al. Barley Seedling Extracts Inhibit RANKL-Induced Differentiation, Fusion, and Maturation of Osteoclasts in the Early-to-Late Stages of Osteoclastogenesis.Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.2017;2017:6072573.External Link
  11. Thatiparthi J, Dodoala S, Koganti B, et.al.Barley grass juice (Hordeum vulgare L.) inhibits obesity and improves lipid profile in high fat diet-induced rat model.J Ethnopharmacol.2019;238:111843.External Link
  12. Ulbrich CE. Natural Standard Herb & Supplement Guide- An Evidence-Based Reference.2010.
  13. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed).Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US):Barley;2006.External Link
  14. Minaiyan M, Ghannadi A, Movahedian A et.al.Effect of Hordeum vulgare L. (Barley) on blood glucose levels of normal and STZ-induced diabetic rats.Res Pharm Sci.2014;9(3):173-8.External Link
  15. Shah JG, Patel BG ,Patel SB et.al.Protective Effect of Hordeum vulgare Linn. Seeds Against Renal Oxidative Stress In Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats.Journal of Pharmacy Research.2012;5(7):3577-3581.External Link
  16. Magana J. Medicine Mom: Infant Care Basics.2004External Link
  17. Shah JG, Patel BG, Patel SB, et.al.Antiurolithiatic and antioxidant activity of Hordeum vulgare seeds on ethylene glycol-induced urolithiasis in rats.Indian J Pharmacol.2012;44(6):672-7.External Link
  18. Wahman LF, Abd-Rabo MM, Youseef MHM, et.al.The effect of Hordeum vulgare on the monoaminergic system modulating neural-thyroid dysfunction in hypothyroid female rats.Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand).2019;65(4):53-62.External Link
  19. Lupton JR, Morin JL, Robinson MC.Barley bran flour accelerates gastrointestinal transit time.J Am Diet Assoc.1993;93(8):881-5.External Link
  20. Ikeguchi O, Tsubata M, Takano A, et al. Effects of Young Barley Leaf Powder on Gastrointestinal Functions in Rats and Its Efficacy-Related Physicochemical Properties.Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;Article ID 974840,7 pages.External Link
  21. Aoe S, Ichinose Y, Kohyama N, et.al.Effects of high β-glucan barley on visceral fat obesity in Japanese individuals: A randomized, double-blind study.Nutrition.2017;42:1-6.External Link
  22. Cavaillon JM, Singer M.Inflammation: From Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms to the Clinic 2017.External Link
  23. Zeng Y, Pu X, Yang J,et al. Preventive and Therapeutic Role of Functional Ingredients of Barley Grass for Chronic Diseases in Human Beings.Oxid Med Cell Longev.2018 ;2018:3232080External Link
  24. Shihab al-Din al-Nuwayri.The Ultimate Ambition in the Arts of Erudition: A Compendium of Knowledge from the Classical Islamic World.2016.External Link
  25. Cho SS, Samuel P.Fiber Ingredients: Food Applications and Health Benefits.2009. External Link
  26. Hunter III JP.Health Benefits: From Foods and Spices.2014. External Link
  27. Lee S, Kim JE, Suk S, et al.A fermented barley and soybean formula enhances skin hydration.J Clin Biochem Nutr.2015;57(2):156-63.External Link
  28. Lim TK.Edible Medicinal And Non-Medicinal Plants: Volume 5, Fruits. 2013.External Link
  29. Fusté NP, Guasch M, Guillen P, et.al.Barley β-glucan accelerates wound healing by favoring migration versus proliferation of human dermal fibroblasts.Carbohydr Polym.2019;210:389-398.External Link
  30. Meng TX, Irino N, Kondo R.Melanin biosynthesis inhibitory activity of a compound isolated from young green barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) in B16 melanoma cells.J Nat Med.2015;69(3):427-31.External Link
Disclaimer
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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