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Barley is a highly recommended cereal , given its excellent therapeutic and nutritional properties, especially in spring-summer as it nourishes, relaxes, and refreshes the liver and gallbladder .


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  • 1 Nutritional Characteristics
  • 2 Properties
  • 3 Historia
  • 4 Uses of barley
  • 5 Sources
  • 6 External Links

Nutritional Characteristics

Many consider barley as just another cereal, however it has some peculiarities that differentiate it from the rest. It has more protein than wheat , but it has much less gluten. For this reason barley loaves are more compact and less spongy. The mixture that is made in many regions with wheat flour is very beneficial, barley provides its greatest richness in lysine (a limiting amino acid in wheat), with which the bread gains in protein value and the texture becomes lighter.

Barley is a very good source of inositol , a substance considered for a long time as a group B vitamin . Inositol prevents capillary stiffness , is a cardiac tonic, regulates cholesterol , prevents the accumulation of fat in the liver, and protects the nervous system . and combat anxiety and depression. Barley also has B vitamins, folic acid , choline , and vitamin K.

In terms of minerals, barley is a good source of potassium , magnesium and phosphorus , but its greatest virtue is its richness in trace elements: iron , sulfur , copper , zinc , manganese , chromium , selenium , iodine and molybdenum . This makes it an ideal food for deficiency states and for the growth process.

Barley is the cereal best endowed with fiber (17%) and especially in terms of soluble fiber ( beta glucans ). This fiber slows the rate of glucose absorption and reduces the absorption of cholesterol. In addition, barley has other beneficial substances, such as lignans, antioxidants and cancer protectors .


Barley has a large number of properties: it is emollient, restorative, digestive, diuretic, detoxifying, tonic, slightly vaso-constrictive, anti-inflammatory, laxative, alkalizing, antiseptic, mineralizing and galactagogue (increases milk production). It is a very digestible cereal if it is well cooked. It stimulates the neurovegetative system, being recommended as a nervous and cardiac tonic. Useful both for physical work and for intellectual tasks.

It is indicated for hepatic spring cures. It is also detoxifying, especially at the stomach, intestinal and pulmonary level. In the germ it has a substance ( hordein ) that acts as an intestinal antiseptic, being indicated in enteritis, colitis , diarrhea , cholera and various infections. Barley water (50g are macerated in a liter of water, boiled for 15/20′, strained and can be sweetened with molasses) is a popular remedy used against tuberculosis and intestinal disorders. It is also useful for detoxifying the spleen and kidneys.

Several researchers have found an anticancer effect in barley, especially at the level of the digestive system, due to the presence of certain enzymes. The general digestive activity is also toned by its enzymatic content (diastases), which is why it is recommended in the diet of children, the elderly and convalescents.


Cultivated barley (Hordeum vulgare) is descended from wild barley (Hordeum spontaneum), which grows in the Middle East. Both species are diploid (2n=14 chromosomes). Its cultivation dates back to ancient Egypt , it was an important product for the development of this civilization; in the book of Exodus it is cited in relation to the plagues of Egypt. It was also known by the Greeks and the Romans, who used it to make bread , and it was the food base for Roman gladiators. Charred remains of cakes made from coarsely ground barley grains and wheat dating to the Stone Age have been found in Switzerland .

For many centuries the class distinction also affected the type of cereal that was allowed to be consumed: in England until the 16th century the poor were only allowed to eat barley bread while wheat bread was destined for the upper class; as wheat and oats became more affordable, the use of barley for making bread came to an end.

Barley Uses

Among the main uses of barley we can mention the following:

Food or drink for Man: Barley is a cereal that can be used for human consumption. With it you can make bread, alone or mixed with other cereals.

Alcoholic beverages such as beer can also be brewed . Malt is obtained from barley , which is used as a coffee substitute or in the production of whiskey or beer wine that is made by boiling water with barley to produce barley water that is later mixed with wine and other ingredients ( lemon , sugar , borage , etc)

Feed for animals: Barley is used directly as grain for animal feed or becomes part of the composition of many feeds for livestock. Barley is the main cereal used for animal feed in cold places where corn or other cereals cannot grow adequately. ( Northern and Eastern Europe, Canada , Northern United States )

Medicinal plant: The barley plant or its grain are used as medicinal plants for the treatment of cholesterol, diabetes , belly pain, diarrhea, etc.


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