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Barley : Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

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By NS Desk 20-Nov-2020

Barley

Known as Yava in Ayurveda, Barley is one of the most important cereal crops. Barley is, in fact, the fourth most important crop after Wheat, Maize, and Rice. Barley is highly nutritious and has a lot of dietary benefits. The antioxidant property of barley helps in reducing blood cholesterol and triglycerides. This grain is very high in insoluble fiber content and can effectively regulate blood sugar levels. Barley also boosts metabolism and reduces hunger ordeals in people. As a result of the aforementioned benefits, Barley grass juice is often consumed for losing weight. Other features include the diuretic and laxative (Rechana) properties of Barley. The former property is essential for kidneys.

Meanwhile, the latter offers relief from constipation. Barley is extremely beneficial for lactating women, and it also helps maintain the health of our skin. The cooling property of Barley can help in healing wounds and offering much-needed relief.

Barley is consumed by people all over the world in various shapes and forms. Bread made out of Barley is common in a lot of cultures. Barley is also used in soups and stews. To derive the essential health benefits, Barley is often consumed in Barley powder and/or Barley tablets after regular meals.

The scientific name for Barley is Hordeum vulgare. Different names across varying regions know barley. Barley, therefore, is also known as Tiksnasuka, Barli Akki, Yavalu, Kulekhara, Jau, Javegambu, Dhanyaraja, Tella Tumma, among others. 

How did Barley become so popular? 

The benefits of this cereal crop are manifold. Besides boosting digestive activities and boosting metabolism, barley is also very helpful for pregnant and lactating women. Barley applied with coconut oil can improve skin health immensely. Young and green Barley contains Tricin, which can help in skin whitening by inhibiting Melanin Synthesis. Barley contains a component called Beta-Glucan, which is essential for fighting heart diseases and maintaining cholesterol levels. Also, Barley is very effective for weight-loss. The cooling property of Barley has proven very effective against wounds. Also, Barley can be used as an alternative for rice. Barley can be consumed in several forms, such as Barley Powder, Barley Tablets, Barley Soup, among others. A lot of scientific studies and Ayurvedic studies point towards the benefits of Barley. As a result of the proven advantages, a huge number of people swear by Barley. In 2017, Barley was ranked fourth in the list of grains produced by quantity. Barley was the fourth-most produced grain after Maize, Wheat, and Cereal. 

Historical Uses of Barley

One of the first grains to be cultivated around the Middle East, Barley, was used for preparing food. Barley has also been utilized for making animal fodder. During ancient times, Barley was an essential component that was used in the making of distilled beverages and healthy foods.

 Owing to its beneficial properties, Barley was also used for combating sickness and improving health. Ancient Greeks used Barley for preparing bread. Ancient athletes would also mention the Barley-based diet as the reason behind improved physical strength. 

Barley has been a very important element of Tibetan cuisine since ancient times. Even today, Barley's flour is roasted and mixed with other products to create a stiff food that is eaten in the form of small balls.

Known as Yava in Vedic and Classical Sanskrit, Barley has been regarded as one of the essential grains in many ancient Indian scriptures. 

In medieval Europe, bread made out of Barley was considered to be peasant food. The high cost of Wheat resulted in people flocking towards Barley. During the 1600s, Barley was introduced in the United States by the English and Dutch settlers. 

Benefits of using Barley in Ayurvedic Treatment

 Ayurvedic studies have proven that Barley can be used to combat health problems such as Stomach Cancer, High Cholesterol, Weight Loss, Bronchitis, among others. 

Bronchitis or "Kasroga" can be prevented because of the Kapha Balancing Property of Barley. The presence of flavonoids and antioxidants in Barley can help fight Stomach Cancer and Colorectal Cancer, respectively. Since Barley offers a cooling effect, Barley's paste can be applied to wounds to provide relief. The Kapha-balancing property and lekhana of barley can help inhibit Ama's production (toxic remains in our body) and provide beneficial results against high cholesterol, weight gain, and so on. 

TREATING DISEASES/HEALTH PROBLEMS USING BARLEY

· High Cholesterol Problems

  Scientific View

  Ayurvedic View

  The availability of important fibers such as beta-glucan makes Barley very useful against High Cholesterol. This property can help people fight heart diseases.

 "Ama" refers to toxic remnants inside our bodies as a result of improper digestion. Ama is produced as a result of improper digestive activities at the tissue level, which further leads to bad cholesterol. The lekhana or scrapping properties, along with Kapha Balancing Properties, have proven beneficial against High Cholesterol and can be added into our daily diets. 

· Stomach Cancer

  Scientific View

Ayurvedic View

 

  Flavonoids present in Barley have been linked to a reduced danger of Stomach Cancer. Thus, consuming Barley Grass Powder can be very helpful. 

A lot of Ayurvedic studies show that Barley has a lot of properties that can benefit our health immensely. 

· Colorectal Cancer

  Scientific View 

Ayurvedic View 

Young Barley grass is full of antioxidants. These antioxidants can prevent colon cells from incurring any kind of damage and protect our body against the dangers of colorectal cancer. Thus, the incorporation of Barley into a daily diet is often advised by doctors.

Ayurvedic studies believe in the wide range of health benefits possessed by Barley. 

Bronchitis

Scientific View

Ayurvedic View

According to scientific studies, Barley contains a wide range of really healthy properties.

Bronchitis, also known as Kasroga, is a disease that results in the inflammation of air pathways. If our body is lacking in dietary components, Ama may be produced as a result. Ama is toxic remains that are produced in our bodies. Barley comes equipped with Kapha Balancing Property that can help prevent the production of mucus in our lungs. 

· Weight Loss

Scientific View

Ayurvedic View

According to a lot of studies, Barley can be very substantial in reducing body weight, BMI, Blood Triglycerides, and Cholesterol. Antioxidants can reduce oxidative stress in our body, which can obstruct the absorption of dietary lipids and plasma triglycerides. 

According to Ayurvedic studies, Barley can reduce Ama's excessive production as a result of the Kapha Balancing Property. This can combat Obesity and result in loss of weight. 

For Boils  

Scientific View

Ayurvedic View

 Scientific studies show that Barley has a lot of health benefits and can be taken in various shapes and forms to improve your health or combat any injury. 

Ayurvedic studies show that Barley can be applied to boils to derive good results. Boils generally lead to inflammation or accumulation of pus. Barley is cold and can provide great relief if applied to the region of the boil. In the case of boils or wounds, it is often recommended that a paste made out of Barley be applied to the region of the wound to get relief.

Recommended Dosages of Barley to help prevent Diseases

· According to Ayurvedic studies, 2-2.5gm of Barley Powder mixed with lukewarm water can do wonders for our body. Consuming this concoction regularly after a light meal can help maintain a normal Cholesterol Level. 

· A barley grass tablet, consumed along with a glass of lukewarm water, can help our body against Obesity.

· Paste made out of Barley can be used to provide relief from wounds. 

· People with UTI conditions can consume Barley to get effective results. 

 How can Barley be used?

  • Barley Powder: Barley can be consumed in a powdered form on a day-to-day basis. Mixing recommended amounts of Barley powder in water and consuming this solution daily can be very beneficial. 

Tips:

  1. Mix 2-2.5gm (or required dosage recommended by Physician) of Barley in water 
  2. Drink this concoction regularly to maintain cholesterol levels.
  • Barley Grass Tablet: Consume one barley grass tablet daily with a glass of lukewarm water. Barley can work wonders when it comes to weight loss. 
  • Barley Soup: Besides Barley Powder and Barley Tablets, Barley can also be consumed in the form of soup. This kind of food can be very beneficial in the case of a UTI condition. 

Tips:

  1. Take 2½ cups of water in a pan and mix ½ cup Barley into the same. Bring the concoction to a boil. 
  2. Let it simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Customize this preparation by adding 1½ cups of honey.
  3.  Let it cool down and drain. 
  4. Follow this step by adding the juice of ½ a lemon. 
  • ‘Barley Paste: Ayurvedic studies have proven that paste made from Barley can be applied to boils. The cooling property of Barley can help provide relief from this ailment. 

Tips:

  1. Crush a few Barley seeds into a powdered form.
  2. Mix this powdery form with coconut oil to create a paste. 

Side Effects of Barley

Scientific and Ayurvedic studies show that Barley must be avoided in certain scenarios as it may have many negative side effects. Some of the side effects of Barley include:

· A lot of people may have allergic reactions to Barley. This may result in skin rashes and allergic reactions. 

· Barley contains Gluten, which might negatively affect Gluten-intolerant people.

Therefore, it is important to get in touch with health professionals or health experts before consuming Barley for any kind of disease or sickness. 

Precautionary Guide while using Barley

· For allergies

A lot of people have an allergic reaction to cereal flour. This is known as Bakers' Asthma. People with Bakers' Asthma must be very cautious, as Barley can aggravate the allergy.

· For Breastfeeding 

While Barley is beneficial for a lot of pregnant and lactating women, women with celiac disease should be cautious. 

· For Pregnancy

It is recommended that pregnant women shouldn't consume large amounts of Barley sprouts during their pregnancy. 

· For Medicinal Interaction 

The high fiber content in Barley might interfere with oral medicines. As a result, it is recommended that there be a two-hour difference between the consumption of Barley and the consumption of medicines. 

· For Other Interactions 

Barley can affect Blood Sugar Levels. Therefore, it is advised that Barley shouldn't be consumed along with medicines, herbs, or other supplements that lower blood sugar.

FAQs about Barley

  • Can Barley water be consumed regularly?

- Science experts

Barley is extremely rich in fiber and low in fat content. A lot of scientific studies have proven that Barley can be extremely beneficial if consumed on a regular basis. However, it is best to limit Barley water consumption to 2 times a day because Barley has a lot of calories.

  • Which is better: Barley or Rice?

- Science experts

The fourth mist cereal crop after Wheat, Maize, and Rice, Barley, serves as a better alternative for rice. Science experts have shown that Barley has a higher Glycemic Index as compared to rice, and the high fiber content of Barley has proven very helpful for weight loss.

  • For how long should Barley be boiled before Consumption? 

- Science experts

Rinse Barley grains well and put it in a saucepan full of water. After the concoction comes to a boil, the same should be simmered for 25-30 minutes. This is done in order to ensure that the grains are well-cooked, and they become soft.

  • What are the different ways of consuming Barley? 

- Science experts

Scientific studies suggest that it is highly advantageous to insert Barley into your daily diet as it has a lot of nutritional values. The two types of Barley include Hulled Barley or Pearl Barley. However, the former takes longer to cook. Barley can be incorporated into our daily diet by adding Barley to soups, stews, and salads. Barley can also be consumed in place of rice. It can also be used for making Breakfast porridge.

  • Is Barley a complete Protein? 

- Science experts

A portion of complete protein food is one that contains all the nine essential Amino Acids. Hence, Barley is not a protein food. But Barley can be cooked and consumed with pulses, which are great sources of protein.

  • Should Barley be soaked in water prior to cooking? 

- Science experts

Yes, Barley should be soaked overnight in order to ensure that it is easier to cook. Hulled Barley takes longer to cook as compared to Pearl Barley, which doesn't need to be soaked as much as Hulled Barley.

  • How can Diabetic patients benefit from Barley consumption? 

- Science experts

Scientific studies show that Barley's high soluble fiber content can regulate the blood glucose level by slowing down glucose absorption. The antioxidant property of Barley helps reduce oxidative stress and prevents kidney damage. Thus, Barley is highly beneficial for patients of Diabetes.

  • Is Barley effective against Thyroid?

- Science experts

The Phytonutrients present in Barley can reduce the levels of TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. Barley can also protect the brain against any resultant damage from thyroid problems.

  • Is Barley effective against Urinary Tract Infections? 

- Science experts

The Diuretic and Anti-Inflammatory properties of Barley can provide protection against Urinary Tract Infections and other similar irritations. The diuretic property of Barley helps in flushing out the infection-causing bacteria. Meanwhile, consuming barley can help in soothing irritations in the urinary tract.

  • Is Barley effective against Kidney Stones?

- Science experts 

Scientific studies suggest that Barley might be effective against Kidney stones. Barley can increase the production of Urine, which can help remove certain minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, which can help prevent the formation of Kidney stones. It also protects the kidney against damage.

  • Is Barley effective against Inflammatory Bowel disease? 

- Science experts

There isn’t scientific evidence to prove Barley’s effectiveness in cases of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. GBF or Germinated Barley Foodstuff is derived from Germinated Barley and is high in insoluble protein and dietary fiber content. As a result, the chances of colon cells getting damaged are reduced. Also, GBF has a high water-holding capacity, which can prevent diarrhea.

  • Is Barley effective against Piles? 

- Science Experts

Enough scientific evidence isn’t available to prove Barley’s effectiveness against Piles. However, the laxative properties of Barley can help against constipation.

  • Does Barley cause Constipation? 

- Science experts

The laxative property of Barley can provide relief against constipation. Barley is high in dietary fiber content, which helps in regulating Bowel movement. Hence, Barley is effective against Constipation.

  • Can Barley's consumption lead to Weight Gain? 

- Science experts

Scientific studies show that Barley doesn’t lead to weight gain but can help in reducing weight. The presence of beta-glucan in Barley makes a viscous solution in the intestines, which slows down gastric emptying, digestion, and absorption. As a result of the actions mentioned above, Barley can help in reducing weight and BMI.

- Ayurvedic experts

Even Ayurvedic studies affirm the actions of Barley in helping people to reduce weight. The Kapha-balancing and Lekhana properties of Barley are very effective for weight loss. “Ama," toxic remains present in our body, can result in weight gain. The above-mentioned properties can help reduce the accumulated Ama.

Tips:

  1. Take one Barley tablet or the number of tablets recommended by a physician. 
  2. Consume these tablet(s) with water regularly. 
  3. Continue this process regularly to lose weight. 
  • Is Barley effective against High Cholesterol? 

 Barley comes equipped with a component called Beta-Glucan. This component can reduce the chances of heart diseases and is very effective against high cholesterol.

According to Ayurvedic studies, the imbalance of Agni (fire) results in high cholesterol. Ama, toxic remains of the body, is produced as a result of improper digestion at the tissue level. The Kapha-balancing and khana properties of Barley can be very effective against high cholesterol. A normal level of cholesterol can also reduce the risk of heart problems.

Tips

  1. Take 2-2.5 gm of Barley. However, consumers may also depend on the amount recommended by a physician. 
  2. After having a light meal, consume the specified amount of Barley with lukewarm water. 
  3. Consuming this concoction daily can work wonders for your body and can help in maintaining normal cholesterol levels. 
  • Does Barley cause Gout? 

- Science experts

No, Barley does not cause Gout. However, Barley consumption can result in the prevention of Gout. Barley consumption can be very beneficial for Gout patients. Gout is caused as a result of increased Uric Acid levels, which lead to severe joint pain, swelling, and redness. Scientific studies show that Barley's diuretic property not only increases urine production but also decreases the serum level of uric acid. Barley also has antioxidant properties that can be beneficial against damage caused by oxidative stress in Gout patients.

  • Can Barley Consumption lead to Flatulence? 

- Science experts

The medical term for releasing gas from the digestive system, Flatulence, can be caused by Barley's consumption. As a result of high fiber content, Barley gets digested very slowly. During the digestion process, the bacteria present in the colon produces gas. This, on the other hand, may lead to flatulence.

  • Can Barley Consumption lead to healthier skin?

- Science Experts

Scientific studies prove that the oxidative-stress reducing property of Barley helps the skin combat radical damage.

- Ayurvedic experts

Ayurvedic studies, meanwhile, show that Barley has Rooksha (dry) and sita (cold) properties. As a result of these properties, excessive oiliness can be prevented. Also, Barley helps in skin whitening. This is largely due to the Varnya property of Barley.

  • Can Barley Consumption boost Hair Growth? 

- Science Experts

Procyanidin B3 in Barley can boost hair growth. Scientific studies have proven this advantage of Barley.

  • Can Barley Consumption help in healing wounds? 

- Science Experts

Beta-glucan present in Barley has a lot of advantages. One of the many advantages of this constituent is that it can help boost cell-migration and help in wound-healing. Therefore, scientific studies affirm the wound-healing ability of Barley.

- Ayurvedic Experts

The Sita Property or cooling property of Barley offers a cooling effect. This cooling effect can reduce inflammation.

consult with ayurveda doctor.
Disclaimer - The aim of the article is just to convey information to you. Use any medicine, therapy, herb or fruit please do it under the guidance of a qualified Ayurveda doctor.
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