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Barley is a delicate and healthy grain cereal. It has a rich sweet nutty flavor with a chewy texture. It is a rich source of fiber, selenium, protein and other nutrients. Barley is versatile in the kitchen used as a breakfast cereal, a drink, in soups and stews and grown as a cereal grass. A great health food.

The thermal nature is cooling, Slightly warming when sproute.
The flavour is .
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What it is

Barley is an annual cereal grain that is a type of grass. It has a rich nutty flavor and a chewy pasta-like consistency. Barley is an ancient food used in ancient Greece and that is a symbol of upper Egypt, being one of the “seven species” of crop that characterize the fertility of the Promised land. Barley has been a staple food also in Tibet and ancient Korea.

The majority of barley grown is used as animal feed; most of the rest is used for malting and is a main ingredient in beer and whiskey production, a small proportion is used as a health food.

Barley must have its fibrous outer hull removed before it can be eaten. This is de-hulled Barley that still has its bran and germ. This de-hulled barley is considered a whole grain that is extremely nutritious, being used as a health food. Pearl or pearled barley has been further processed to remove the bran. This is best avoided as many of the nutrients have also been removed.

An additional barley product is the straw. It is placed in mesh bags and floated in fishponds or water gardens to help reduce algal growth without harming the plants or animals in the habitat.

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What is in it

Consider only whole grain when you eat barley as it contain a lot more nutrients that the commonly used pearl barley. 

It has more fiber, protein and calcium. Whole barley is a very good source of Fiber and selenium and a good source of phosphorus, copper and manganese.

Sprouted barley is naturally high in maltose and serves as a sweetener.

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What it is good for

Eating whole barley can regulate blood sugar for up to 10 hours after eating, much more so that whole wheat that has a similar glycemic index.    

• Fortifies your spleen-pancreas
• Helps protect against heart disease
• Reduces the risk of high blood pressure
• Protects against type 2 diabetes
Benefits the gallbladder, can help prevent gallstones
• Reduces cholesterol 
• Strengthens the intestines
• Regulates the stomach
• Builds the blood
• Moistens dryness in your body
• Aids the nerves
• Calms a fever
• Treats diarrhea
• Helps to reduce tumors
• Reduces swelling
• Treats water accumulation like edema

The dietary fiber in barley helps lower cholesterol, promote regular bowel movements and protect the intestines.

Barley is very easily digested. Whole barley, often called sproutable barley has a mild laxative effect. To reduce the laxative effect, roast the whole barley until it is aromatic before cooking. This will also reduce the acidity of barley, which is considered the most acid forming grain.

Both as a tea and as a drink, barley relieves summer heat and fatigue and aids digestion.

Sprouted Barley is considered a common Chinese herb.
• Treats indigestion caused starchy food stagnation
• Tonifies the stomach
• Helps a stagnant liver conditions including chest and upper abdominal swelling and tightness
• Strengthens weak digestion
• Increases appetite
• Helpful in digestive weakness caused by Candida.

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When you get it

Barley is available all year around. The grains can also be sprouted all year.

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Which to select

Use only whole grain barley products as they still have the bran and germ intact. Avoid hulled or pearl barley as it is nutritionally deficient. Use the most fresh products as possible. Once the grains have been processed they will begin to degrade.

Barley grains can usually be bought packages or in bulk containers. For the freshest product buy grains that are stored well in sealed airtight containers in markets or shops with good turnover. Be sure that there is no evidence of moisture of mold. 

Buy only organic grains as poisons and toxins seem to concentrate in the grains of cereal grasses.

Barley, can usually be bought packaged or in bulk containers. For the freshest product buy grain that is stored well in sealed airtight containers in markets or shops with good turnover. Be sure that there is no evidence of moisture of mold. The grain should be whole. 

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Where to store

Store barley in a well-sealed container away from light and heat. If stored correctly they can keep well for up to 1 year. Once they have been cooked, store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator where they will keep for a few days keep for a few days.

Flour and other ground products should be produces as soon as possible to the time it is needed and stored in the refrigerator.

If stored well, the whole grains should keep for up to one year and the flour for several months.

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How to use

De-hulled or pearl barley may be processed into a variety of barley products, including flour, flakes similar to oatmeal, and grits. Be sure to use the whole grain varieties.

• Roast whole barley and grind into a powder and added into hot water of grain milk as a hot drink or coffee replacement.
• Barley flour can be uses to make a cereal cream
• Use barley as a cereal
• Decocted as a tea

Barley can be sprouted and eaten as a vegetable or used in juices.

Malted barley is fermented and used as an ingredient in beer and other alcoholic drinks.

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How much you need

To reach your health goals and become healthy the most important step is to eat a well balanced diet of food from across all the food groups. 
Grains (Carbohydrates):  6 – 8 
Meat and beans Protein:  1 – 2 
Fats: 1
Dairy:     2 - 3
Fruit: 2
Vegetables: 5
Water: 6

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Things to watch out for

Roasted barley can worsen cases of constipation. Pearled barley has reduced nutritional value.

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The Journal of Nutrition – The American Society for Nutrition,, retrieved 05/2009.

National Barley Growers Association, Barley,, Retrieved 01/2009.

USDA Ag research ServiceStudy Investigates Health Benefits of Barley,, retrieved 01/2009. 

Prepared by the editors at Harvard Health Publications in consultation with Meir J. Stampfer, M.D., Dr.P.H., Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Vitamins and Minerals: What you need to know,  Harvard School of Public Health, 2008.

Bratman, Steven, and David Kroll. Natural Health Bible. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1999.

Paul Pitchford. Healing with whole food, North Atlantic Books, 2002.

Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders, 2004.

Norton Greenberger M.D. and Roanne Weisman, 4 Weeks to Healthy Digestion, Harvard School of Public Health. (2008)

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