Barley: Another Miracle Plant?

young grass of barley (photo from http://www.123rf.com/photo_6742961_green-barley.html)

What are your first thoughts when you hear the word barley?

Mine are beer and livestockfeed. Barley is mostly used for beer, but the remaining components of barley grass are dried, processed, and combined with other grains to produce livestock feed that is both nutritious and affordable. While this has become a global industry, small farmers around the world continue to produce barley that is used for home remedies, with the leftover components turned into natural food sources for cows, pigs, and other animals that are part of the farm. It is believed that the cultivation of barley’s young leaves first took place as early as 7000 BC. Barley is said to be the oldest of all cultivated grains and has been the principal bread plant among the ancient Hebrews, Greeks and the Romans.

young grass of barley (photo from http://www.123rf.com/photo_6742961_green-barley.html)

Health enthusiasts harvest barley while it is young, as younger barley grass has higher levels of nutrients compared to its mature counterpart. As these cereal plants grasses grow, their nutrient contents change rapidly. The nutrient concentration – vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, chlorophyll – deteriorate significantly. In its young state, however, barley grass contains extremely high levels of nutrients.

Barley grass is said to be the only vegetable on this planet that can supply all the nutrients which the human body needs from birth to old age. Barley grass contains very large amounts of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and other beneficial nutrients. These includes: essential and non-essential amino acids; antioxidants; enzymes, including the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase (SOD); folic acid; pantothenic acid; carotenoids (6 times the amount of carotene in spinach); flavonoids; vitamin B1 (30 times the amount in cows’ milk); vitamin B complex; vitamin C (nearly 7 times the amount in oranges); calcium; and minerals like copper; iron; manganese; magnesium; phosphorus; selenium; potassium;  zinc and organic sodium.

Here are some of the confirmed benefits of barley grass:

  • Barley is very helpful to those who would want to lose weight. Aside from the fact that it is low in fat, it is also known to reduce craving some kinds for food. It acts as an appetite suppressant making people feel like they have eaten more than they really have.
  • Barley is high is soluble fiber and can reduce blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels. The dietary fiber in barley binds to bile acids and helps dispose them through the feces. The same fiber from barley helps the digestive system run smoothly, and is said to soothe and calm the bowels, thereby keeping the colon healthy. This fiber content from the barley also works with the friendly bacteria found in the large intestine and forms butyric acid which functions as the main fuel for intestinal cells. This fiber also prevents  the formation of gallstones.
  • Barley contains copper that helps maintain the flexibility in blood vessels, bones and joints and is very helpful reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Barley is rich in niacin, which is highly effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and blood clots.
  • Barley is diuretic. It brings clear urine and is useful in fevers. It can be used as a nutrient in cases of mucus colitis or simple diarrhea with fever.
  • Barley contains selenium which helps in preserving the elasticity of the skin and protects it from radical damage. It also has manganese which works with the B complex vitamins and gives an overall feeling of well being.
  • Barley grass is a powerful antioxidant that is believed to help the body kill cancer cells and overcome a variety of ailments, including acne and ulcers. Barley contains vitamins C, E and K as well as apigenin and superoxide disumtase, which are all antioxidants.
  • Barley helps in cleansing the liver of toxins, such as alcohol and heavy metals, that have built up over the years. By restoring the liver to its full function, barley can improve your overall immunity, restore vibrant energy and promote a healthy metabolism.
  • Barley is proven to be extremely helpful in curing childhood asthma.
  • The chlorophyll found in young barley grass is linked to a reduction in cancer cells by blocking the bioavailability of cancer-promoting toxins and speeding the removal of toxins from your body. Because of this protective effect,  consuming a daily dose of chlorophyll by drinking or eating barley may reduce one’s chances of developing cancer.
  • Barley is also good for persons suffering from diabetes and can take the place of normal food where rice is prohibited. Barley may be an even better breakfast choice than oats for persons with Type 2 diabetes. Consuming barley is known to substantially reduce the risk of diabetes.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine because of its vitamins and minerals content. Barley is prescribed to fight diseases of the spleen or poor digestion. It has also been utilized to treat conditions such as depression or emotional imbalance.

Barley grains can be purchased unprocessed. Natural food stores and larger grocery stores usually have bulk bins with a variety of grains available, including barley. Just make sure you store your barley in a container with a tight-fitting lid when you get home and not in the plastic bags the grocery store offers. Including barley in your daily diet doesn’t require any complicated culinary skills or cooking techniques.

In some countries,the young leaves of the Barley are dried and made into grass powder. This latest discovery is actually endorsed by many, including Dr Lorraine Day, who underwent a natural regimen after refusing chemotherapy and radiation and recovered from late stage breast cancer, although she only recommended a particular brand of the powder.

Looks like there’s a new “grass” in town. And yes, this is legal is all countries.

Web References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barley

http://www.oprah.com/health/Barley-Grass-Wheatgrass-and-Green-Foods-Superfood-No-6

http://www.healingcancernaturally.com/barley-green-powder-medicine.html

http://www.all4naturalhealth.com/barley-grass-powder.html

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-barley-grass.htm

http://www.ehow.com/how_2210635_cook-barley.html

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/barley-benefits.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/406035-health-benefits-of-barley-wheatgrass/