Barley: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Hordeum vulgare

Barley is the most famous traditional and nutritious cereal grain. Barley due to its nutritional properties used in preparing a baked food, salads, and soups. Barley is a rich source of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Barley is also known as a super grain which has several health benefits.

Barley has erect stems with alternate leaves on them. A type of Barley known as six-row Barley has a higher protein content, and this variety is suitable for animal feed. The other Barley, which is known as two-row Barley, has a higher sugar content and is therefore used for malt production.

Barley has a nut-like flavor, chewy and pasta-like consistency. Sprouted Barley contains a high amount of maltose which can be a perfect sweetener. There are different uses of Barley, such as in bread, stews, and beverages. Whole barley grain is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Barley is very popularly consumed in American diets. Barley is mainly grown in temperate climates worldwide.

Barley was first cultivated in Eurasia about 10,000 years ago. Barley is used for making animal fodder. Barley is fermentable material for preparing beer and some distilled beverages. Barley has high fiber content, and therefore it is an excellent alternative to other refined grains. Barley should be included as a common ingredient in daily diet, protecting from chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Sources of Barley

Barley is cultivated worldwide as it is adaptable to a more excellent range of climates. There are different varieties of Barley depending on temperature, subarctic and subtropical areas. Due to its significant resistance to dry heat compared to other small grains, Barley is cultivated in most parts of North Africa. Barley is also grown in different countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and America.

Other Names for Barley

There are different names of Barley depending on regional languages in India.

  • In Hindi, Barley is known as Jau.
  • In Gujarati, Barley is known as Jav.
  • In Marathi, Barley is known as Satu.
  • In Tamil, Barley is known as Barliarisi.
  • In Telugu, Barley is known as BarliBiyyam.

Chemical compounds in Barley

Barley contains different types of vitamin B, such as thiamin, niacin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6). Barley has a unique compound, i.e., beta-glucans, a variety of fiber with different health benefits. Barleys is also rich in folate, potassium, vitamin B-6, and Iron. Barley contains no cholesterol, which is good for maintaining good heart health. Barley is an excellent source of micronutrients such as copper, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, and selenium.

Health benefits of Barley

  • Barley is very helpful in reducing hunger and enhances the feelings of fullness.
  • The stomach fullness and reduced hunger due to Barley consumption help in weight loss over time.
  • The soluble fibers present in Barley, i.e., beta-glucan in the presence of water in the stomach, form a gel-like substance, which slows down the digestion and absorption of nutrients support the weight loss of the body.
  • Barley has high fiber content that helps food move through your gut, and the fiber acts as a prebiotic for maintaining a good balance of gut bacteria.
  • Fiber present in Barley is significant, which contributes to healthy bowel movements, and helps people avoid constipation-like problems.
  • The insoluble fiber present in Barley helps prevent the formation of gallstones in the gallbladder to prevent further surgery pains.
  • Barley helps in reducing the bad cholesterol and improves the good cholesterol level in the body.
  • The addition of Barley to a regular diet is beneficial in managing blood pressure problems, and it also helps reduce the risk of heart diseases.
  • Barley promotes insulin production, which synergistically reduces blood sugar levels for further prevention from type 2 diabetes.
  • Fibers present in Barley helps to fight off certain types of cancers, like colon cancer.
  • Barley contains micronutrients such as copper, which is very good in improving the production of hemoglobin, which helps lower the chances of anemia.
  • Barley consumption is beneficial for bone health as it contains calcium, phosphorous, and copper, which strengthen the bones.
  • Barley’s drink contains manganese, and it plays a significant role in the formation of bones.
  • The bioaccessibility of calcium present in a glass of barley drink is eleven times more than a glass of milk. Thus it is suitable for a patient who has osteoporosis.
  • Drinking barley water often is good for skin health as it helps to provide a red glow to the face.
  • Barley water has analgesic properties, and the drink prepared from Barley helps in soothing the pain throughout breastfeeding.
  • Drinking barley water stimulates digestive juices and enhances indigestion-related problems in both the mothers and babies.
  • Barley water has a low glycemic index and drinking it is suitable for patient who has diabetes.

Barley water for skin

There are traditional ways to prepare barley water. Nowadays, in the market, barley water is ready with vitamin C and other antioxidants. The antioxidants present in barley water help fight against the free radicals responsible for wrinkles, saggy skin, and fine lays. Barley water also contains selenium which helps in retaining the elasticity of the skin.

Barley water for hair

Barley water is a good source of water-soluble vitamin B, i.e., niacin, thiamine, and Procyanidin B-3. Due to this unique composition, barley water promotes growth and supports rendering thick, lush hair. The combination of minerals such as Iron and copper improves the production of red blood cells, which further reduces hair loss because of anemia.

Recommended Dosage of Barley

The ayurvedic dosage of Barley varies according to its variants of different forms of barley products.

Product Preparation Dosage/ Day
Powder Take 2.5g of barley powder, and it is taken with lukewarm water before meals. NA
Grass tablet Take one barley grass tablet along with lukewarm water. NA

Side effects and Precautions While Using Barley

  • Barley and its supplement contain gluten, and there is a group of people who are allergic to gluten; therefore, proper precautions are taken for such groups.
  • Common allergic symptoms are rashes, nausea, stomach cramps, indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea.


Is Barley helpful for Boils?

Yes, Barley is beneficial for managing the boils problem. The paste prepared from Barley is directly applied to the skin to work boils. The issue of Boils arises due to an imbalance of Pitta dosha, which could further lead to conditions like pus accumulation and inflammation. Barley helps to provide the required relief from boils.

Can I take Barley during diabetic conditions?

Yes, Barley grains are very beneficial for diabetic patients. It contains a good number of soluble fiber content, regulating blood glucose levels by reducing glucose absorption.

Can Barley help with thyroid problems?

Yes, Barley surely helps in managing thyroid problems. Barley is rich in different bioactive ingredients, which helps in decreasing the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone. Barley also helps protect the brain from further damage due to thyroid problems and supports normal brain functioning.


The Whole Barley is a rich source of fiber, manganese, molybdenum, and selenium. Soaking barley grains is good for reducing the antinutritional contents. Barley is also a good source of vitamin B1, chromium, magnesium, niacin, and copper. Barley especially helps in weight management by reducing hunger.

Read more about: Ajwain: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a health care professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.