Barley (Da Mai)
Botanical Name: Hordeum vulgare L.
Barley is well known for its anti-cancer and healthy heart attributes. It is a nutritious grain that is a staple in Tibetan cuisine. It is packed with fiber that helps improve digestion, it is known as a high-fiber grain.
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Below is an overview of barley, combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of barley.
How to take FULL advantage of Barley's healing powers...
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Also Known As: N/A
Organs/Systems: Digestive, Nervous, Cardiovascular, Immune
Key Actions: Digestive, Relaxant, Expectorant, Anticancer, Anti-inflammatory, Sedative, Antipyretic, Antidiabetic
Medicinal Uses: Constipation, digestive function, fevers, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, weakness, heart disease, high blood pressure, insomnia, agitation, cancer, anxiety, diabetes, weight loss, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, restlessness, supports immune function, cell repair, regulates blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, prevent stroke.
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Spleen, Stomach, Gallbladder, Heart
Key Actions: Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach, Tonifies the Liver, Clears Heat, Clears Damp, Prevents Tumors, Clears Toxins
Medicinal Uses: Indigestion, constipation, Blood tonic, restorative, congestion, coughs, diarrhea, edema, jaundice, cancer, headaches, anxiety, restlessness, fevers, strength, weight loss, bladder infections, cancer, anemia, cleanses the Liver, supports the Gallbladder, prevents kidney, bladder, and gallstones, supports the skin, immunity, and detoxification.
Basic Habitat / Botany:
Native to Western Asia and Northeast Africa, it likes disturbed areas, roadsides, and orchards.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Grain, Grass
Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Cooling
Caution: Considered very safe.
Key Constituents: Fiber, Beta-glucans, Manganese, Molybdenum, Selenium, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Vitamin E, B1 and B3, Chromium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Lignans, Hordenine
History/Folklore: Barley was one of the first grains to be cultivated. It was cultivated in the Near East some 10,000 years ago. It has a rich nut-like flavor. Barley is available in several forms: sprouted barley (also called hulled barley), pearl barley, scotch barley, barley grits, barley oil extract, and barley flour. Hulled barley is the most nutritious.
Barley ripens before wheat, around the time of Passover, which meant in Biblical times that it could be subject to hail storms that destroy crops. The seventh plague sent to Egypt was a hail storm that destroyed the barley and flax crops. This event led to barley becoming known as the “overcomer.” The Hebrew month of Abib (green ears) refers to the ripening of barley.
In Ancient Egypt, barley was such an important crop that it was celebrated as a symbol of Upper Egypt. It was considered a gift of the gods. According to legend the goddess Isis brought barley to the peoples of the Nile from Lebanon.
In Babylon barley was used as a standard method of payment.
In Ancient China barley was considered a symbol of masculine potency because the ears of barley have “beards” (hair) and many seeds. Barley water has long been used in China as a restorative and blood-purifying tonic.
Don’t confuse Chinese barley (aka Job’s Tears or adlay millet/Coix lachryma-jobi/Yi Yi Ren or Yi Mi) with barley (Hordeum vulgare/Da Mai). Both are edible but are different plants.
In the Middle Ages barley was used to make bread and malts. The Celtic druids used barley grass juice to heal wounds and as a magic potion for their people during military campaigns.
In Islam, the Prophet Muhammad prescribed barley for many diseases.
Barley grass juice is used similarly to barley water. Both are high in nutrition and can support heart health and regulate blood sugar.
Barley has a “prebiotic” effect, helping to nourish the friendly bacteria in your large intestine and maintain a healthy colon.
The chance of suffering asthma was reduced by 72-88% in children who had high-intake of whole grains and fish, notably the Omega-3 from the fish and the magnesium and vitamin E from the grains.
The phosphorus in barley helps with cell repair.
Hordenin, a compound mostly found in bitter orange (Chen Pi) and barley, is an alkaloid that affects the body similarly to the hormone adrenaline, increasing blood pressure and balancing blood sugar.
Barley contains the highest levels of fiber, especially beta-glucan (20g), oats are next (3-8g), and compared to rice (0.13g), barley has far more fiber. Wheat is also significantly lower in fiber (0.5-1.0) than barley.
There is two-row and six-row barley, referring to the number of spikelets. Two-row barley has a lower protein content than six-row barley, thus it has more fermentable sugar content. The higher protein six-row variety is most often used when feeding animals. Two-row barley is used in traditional English ale-style beers. Six-row is more commonly in American lager-style beers.
Unhulled barley is typically used in barley tea or for sprouting (becoming hulled barley) and has the most nutritional value. Unhulled barley needs to be soaked for hours before using to help break down compounds that make it hard to digest. Hulled barley (aka sprouted barley) has had the husk removed, leaving the bran intact. It is easier to digest and is still high in fiber, iron, and minerals. Scotch barley has been milled a few times also leaving the bran intact however it is less nutritious than either unhulled or hulled. Pearl barley has had some of the bran removed and is lower still in nutrients and fiber than the other forms of barley but cooks faster. Barley grits are toasted and cracked grains.
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How to use Barley (Da Mai) and take FULL advantage of it's healing powers!
Find out how to safely use this powerful herb and get specific recipes you can make use of immediately. Dive deep into Eastern and Western perspectives about HOW and WHY this herb works. Includes uses, benefits, essential oils, gardening tips, and much, much more.
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