The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!


Scientific Names


  • Hordeum vulgare L.
  • Graminaceae

Common Names

  • Pearl barley (hulled grain)
  • Scotch barley
  • Ta-mai

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Parts Usually Used

Grain, germinate seeds (barley sprouts)
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture


Barley is an annual plant; its stout, simple stem (culm) is hollow and jointed and grows from 1 1/2 to 3 feet high. The narrow, tapering leaves ascend the stem in 2 ranks, the third leaf over the first; and their bases form loose sheaths around the stem. The flowers grow in bristly-bearded terminal spikes, producing eventually the elliptic, furrowed barley grains. The leaves of barley are broader than many other grasses, but more characteristic still is the “bearded” look of the spikes, this being due to the long awns that grow from them. A field of ripe barley radiates a pale yellow light.
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Where Found


Widely cultivated as a food grain. The major producing states are North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota and California in the United States. In Canada, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario, and Manitoba.
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Medicinal Properties

Demulcent, digestant, carminative, nutritive
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Biochemical Information

Amylase, invertase, dextrin, phospholipid, maltose, glucose, Iron, sulfur, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin, protein, vitamin B1
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Used in manufacturing beer, malt beverages.

Barley seeds were found in tombs in Asia Minor dating from about 3500 BC. It is believed that barley had it origin in western Asia and was used for food for animals and man; was the chief grain for bread making in Europe until wheat and rye.

The earliest settlers to North American brought barley to the continent.
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A mucilaginous substance is obtained when hulled barley (pearl barley) is cooked; good nutritional source for throat or stomach problems. The demulcent properties of cooked barley is useful in external treatment of sores, fevers, diarrhea, gout, and tumors. Used as a tonic during convalescence.

Barley water is a skin freshener, cleanses and softens skin. Made by simmering 3 tbsp. barley in 3 cups water for an hour. Strain and cool. Rinse off face after using and refrigerate the barley water. This is best for normal skin. Drinking barley water is also supposed to clear and beautify the skin; sweeten with honey and orange juice.

Barley shoots are used to dry mother’s milk, treat food stagnation, weak stomach, weak digestion, loss of appetite, and hepatitis.
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Formulas or Dosages

Decoction: was 2 oz. barley with cold water and boil in 1 cup water for a few minutes. Discard the water and boil the barley in 4 pints of water until the total volume is 2 pints. Strain and use as required.

Barley water: wash pearl barley in cold water. Boil 1 part pearl barley in 9 parts water for 20 minutes and strain. A dose is from 1 to 4 oz.
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Nutrient Content

Iron, sulfur, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin, protein, vitamin B1
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How Sold

Barley bread can be bought at health food stores and good bakeries. (Although, Culpeper states that barley bread is bad for melancholy people)
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Should be avoided by nursing mothers.
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Resource Links Natural Methods for Lowering Triglycerides & Cholesterol What Are the Benefits of Barley Grass Juice? Cholesterol-lowering supplements Consumption of barley beta-glucan ameliorates fatty liver and insulin resistance in mice fed a high-fat diet. ß-glucan from barley and its lipid-lowering capacity: a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials.

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Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Chinese Medicinal Herbs, compiled by Shih-Chen Li, Georgetown Press, San Francisco, California, 1973.

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

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