Medical Herbs Catalogue



Botanical Name: Hordeum distichon (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Graminaceae

Synonyms: Pearl Barley. Perlatum.
Part Used: Decorticated seeds.
Habitat: Britain.

Description: Pearl Barley is the grain without its skin; rounded and polished; this is the official variety. Taste and odour farinaceous. The Scotch, milled, or pot barley isthe grain with husks only partly removed. Patent Barley is the ground decorticated grain.

Constituents: Pearl Barley contains about 80 per cent of starch and about 6 per cent of proteins, cellulose, etc.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Pearl Barley is used for the preparation of a decoction which is a nutritive and demulcent drink in febrile conditions and in catarrhal affections of the respiratory and urinary organs: barley water is used to dilute cows' milk for young infants, it prevents the formation of hard masses of curd in the stomach. Malt is produced from barley by a process of steeping and drying which develop a ferment 'diatase' needed for the production of alcoholic malt liquors, but in the form of Malt Extract it is largely used in medicine. Vinegar is an acid liquid produced by oxidation of fermented malt wort. Malt vinegar is the only vinegar that should be used medicinally.

Dosage and Preparation: Barley water. Pearl Barley washed 10 parts, water to 100 parts, boil for 20 minutes, strain. Dose, 1 to 4 oz.

Adulterants: Pearl Barley is sometimes treated with french chalk and starch to whiten it and increase the weight.