The decorticated seed is called pearl barley. This is no longer viable since the decortication process damages the embryo. It is used in soups, stews etc. Malt is obtained by sprouting the whole seed and then roasting it. The seed is then ground into a flour and boiled in water. The resulting liquid is very sweet and can be used in making beer or other drinks, and as a nutritious sweetener in various foods..The roasted (unsprouted) seed is used as a coffee and a salt substitute.
The seed sprouts are demulcent, expectorant, galactofuge, lenitive and stomachic. They are sometimes abortifacient. They are used in the treatment of dyspepsia caused by cereals, infantile lacto-dyspepsia, regurgitation of milk and breast distension. They are best not given to a nursing mother since this can reduce milk flow. The seed is digestive, emollient, nutritive, febrifuge and stomachic. It is taken internally as a nutritious food or as barley water (an infusion of the germinated seed in water) and is of special use for babies and invalids. Its use is said to reduce excessive lactation. Barley is also used as a poultice for burns and wounds. The plant has a folk history of antitumour activity. The germinating seed has a hypoglycaemic effect preceded by a hyperglycaemic action.Modern research has shown that barley may be of aid in the treatment of hepatitis, whilst other trials have shown that it may help to control diabetes. Barley bran may have the effect of lowering blood cholesterol levels and preventing bowel cancer.
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