Barley

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What other names is Barley known by?

Barley Beta-Glucan, Barley Bran, Barley Grass, Barley Malt, Bêta-Glucane d'Orge, Cebada, Cereal Fiber, Dietary Fiber, Fibre Alimentaire, Fibre de Céréale, Green Barley, Green Barley Grass, Herbe d'Orge, Herbe d'Orge Verte, Hordeum, Hordeum Distichon, Hordeum distychum, Hordeum vulgare, Mai Ya, Malt d'Orge, Malt d'Orge Germée, Orge, Orge Germée, Orge Perlé, Orge Mondé, Pearl Barley, Pot Barley, Scotch Barley, Son d'Orge, Sprouted Barley, Sprouted Barley Malt.

What is Barley?

Barley is a plant. The grain of barley is used to make medicine.

Barley is used for lowering blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and for promoting weight loss. It is also used for digestive complaints including diarrhea, stomach pain, and inflammatory bowel conditions.

Some people use barley for increasing strength and endurance. Other uses include cancer prevention and treatment of a lung problem called bronchitis.

Barley is applied to the skin for treating boils.

In foods, barley is used as a source of vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, and fatty oils.

In manufacturing, barley is used as a food grain, natural sweetener, and as an ingredient for brewing beer and making alcoholic beverages.

Likely Effective for...

  • High cholesterol. Research shows that taking barley reduces total cholesterol and "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. The benefit might depend on the amount taken. Taking 0.4, 3, or 6 grams of soluble fiber from barley daily reduces total cholesterol by 14%, 17%, and 20% respectively. LDL is lowered by 17% to 24%. Barley also seems to lower another group of blood fats called triglycerides by 6% to 16% and increase "good" high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol by 9% to 18%.
    Taking barley orally also seems to reduce blood pressure in people with high cholesterol.
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now allows a health claim for food products containing barley. A food product containing 0.75 grams of soluble fiber from barley per serving can claim that, when used as part of a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, the product may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Stomach cancer. Some evidence suggests that eating dietary fiber, including barley, is linked with a reduced risk of stomach cancer.

Possibly Ineffective for...

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate barley for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Quick GuideLower Your Cholesterol, Save Your Heart

Lower Your Cholesterol, Save Your Heart

How does Barley work?

The fiber in barley might lower cholesterol and blood pressure in people with high cholesterol. Barley may also reduce blood sugar and insulin levels. Barley seems to slow stomach emptying. This could help keep blood sugar stable and create a sensation of being full, which might help to control appetite.

Are there safety concerns?

Barley is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth appropriately. Barley flour can sometimes cause asthma.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Barley is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy in amounts commonly found in foods. However, barley sprouts are POSSIBLY UNSAFE and should not be eaten in high amounts during pregnancy.

There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking barley if you are breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity: The gluten in barley can make celiac disease worse. Avoid using barley.

Allergies to cereal grains: Consuming barley might cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to other cereal grains, including rye, wheat, oat, corn and rice.

Diabetes: Barley might lower blood sugar levels. Your diabetes medications might need to be adjusted by your healthcare provider.

Surgery: Barley might lower blood sugar levels. There is a concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using barley at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Barley might decrease blood sugar by decreasing the absorption of sugars from food. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking barley with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to be too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.



Medications taken by mouth (Oral drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Barley contains a large amount of fiber. Fiber can decrease how much medicine the body absorbs. Taking barley along with medicine you take by mouth can decrease the effectiveness of your medication. To prevent this interaction take barley at least 1 hour after medications you take by mouth.



Triclabendazole
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Barley seems to reduce the amount of triclabendazole that the body can absorb and use. However, it is not clear if this is a big concern. Until more is known, people taking triclabendazole should use barley with caution.

Dosing considerations for Barley.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:
  • For lowering cholesterol: 3 grams of barley oil extract or 30 grams of barley bran flour or 0.4 to 6 grams of soluble fiber from barley added to a National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Step I diet. Pearled barley, or barley flour, flakes, or powder in doses of 3-12 grams daily have also been used.
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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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