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.
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.
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.
How does it 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.
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...
- Colorectal cancer. Eating dietary cereal fiber, including barley fiber, does not seem to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis). Early research suggests that eating food containing germinated barley daily for 4-24 weeks appears to reduce the symptoms of a type of inflammatory bowel disease called ulcerative colitis.
- Increasing strength and energy.
- Weight loss.
- Other conditions.
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).
Barley is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth appropriately. Barley flour can sometimes cause asthma.
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.
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.
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.
TriclabendazoleInteraction 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.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- 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.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Ames, N. P. and Rhymer, C. R. Issues surrounding health claims for barley. J Nutr 2008;138(6):1237S-1243S. View abstract.
Ammari, F. F., Faris, K. T., and Mahafza, T. M. Inhalation of wild barley into the airways: two different outcomes. Saudi.Med J 2000;21(5):468-470. View abstract.
Baker, P. G. and Read, A. E. Oats and barley toxicity in coeliac patients. Postgrad.Med J 1976;52(607):264-268. View abstract.
Barber, D., Sanchez-Monge, R., Gomez, L., Carpizo, J., Armentia, A., Lopez-Otin, C., Juan, F., and Salcedo, G. A barley flour inhibitor of insect alpha-amylase is a major allergen associated with baker's asthma disease. FEBS Lett 5-8-1989;248(1-2):119-122. View abstract.
Behall, K. M., Scholfield, D. J., and Hallfrisch, J. Diets containing barley significantly reduce lipids in mildly hypercholesterolemic men and women. Am.J.Clin.Nutr. 2004;80(5):1185-1193. View abstract.
Behall, K. M., Scholfield, D. J., and Hallfrisch, J. Whole-grain diets reduce blood pressure in mildly hypercholesterolemic men and women. J Am Diet.Assoc 2006;106(9):1445-1449. View abstract.
Block, G., Tse, K. S., Kijek, K., Chan, H., and Chan-Yeung, M. Baker's asthma. Studies of the cross-antigenicity between different cereal grains. Clin Allergy 1984;14(2):177-185. View abstract.
Bracken, S. C., Kilmartin, C., Wieser, H., Jackson, J., and Feighery, C. Barley and rye prolamins induce an mRNA interferon-gamma response in coeliac mucosa. Aliment.Pharmacol Ther 5-1-2006;23(9):1307-1314. View abstract.
Burger, W. C., Qureshi, A. A., Din, Z. Z., Abuirmeileh, N., and Elson, C. E. Suppression of cholesterol biosynthesis by constituents of barley kernel. Atherosclerosis 1984;51(1):75-87. View abstract.
Casiraghi, M. C., Garsetti, M., Testolin, G., and Brighenti, F. Post-prandial responses to cereal products enriched with barley beta-glucan. J Am Coll.Nutr 2006;25(4):313-320. View abstract.
Chasseur, C., Suetens, C., Nolard, N., Begaux, F., and Haubruge, E. Fungal contamination in barley and Kashin-Beck disease in Tibet. Lancet 10-11-1997;350(9084):1074. View abstract.
Cockcroft, A. E., McDermott, M., Edwards, J. H., and McCarthy, P. Grain exposure--symptoms and lung function. Eur J Respir Dis 1983;64(3):189-196. View abstract.
Cronin, E. Contact dermatitis from barley dust. Contact Dermatitis 1979;5(3):196. View abstract.
Curioni, A., Santucci, B., Cristaudo, A., Canistraci, C., Pietravalle, M., Simonato, B., and Giannattasio, M. Urticaria from beer: an immediate hypersensitivity reaction due to a 10- kDa protein derived from barley. Clin Exp Allergy 1999;29(3):407-413. View abstract.
de Lumen, B. O. Lunasin: a cancer-preventive soy peptide. Nutr Rev 2005;63(1):16-21. View abstract.
Delaney, B., Carlson, T., Frazer, S., Zheng, T., Hess, R., Ostergren, K., Kierzek, K., Haworth, J., Knutson, N., Junker, K., and Jonker, D. Evaluation of the toxicity of concentrated barley beta-glucan in a 28-day feeding study in Wistar rats. Food Chem.Toxicol. 2003;41(4):477-487. View abstract.
Delaney, B., Carlson, T., Zheng, G. H., Hess, R., Knutson, N., Frazer, S., Ostergren, K., van Zijverden, M., Knippels, L., Jonker, D., and Penninks, A. Repeated dose oral toxicological evaluation of concentrated barley beta-glucan in CD-1 mice including a recovery phase. Food Chem.Toxicol. 2003;41(8):1089-1102. View abstract.
Delaney, B., Nicolosi, R. J., Wilson, T. A., Carlson, T., Frazer, S., Zheng, G. H., Hess, R., Ostergren, K., Haworth, J., and Knutson, N. Beta-glucan fractions from barley and oats are similarly antiatherogenic in hypercholesterolemic Syrian golden hamsters. J Nutr. 2003;133(2):468-475. View abstract.
Dutau, G. [Pneumopleurocutaneous fistula after inhalation of an ear of barley (Hordeum murinum)]. Ann Pediatr (Paris) 1990;37(6):367-370. View abstract.
Ehrenbergerova, J., Belcrediova, N., Pryma, J., Vaculova, K., and Newman, C. W. Effect of cultivar, year grown, and cropping system on the content of tocopherols and tocotrienols in grains of hulled and hulless barley. Plant Foods Hum.Nutr 2006;61(3):145-150. View abstract.
Ellis, H. J., Doyle, A. P., Day, P., Wieser, H., and Ciclitira, P. J. Demonstration of the presence of coeliac-activating gliadin-like epitopes in malted barley. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 1994;104(3):308-310. View abstract.
Fabius, R. J., Merritt, R. J., Fleiss, P. M., and Ashley, J. M. Malnutrition associated with a formula of barley water, corn syrup, and whole milk. Am J Dis Child 1981;135(7):615-617. View abstract.
Fernandez-Anaya, S., Crespo, J. F., Rodriguez, J. R., Daroca, P., Carmona, E., Herraez, L., and Lopez-Rubio, A. Beer anaphylaxis. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1999;103(5 Pt 1):959-960. View abstract.
Granfeldt, Y., Liljeberg, H., Drews, A., Newman, R., and Bjorck, I. Glucose and insulin responses to barley products: influence of food structure and amylose-amylopectin ratio. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59(5):1075-1082. View abstract.
Gutgesell, C. and Fuchs, T. Contact urticaria from beer. Contact Dermatitis 1995;33(6):436-437. View abstract.
Hinata, M., Ono, M., Midorikawa, S., and Nakanishi, K. Metabolic improvement of male prisoners with type 2 diabetes in Fukushima Prison, Japan. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2007;77(2):327-332. View abstract.
Ikegami, S., Tomita, M., Honda, S., Yamaguchi, M., Mizukawa, R., Suzuki, Y., Ishii, K., Ohsawa, S., Kiyooka, N., Higuchi, M., and Kobayashi, S. Effect of boiled barley-rice-feeding in hypercholesterolemic and normolipemic subjects. Plant Foods Hum.Nutr 1996;49(4):317-328. View abstract.
Kanauchi, O., Fujiyama, Y., Mitsuyama, K., Araki, Y., Ishii, T., Nakamura, T., Hitomi, Y., Agata, K., Saiki, T., Andoh, A., Toyonaga, A., and Bamba, T. Increased growth of Bifidobacterium and Eubacterium by germinated barley foodstuff, accompanied by enhanced butyrate production in healthy volunteers. Int J Mol.Med 1999;3(2):175-179. View abstract.
Kanauchi, O., Iwanaga, T., and Mitsuyama, K. Germinated barley foodstuff feeding. A novel neutraceutical therapeutic strategy for ulcerative colitis. Digestion 2001;63 Suppl 1:60-67. View abstract.
Kanauchi, O., Mitsuyama, K., Homma, T., Takahama, K., Fujiyama, Y., Andoh, A., Araki, Y., Suga, T., Hibi, T., Naganuma, M., Asakura, H., Nakano, H., Shimoyama, T., Hida, N., Haruma, K., Koga, H., Sata, M., Tomiyasu, N., Toyonaga, A., Fukuda, M., Kojima, A., and Bamba, T. Treatment of ulcerative colitis patients by long-term administration of germinated barley foodstuff: Multi-center open trial. Int J Mol.Med 2003;12(5):701-704. View abstract.
Kanauchi, O., Mitsuyama, K., Saiki, T., Fushikia, T., and Iwanaga, T. Germinated barley foodstuff increases fecal volume and butyrate production in humans. Int J Mol Med 1998;1(6):937-941. View abstract.
Kanauchi, O., Mitsuyama, K., Saiki, T., Nakamura, T., Hitomi, Y., Bamba, T., Araki, Y., and Fujiyama, Y. Germinated barley foodstuff increases fecal volume and butyrate production at relatively low doses and relieves constipation in humans. Int J Mol.Med 1998;2(4):445-450. View abstract.
Kanauchi, O., Suga, T., Tochihara, M., Hibi, T., Naganuma, M., Homma, T., Asakura, H., Nakano, H., Takahama, K., Fujiyama, Y., Andoh, A., Shimoyama, T., Hida, N., Haruma, K., Koga, H., Mitsuyama, K., Sata, M., Fukuda, M., Kojima, A., and Bamba, T. Treatment of ulcerative colitis by feeding with germinated barley foodstuff: first report of a multicenter open control trial. J Gastroenterol. 2002;37 Suppl 14:67-72. View abstract.
Keenan JM. Whole grains, refined grains. Paper presented at "Experimental Biology 2000" meeting, April 17, 2000, San Diego, California. 2000;
Keenan, J. M., Goulson, M., Shamliyan, T., Knutson, N., Kolberg, L., and Curry, L. The effects of concentrated barley beta-glucan on blood lipids in a population of hypercholesterolaemic men and women. Br J Nutr 2007;97(6):1162-1168. View abstract.
Keogh, J. B., Lau, C. W., Noakes, M., Bowen, J., and Clifton, P. M. Effects of meals with high soluble fibre, high amylose barley variant on glucose, insulin, satiety and thermic effect of food in healthy lean women. Eur J Clin Nutr 2007;61(5):597-604. View abstract.
Liljeberg, H. G., Granfeldt, Y. E., and Bjorck, I. M. Products based on a high fiber barley genotype, but not on common barley or oats, lower postprandial glucose and insulin responses in healthy humans. J.Nutr. 1996;126(2):458-466. View abstract.
Maenetje, P. W. and Dutton, M. F. The incidence of fungi and mycotoxins in South African barley and barley products. J Environ.Sci Health B 2007;42(2):229-236. View abstract.
McIntosh, G. H., Whyte, J., McArthur, R., and Nestel, P. J. Barley and wheat foods: influence on plasma cholesterol concentrations in hypercholesterolemic men. Am.J.Clin.Nutr. 1991;53(5):1205-1209. View abstract.
Mitsuyama, K., Saiki, T., Kanauchi, O., Iwanaga, T., Tomiyasu, N., Nishiyama, T., Tateishi, H., Shirachi, A., Ide, M., Suzuki, A., Noguchi, K., Ikeda, H., Toyonaga, A., and Sata, M. Treatment of ulcerative colitis with germinated barley foodstuff feeding: a pilot study. Aliment.Pharmacol Ther 1998;12(12):1225-1230. View abstract.
Nakamura T, Kanauchi O, and Koike T. Toxic study of germinated barley foodstuff by 28 days continuous administration in rats. Pharmacometrics 1997;54(4):201-207.
Nakase, M., Usui, Y., Alvarez-Nakase, A. M., Adachi, T., Urisu, A., Nakamura, R., Aoki, N., Kitajima, K., and Matsuda, T. Cereal allergens: rice-seed allergens with structural similarity to wheat and barley allergens. Allergy 1998;53(46 Suppl):55-57. View abstract.
Newman RK, Lewis SE, Newman CW, and et al. Hypocholesterolemic effect of barley foods on healthy men. Nutr Rep Int 1989;39:749-760.
Nilsson, A. C., Ostman, E. M., Granfeldt, Y., and Bjorck, I. M. Effect of cereal test breakfasts differing in glycemic index and content of indigestible carbohydrates on daylong glucose tolerance in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87(3):645-654. View abstract.
Nilsson, A. C., Ostman, E. M., Holst, J. J., and Bjorck, I. M. Including indigestible carbohydrates in the evening meal of healthy subjects improves glucose tolerance, lowers inflammatory markers, and increases satiety after a subsequent standardized breakfast. J.Nutr. 2008;138(4):732-739. View abstract.
Pereira, F., Rafael, M., and Lacerda, M. H. Contact dermatitis from barley. Contact Dermatitis 1998;39(5):261-262. View abstract.
Peters, H. P., Boers, H. M., Haddeman, E., Melnikov, S. M., and Qvyjt, F. No effect of added beta-glucan or of fructooligosaccharide on appetite or energy intake. Am.J.Clin.Nutr. 2009;89(1):58-63. View abstract.
Poppitt, S. D. Soluble fibre oat and barley beta-glucan enriched products: can we predict cholesterol-lowering effects? Br J Nutr 2007;97(6):1049-1050. View abstract.
Poppitt, S. D., van Drunen, J. D., McGill, A. T., Mulvey, T. B., and Leahy, F. E. Supplementation of a high-carbohydrate breakfast with barley beta-glucan improves postprandial glycaemic response for meals but not beverages. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2007;16(1):16-24. View abstract.
Qureshi, A. A., Burger, W. C., Peterson, D. M., and Elson, C. E. The structure of an inhibitor of cholesterol biosynthesis isolated from barley. J Biol Chem 8-15-1986;261(23):10544-10550. View abstract.
Shimizu, C., Kihara, M., Aoe, S., Araki, S., Ito, K., Hayashi, K., Watari, J., Sakata, Y., and Ikegami, S. Effect of high beta-glucan barley on serum cholesterol concentrations and visceral fat area in Japanese men--a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Plant Foods Hum.Nutr. 2008;63(1):21-25. View abstract.
Smith, K. N., Queenan, K. M., Thomas, W., Fulcher, R. G., and Slavin, J. L. Physiological effects of concentrated barley beta-glucan in mildly hypercholesterolemic adults. J.Am.Coll.Nutr. 2008;27(3):434-440. View abstract.
Thorburn, A., Muir, J., and Proietto, J. Carbohydrate fermentation decreases hepatic glucose output in healthy subjects. Metabolism 1993;42(6):780-785. View abstract.
van Ketel, W. G. Immediate type allergy to malt in beer. Contact Dermatitis 1980;6(4):297-298. View abstract.
Vidal, C. and Gonzalez-Quintela, A. Food-induced and occupational asthma due to barley flour. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 1995;75(2):121-124. View abstract.
Yang, J. L., Kim, Y. H., Lee, H. S., Lee, M. S., and Moon, Y. K. Barley beta-glucan lowers serum cholesterol based on the up-regulation of cholesterol 7alpha-hydroxylase activity and mRNA abundance in cholesterol-fed rats. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol.(Tokyo) 2003;49(6):381-387. View abstract.
Yap, J. C., Chan, C. C., Wang, Y. T., Poh, S. C., Lee, H. S., and Tan, K. T. A case of occupational asthma due to barley grain dust. Ann Acad Med Singapore 1994;23(5):734-736. View abstract.
AbuMweis SS, Jew S, Ames NP. Beta-glucan from barley and its lipid-lowering capacity: a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. Eur J Clin Nutr 2010;64:1472-80. View abstract.
Alberts DS, Martinez ME, Roe DJ, et al. Lack of effect of a high-fiber cereal supplement on the recurrence of colorectal adenomas. Phoenix Colon Cancer Prevention Physicians' Network. N Engl J Med 2000;342:1156-62. View abstract.
Anon. Consensus statement on cereals, fibre and colorectal and breast cancers. Proceedings of the European Cancer Prevention consensus meeting. Santa Margheritia, Italy, 2-5 October 1997. Eur J Cancer Prev 1998;7:S1-83. View abstract.
Behall KM, Scholfield DJ, Hallfrisch J. Lipids significantly reduced by diets containing barley in moderately hypercholesterolemic men. J Am Coll Nutr 2004;23:55-62. View abstract.
Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 25th ed. WB Saunders Company, 1974.
Fasano A, Catassi C. Current approaches to diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease: an evolving spectrum. Gastroenterology 2001;120:636-51.. View abstract.
FDA Allows Barley Products to Claim Reduction in Risk of Coronary Heart Disease. FDA News, December 23, 2005. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/news/2005/NEW01287.html (Accessed 01 January 2006).
Fernandez-Anaya S, Crespo JF, Rodriguez JR, et al. Beer anaphylaxis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1999;103:959-60.
Fuchs CS, Giovannucci EL, Colditz GA, et al. Dietary fiber and the risk of colorectal cancer and adenoma in women. N Engl J Med 1999;340:169-76. View abstract.
Hallfrisch J, Scholfield DJ, Behall KM. Blood pressure reduced by whole grain diet containing barley or whole wheat and brown rice in moderately hypercholesterolemic men. Nutr Res 2003;23:1631-42.
Hapke HJ, Strathmann W. [Pharmacological effects of hordenine]. Dtsch Tierarztl Wochenschr 1995;102:228-32.. View abstract.
Jenkins DJ, Wesson V, Wolever TM, et al. Wholemeal versus wholegrain breads: proportion of whole or cracked grain and the glycaemic response. BMJ 1988;297:958-60. View abstract.
Keogh GF, Cooper GJ, Mulvey TB, et al. Randomized controlled crossover study of the effect of a highly beta-glucan-enriched barley on cardiovascular disease risk factors in mildly hypercholesterolemic men. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78:711-18. View abstract.
Lia A, Hallmans G, Sandberg AS, et al. Oat beta-glucan increases bile acid excretion and a fiber-rich barley fraction increases cholesterol excretion in ileostomy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;62:1245-51. View abstract.
Lupton JR, Robinson MC, Morin JL. Cholesterol-lowering effect of barley bran flour and oil. J Am Diet Assoc 1994;94:65-70.. View abstract.
Reddy BS. Role of dietary fiber in colon cancer: an overview. Am J Med 1999;106:16S-9S. View abstract.
Schatzkin A, Lanza E, Corle D, et al. Lack of effect of a low-fat, high-fiber diet on the recurrence of colorectal adenomas. Polyp Prevention Trial Study Group. N Engl J Med 2000;342:1149-55. View abstract.
Singh AK, Granley K, Misrha U, et al. Screening and confirmation of drugs in urine: interference of hordenine with the immunoassays and thin layer chromatography methods. Forensic Sci Int 1992;54:9-22. View abstract.
Terry P, Lagergren J, Ye W, et al. Inverse association between intake of cereal fiber and risk of gastric cardia cancer. Gastroenterology 2001;120:387-91.. View abstract.
Weiss W, Huber G, Engel KH, et al. Identification and characterization of wheat grain albumin/globulin allergens. Electrophoresis 1997;18:826-33. View abstract.