BARLEY Overview Information
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.
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:
- Preventing stomach cancer.
Possibly Ineffective for:
- Preventing cancer of the colon (bowels) or rectum.
- Swelling (inflammation) of the stomach or bowel.
- Increasing strength and energy.
- Weight loss.
- Other conditions.
BARLEY Side Effects & Safety
Barley is LIKELY SAFE for most people. 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. But don’t eat barley sprouts. They are POSSIBLY UNSAFE.
If you are breast-feeding, it’s best to avoid barley in medicinal amounts. Not enough is known about the safety of taking barley during breast-feeding.
Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity: The gluten in barley can make celiac disease worse. Avoid using barley.
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.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with BARLEY
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) interacts with BARLEY
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.
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.