Barley is most commonly used for heart disease and high cholesterol. It is also used for diabetes, obesity, cancer prevention, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these other uses.
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 ?
Uses & Effectiveness
Likely Effective for
- Heart disease. Barley products contain high amounts of fiber. Foods high in soluble fiber can be used as part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet to prevent heart disease. Research shows that a person must eat at least 3.6 grams of soluble fiber each day to reduce the risk for heart disease.
- High cholesterol. Research shows that taking barley reduces total cholesterol and "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. The benefit might depend on the amount of barley taken.
Possibly Ineffective for
- Colon cancer, rectal cancer. People who eat more fiber such as barley don't seem to have a lower risk of developing colon cancer.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Stomach cancer. People who eat more fiber such as barley as part of their diet seem to have a lower risk of getting stomach cancer.
- A type of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis). Early research shows that eating food containing germinated barley daily for 4-24 weeks reduces the symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Other research shows that taking a specific product (Profermin) containing barley and other ingredients for 8 weeks reduces symptoms of ulcerative colitis and increases the chance of disease remission.
- High blood pressure.
- Stomach upset.
- Boils, when applied to the skin.
- Increasing strength and energy.
- Other conditions.
When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if barley is safe. In some people, barley can cause an allergic reaction after it has been applied to the skin. Symptoms may include skin rash and difficulty breathing.
Special Precautions and Warnings
When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if barley is safe. In some people, barley can cause an allergic reaction after it has been applied to the skin. Symptoms may include skin rash and difficulty breathing. Pregnancy: Barley is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy in amounts commonly found in foods. Barley sprouts are POSSIBLY UNSAFE and should not be eaten in high amounts during pregnancy.
Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if barley is safe to use when 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. An allergic reaction is also possible in people allergic to grass.
Triclabendazole (Egaten) interacts with BARLEY
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.
Be cautious with this combination
- For heart disease: Barley products that contain 3.6 grams of beta-glucan (soluble fiber) daily, as part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.
- For high cholesterol: 3 grams of barley oil extract, 30 grams of barley bran flour, or up to 6 grams of soluble fiber from barley have been used. In some cases, barley has been 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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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.
This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.