The health benefits of barley grass are such that it helps to relieve ulcerative colitis, boosts the immune system, has antioxidant power, acts as a natural detoxifier, helps to prevent cancer, protects against UV Radiation, helps to reduce excess acidity, helps to fight addiction, helps to prevent signs of aging, helps to repair DNA, helps to boost red blood cell levels, helps to relieve migraines.
Barley grass is the leaf of the barley plant (an annual plant), as opposed to the grain. It is capable of growing in a wide range of climatic conditions. Barley grass has greater nutritional value if harvested at a young age. The young leaves have a tremendous ability to absorb nutrients from the soil. When barley leaves are 12-14 inches high, they contain all the vitamins, minerals, and proteins necessary for the human diet, plus chlorophyll. These necessities are easily assimilated throughout the digestive tract, giving the human body instant access to vital nutrients.
Large amounts of vitamins and minerals are found in barley grass (Barley Greens leaves). These include potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, beta carotene, B1, B2, B6, C, folic acid, and pantothenic acid. Barley grass is said to have 30 times more vitamin B1 and 11 times the amount of calcium than that is present in cow's milk, 6.5 times as much carotene and nearly 5 times the iron content as that of spinach, close to seven times the vitamin C as in oranges, four times the vitamin B1 as in whole wheat flour, and 80 micrograms of vitamin B12 per 100 grams of dried barley grass juice.
Barley grass has an impressive antioxidant wealth. Along with vitamin E and beta carotene, barley grass is the most potent supplier of healthy and critical enzyme superoxide dismutase which helps neutralize the effects of oxygen free radicals produced during energy metabolism. The protective action of these valuable radical scavengers prevents the development of a wide array of diseases caused by oxidative stress.
Barley grass is valuable in treating ulcerative colitis attributing to its stimulating effect on the gut friendly bacteria. It helps in alleviating the inflammation and other associated symptoms implicated in ulcerative colitis by reducing the provocative chemicals in the bowel. Barley grass also assists in balancing the fluidity in the bowel and helps eliminate accumulated toxins from the body.
Barley grass supports in boosting the immune defense mechanism of the body. Regular consumption of barley grass provides the required nutrition which is necessary for balancing the optimal production of immune cells in the body. Effective and strong immune defence vigilantly fights infections and prevents the development of fatal diseases.
Barley grass is a wonderful natural detoxifier. The cleansing ability of barley grass is even effective in eliminating the accumulated harmful heavy metals including lead which may cause behaviour and learning disorders, particularly in kids. The major contributors behind the act of detoxification are trace elements zinc, selenium, and copper. Furthermore, an abundance of chlorophyll and beta-carotene in barley grass stimulates the eradication of waste materials such as mucus and crystallized acids. It also supports the metabolic processes and aids in strengthening and detoxification of the liver.
Barley grass is effective against cancer owing to the power of superoxide dismutase enzyme. It has preventive as well as curing reaction against the cancer cells which also attributes to the presence of other remedial components such as peridoxase protein and catalase enzyme. Catalase enzymes present in barley grass has the ability to decompose and neutralize the effects of toxic hydrogen peroxide which is produced during respiration and help suppress the proliferation of cancer cells.
Another beneficial effect of barley grass is its protective action against the cell destructing effects of UV radiations. It helps prevent as well as extends a therapeutic relief on the existing damaged cell owing to the presence of superoxide dismutase enzymes. Regular consumption of barley grass juice aids in reducing the radiation stress in the people who are more prone to such exposure such as population in urban and large cities.
It also acts defensively against the effects of radioactivity and even renews the cells and tissues damaged by radioactivity. This attributes to the presence of chlorophyll content which improves the resistance to radioactivity and also encourages the production of new blood cells. For this reason, it is generally recommended to drink barley grass juice prior and post exposure to x-rays to provide a shield against the radioactive damages.
Barley grass beneficially contributes in establishing the acid-alkali balance of the body attributing to its super alkaline nature. It is a natural alkaline source which helps in reducing the excess acidity in the body which may cause acidosis damage. Imbalance of acid-alkali in the body may lead to problems like sleep disorders, cardiac pains, fatigue, constipation, and fragile fingernails.
Barley grass is also an effectual remedy for fighting various kinds of addictions. The presence of glutamic acid in barley grass inhibits the craving for harmful materials such as alcohol, coffee, nicotine, drugs and even sugary sweets.
Barley grass is a natural way to stimulate the regeneration of cells without any side effects. Vital components such as chlorophyll, vitamin B, iron and phycocyanin, a blue pigment in barley grass inspires the bone marrow and supports in the creation of white and red blood cells. This renewing effect of barley grass also helps prevent the signs of aging by rejuvenating the aging cells and helps maintain healthy and youthful skin. The useful enzymes present in barley grass improve the quality of blood, regulates digestion and works as a rejuvenator tonic for the entire body.
Researchers have found out that, out of the many health benefits of barley grass, it can also repair DNA. Due to stress, medical drugs, food additives, low immunity and even radiation, the DNA structure can change. This change can lead to sterility, genetic abnormalities and premature aging. This DNA damage can negatively affect women’s pregnancy in the form of spontaneous abortion and deformed offspring. Barley grass can help to strengthen the DNA.
Chlorophyll present in the grass is beneficial in boosting red blood cell levels. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
If a person is suffering with frequent migraines, then drinking barley grass juice will relax blood vessels and prevents migraines.
Historically, the plant species was used in the treatment of skin, liver, blood, and gastro-intestinal disorders. Ancient Greeks used the mucilage derived from the cereal to treat gastro-intestinal inflammations. Gladiators ate barley for strength and stamina. The Roman physician Pliny used barley as part of a ritualized cure for boils.
Many claims have been made regarding the health benefits of barley grass supplements. Suggested benefits include treatment of HIV infection, detoxification of pollutants, and boosting energy and immunity.
The consumption of barley grass is likely to be safe. The side effects of barley grass are not much pronounced. Although hypersensitivity to barley products typically is associated with the seed and not the green leaves or shoots, patients with celiac disease or other sensitivities to barley probably should avoid use of barley grass.
Barley originated in Ethiopia and Southeast Asia, where it has been cultivated for more than 10,000 years. Barley was used by ancient civilizations as a food for humans and animals, as well as to make alcoholic beverages; the first known recipe for barley wine dates back to 2800 BC in Babylonia. In addition, since ancient times, barley water has been used for various medicinal purposes. Barley played an important role in ancient Greek culture as a staple bread-making grain as well as an important food for athletes, who attributed much of their strength to their barley-containing training diets. Roman athletes continued this tradition of honouring barley for the strength that it gave them. Gladiators were known as hordearii, which means eaters of barley. Barley was also honoured in ancient China as a symbol of male virility since the heads of barley are heavy and contain numerous seeds.
Since wheat was very expensive and not widely available in the Middle Ages, many Europeans at that time made bread from a combination of barley and rye. In the 16th century, the Spanish introduced barley to South America, while the English and Dutch settlers of the 17th century brought it with them to the United States.
Today, the largest commercial producers of barley are Canada, the United States, the Russian Federation, Germany, France and Spain.