The health benefits of Barley tea have been noted largely for their nutritional aspects. But recent research has focused on the potentials of barley tea for preventing certain diseases and ailments.
Barley is a member of the grass family. It is a self-pollinating annual plant that typically grows to a height of 1 to 4 feet, and is able to withstand various growing conditions. Barley has often been grown as a food crop and is a staple grain in many countries in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Wild barley is normally found in grasslands, woodlands, disturbed habitats, roadsides and orchards.
The grains of barley usually range from black to violet, but most of them are of a maize hue. The nutrients of barley are most concentrated near the bran. As such, the most nutritious grains are the ones that undergo the least milling.
The grass of barley is known to be a very rich source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. The glutamic acid in barley is the source of much of its antioxidants. A tablespoon of dried barley is thought to contain the body’s daily requirement of beta-carotene, betaine, biotin, boron, copper, iron, lutein, magnesium, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine. Barley also contains considerable amounts of alpha-linoleic acid, oryzanol, potassium, selenium, zinc, and tocopherol.
Barley grass has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. It has been prescribed to fight diseases of the spleen or poor digestion. It has also been utilized to treat conditions such as depression or emotional imbalance. But the use of barley is not recommended for nursing and pregnant women as it may stop lactation.
Barley tea is popular in Japanese and Korean cuisine. The barley is often roasted and stewed in hot water. Nowadays, barley tea bags are already widely available. It is also used as a caffeine-free coffee substitute in American cuisine.
The following are the health benefits attributed to barley tea:
- May help supplement daily nutrition levels.
- May help improve blood sugar levels.
- May help in reducing bad cholesterol levels.
- May help protect against certain forms of cancer.
- May help facilitate proper digestion.
- May help in cleansing the body of toxins.
- Believed to be good in relieving early symptoms of colds.