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Barley is an ancient grain that has been prepared by cooks throughout the world for thousands of years. Barley flakes or hulled (not pearled) barley are most nutritious. Ayurveda includes barley in remedies for numerous conditions including weight loss, water retention, weakness, recovery from prolonged illness, ulcers, dull complexion, sore throat, cough, and loss of voice. With its cooling, sweet, rough, and slightly astringent qualities, barley is an excellent balancing grain for when you’re feeling Earthy or Fiery. Here are more of barley’s benefits:

  • It is as an effective “fertilizer” for friendly bacteria in the gut.
  • It acts as a binder of toxins in the colon and blood.
  • It regulates blood sugar for up to ten hours after eating.
  • It lowers cholesterol.
  • It is abundant in fiber, thus supporting timely formation and elimination of wastes.
  • It heals chronic diarrhea with mucus.
  • It calms down an inflamed urinary tract.

Barley has a bit of gluten, but much less than wheat. Many people who react to wheat have no digestive problems with organic barley. Of course, if you have celiac disease, you have to avoid barley completely.

2 replies
  1. Irina
    Irina says:

    Divya, I love your website and I will soon get your book. How can I make barley more Vata-friendly? You write that it is sweet, which is great but its cooling and rough qualities are a problem for my vata imbalance. I love the taste, though!

    • Divya Alter
      Divya Alter says:

      Hi Irina, you can make barley more Vata-friendly by using spices like ginger, black pepper, kalonji seeds, fennel, and more. If you’ve gotten my cookbook already, follow my barley recipes with the adjustments for Airy digestions.


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