Barley Grass (Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine)
Barley grass is the leaf portion of the barley plant (Hordeum vulgare) that remains after the seeds have been removed. As a grass, it is also known as a distichon, meaning that it grows in two separate ranks, or rows. The rows of barley grass are parallel to the central axis, forming a loose sheath over the stem, which is sometimes called the culm. This stem is hollow and jointed, and the seeds are ellipitical and furrowed. The barley plant, an annual that requires reseeding each year, reaches a height of up to 3 ft (about 1 m). The plant has an extensive history in human and animal nutrition. As a nutritional supplement, it is preferable to use young barley plants that have not yet developed seeds.
The barley plant appears to have been used by the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Vikings. It is believed that Columbus brought it to the Americas in 1493. Barley seeds have been used in both human nutrition and medicine. When the seeds are boiled, they release a thick substance that soothes sore throats. Barley seeds are used for the preparation of malt extract, which has a high sugar content that makes it suitable as a flavoring agent in pharmaceutical preparations.
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- It is the...
(The entire section is 1008 words.)
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