Barley in TCM:Explore the properties of Barley according to Chinese
Nutrition and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM):
Channels: ST, SP, UB, GB
Flavors: sweet, salty
Tonifies: qi, blood, yin
clears damp, resolves water accumulations, eliminates toxins
In terms of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Barley is known for its ability to tonify qi, tonify blood, and tonify yin. It also helps to resolve dampness, resolve water accumulations, and eliminate toxins.
In general the ancient Chinese medical texts cite that it enters the Stomach, Spleen, Urine Bladder, and Gallbladder. The flavor of Barley is sweet and salty, and it is considered to be cool in temperature.
Barley is widely known in Chinese medicine for its ability to strengthen the spleen-pancreas making it an excellent choice for diabetics. Barley regulates the stomach and fortifies the intestines while building blood and yin fluids. Barley moistens dryness and promotes diuresis. It also benefits the gallbladder and nervous system. Barley is very easy to digest.
To make a decoction of barley water boil 2 ounces of barley in 1 quart of water. A decoction of barley water can be used for convalescents and invalids, or to treat diarrhea. Barley water can also be used to soothe inflamed membranes, alleviate painful urination, reduce tumors, swellings, and watery accumulations such as edema. Add barley to a soup to reduce fever.
Whole barley, also known as "sproutable" barley, is mildly laxative and contains "far more nutrition than commonly used pearled variety" (HWWF 461). Whole barley contains more fiber, twice the calcium, 3x iron, and 25% more protein. To remove its laxative property simply roast whole barley until it is aromatic before cooking. Roasting also makes barley more alkalazing. Roasted barley can be ground into powder and stirred into hot water as a drink, or decocted as a tea in its whole berry form, to relieve summer heat and fatigue.
Sprouted barley is a common Chinese herb. Sprouted barley is slightly warming and has a sweet flavor. It treats indigestion from starchy food or poorly tolerated mother's milk in infants. Sprouted barley tonifies the stomach and alleviates stagnant liver signs including chest or upper abdominal swelling/tightness. Sprouted barley strengthens weak digestion and stimulates poor appetite in the case of spleen-pancreas deficiency. Sprouted barley is also useful in candida induced digestive weakness.
Caution: Constipation may be worsened by use of roasted barley.