The decorticated seeds of Hordeum distichon, Linné (Nat. Ord. Graminacee). Native of central Asia; cultivated in all tropical and temperate climes.
Common Name: Barley.
Principal Constituents.—Maltose, dextrin, fatty matter, starch and proteids. It contains no gliadin, as does wheat, hence no gluten can be obtained from it. After germination it yields diastase (maltine), a starch-digesting body.
Preparation.—Decoctum Hordei, Decoction of Barley (Barley Water). Dose, ad libitum.
Action and Therapy.—Outside of its food value in broths, barley is useful as a demulcent and drink for fever patients and those suffering from diarrheal complaints. Barley flour, made into a thin pap, is useful in infant feeding, and a decoction of barley provides a soothing injection for rectal inflammations and a medium for the conveyance of medicines into the bowels in dysentery. It is also a good gastric lenitive after acute poisoning by irritants.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.