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Hordeum. Barley. Hordeum sativum.

Botanical name:

Related entries: Extract of Malt

Hordeum. Barley. Orge, Fr. Gerste, G.—The grains of Hordeum sativum Jessen, and its cultivated varieties. The original country of the cultivated barley is unknown. The plant has been found growing wild in Sicily and in various parts of the interior of Asia.

Pillitz found (Zeit. An. Chem., 1872) in the dry barley 14.3 per cent. of insoluble albuminoids, 2.1 per cent. of soluble albuminoids, 62.6 per cent. of starch, 1.9 per cent. of dextrin, 2.7 per cent. of sugar, 1.7 per cent. of extractive material, 3.1 per cent. of fat, 1.4 per cent. of soluble ash, 1.2 per cent. of insoluble ash, and 8.9 per cent. of lignin. The presence of sugar seems to have been shown by Kuhnemann (Ber. d. Chem. Ges., 1875 and 1876), who found a crystallized dextrogyrate sugar which did not reduce alkaline copper solution, and an amorphous laevogyrate mucilaginous substance called sinistrin. According to Kuhnemann, barley does not contain dextrin.

Clifford Richardson (Bulletin No. 9, Department of Agriculture, 1886) gives the following as the average composition of American barley: water, 6.47 per cent.; ash, 2.87; oil, 2.67; sugar, etc., 7.02; dextrin and soluble starch, 3._5; starch, 62.09; albuminoids soluble in 80 per cent. alcohol, 3.66; albuminoids insoluble in 80 per cent. alcohol, 7.86; fiber, 3.81; total, 100.00. He finds, moreover, that on an average the grain makes up 84.78 per cent. and the hull 15.22 per cent. of the barley.

Barley contains hordein, a proteid substance somewhat related to gliadin which is derived from the kernels of wheat and rye. Hordein is soluble in alcohol. The name was formerly given to a pulverulent mixture obtained from barley which was believed to be a definite substance.

Hulled barley is merely the grain deprived of its husk, which, according to Einhoff, amounts to 18.75 parts in the hundred.

Barley meal is formed by grinding the seeds, previously deprived of their husk. It has a grayish-white color; the constituents are the same as described above for barley. It may be made into a coarse, heavy, hard bread, which in some countries is much used for food.

Pearl barley (Hordeum decorticatum, Br., 1885) if the seed deprived of all its investments and afterwards rounded and polished in a mill. It is in small round or oval grains, having the remains of the longitudinal furrow of the seeds. and of a pearly whiteness. It is wholly destitute of hordein, and abounds in starch, with some gluten, sugar, and gum. This ia the proper form of barley for medicinal use.

Barley in the form of the decoction, popularly known as barley water, affords a mucilaginous drink much employed from the time of Hippocrates to the present. Pearl barley is the form usually preferred for the preparation of the decoction, made by pouring four pints of boiling water on two troyounces of pearl barley and boiling away to two pints, and straining. It is especially used in infant feeding, as it seems to prevent the formation of large milk curds.


The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.



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