Hordeum Decorticatum. Pearl Barley.

Botanical name: 

Related entry: Malt

Pearl barley is the dried fruit of Hordeum distichon, Linn. (N. O. Gramineae), from which the integuments and outer portions of the kernel have been more or less completely removed. The prepared fruits are white in colour, with a farinaceous taste and odour, from 2.5 to 4 millimetres long, and from 1.5 to 4 millimetres broad. Each one bears a trace of the longitudinal furrow, in which remains of the brownish integuments are visible. The starch granules closely resemble those of wheat, but the large grains are rather smaller and less regularly circular, with a tendency towards a sub-reniform shape.

Constituents.—Pearl barley contains about 80 per cent. of starch, and about 6 per cent. of proteins, cellulose, etc.

Action and Uses.—Pearl barley is used for the preparation of a decoction which is a nutritive and demulcent drink in febrile conditions and in catarrhal affections of the respiratory and urinary systems. This decoction, or barley water, is also used as a diluent of cow's milk for young infants; it prevents the formation of hard masses of curd in the stomach, the casein being precipitated in a more readily digestible form as a fine flocculence. The "patent " barleys largely sold as a substitute for pearl barley are in fine powder, but have properties similar to those of pearl barley.


Decoctum Hordei, B.P., 1885.—DECOCTION OF BARLEY. Syn.—Barley Water.
Pearl barley, washed, 10; distilled water, sufficient to produce 100. Add the washed barley to 150 of the water, boil for twenty minutes, strain, and make up to the required volume, if necessary, by passing distilled water through the strainer. Large quantities of this decoction are taken in mucous catarrhs. It is used also as a diluent of cow's milk for the use of young infants, to prevent the formation of solid. masses of casein in the stomach. Dose.—30 to 120 mils (1 to 4 fluid ounces).

The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.