"The seed of Hordeum distichum, Linné (Nat. Ord.—Graminaceae), caused to enter the incipient stage of germination by artificial means and dried"—(U. S. P., 1880).
SYNONYMS: Maltum hordei, Barley malt.
Preparation.—If barley, or any other grain, be soaked (steeped) in water and thrown into heaps (couched), it will spontaneously generate heat. By frequent turning, the heat is prevented from becoming too great. The barley is then spread upon the floors (floored), whereupon germination takes place. The grain, after its germ has attained a certain length (usually one-third the length of the seed), is quickly dried in kilns at a temperature not above 71° C. (160° F.), and constitutes what is termed malt. What are known as the varieties—pale malt, pale-amber, amber, and amber-brown malt—is the malt to which different degrees of heat have been applied in drying. For medicinal uses only the pale malt or pale-amber malt should be employed. Black, or roasted malt, is that kind, the integuments of which are deep-brown in color, made so by roasting in rapidly revolving cylinders. Should the interior of the grain be of the same hue it is then called crystallized malt. (For a very readable, short article oil malt and malting, by F. X. Moerk, see Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1884, p. 305; also see special treatises oil the fermentation industries.)
Description and Chemical Composition.—Malt should have a pale or amber color, a sweetish taste, and a somewhat pleasant odor. Its aqueous infusion should be of a deep-yellowish or brown color. Besides the constituents of barley, malt contains the ferment diastase, dextrin, and sugar. Diastase resembles ptyalin, in that it changes starch into dextrin and sugar (maltose), and is, therefore, considered by some as identical with that salivary ferment (also see under Hordeum).
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—(For uses of extract of malt, see Extractum Malti.) Starchy food is rendered more easily digested by malt and its preparations, which act similarly to ptyalin, converting amylaceous matter into sugar and dextrin, and preventing fermentation. An excellent diastatic agent for addition to farinaceous foods, for those suffering from wasting disorders, where nutriment is either passed undigested or is vomited, and especially useful in the summer disorders of infants, and for marasmic and tubercular patients, is the following cold infusion of malt: Mix 1 ½ ounces of crushed malt with 4 fluid ounces of cold water. Allow it to stand a half day, then filter it through paper until of a perfectly clear, sherry-brown color. Maltose and diastase are its principal constituents, and it readily ferments, hence but small amounts should be prepared, and those daily. A half ounce of this sweetish infusion added to half pint of any farinaceous gruel, at a moderately warm temperature, will cause the amylaceous products to be converted into glucose and dextrin.