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Hordeum vulgare

Also known as pearl barley and scotch barley, this is widely cultivated as a food grain. It is an annual plant with a stout, hollow stem which is jointed and grows between 1 1/2 to 3 feet high. It has narrow, tapering leaves, the bases of which form loose sheaths around the stem. It's flowers grow in terminal spikes which eventually produce the furrowed barley grains.

The grains of the barley plant have a demulcent effect. When hulled barley is cooked, it produces a mucilaginous substance which is a source of nutrition for people with stomach or throat problems. Stomach and intestinal irritations can be soothed with a mixture of barley water and milk. Feverish conditions may also be helped be barley. The cooked grains make an effective external application for sores and tumors.