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.