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Are you looking for a herbal supplement with many health benefits? Then you have probably already come across Green Food Barley Grass. The plant contains a variety of nutrients and active ingredients and is currently one of the superfoods par excellence. But what can the grass really do?

In our barley grass test 2021 we provide you with the necessary information about the superfood and help you find the right product for you. We also present delicious recipes that help you to easily integrate barley grass into your diet.




Summary

  • Barley grass provides the body with a variety of nutrients and vitamins, which is why it is often used as a dietary supplement.
  • The superfood can either be taken as tablets, or enjoyed in powder form in smoothies, muesli, etc.
  • If you have a grass allergy or gluten intolerance, barley grass may cause an allergic reaction.

The best Barley Grass: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying barley grass

The medicinal plant was already cultivated in ancient times and has always been considered a so-called "superfood". In the following section, we will explain in more detail what this really means, and we will also inform you about the current state of science.

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Barley was originally used as fattening feed for animals.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Robert Hoffmann)

What is barley grass?

Barley grass is the name given to the young leaves that emerge after the barley grain has germinated. The stalks are harvested even before an ear forms, because at this point the nutrient content is at its maximum. (1) The sweet grass is then dried and processed.

Barley grass has an exceptionally high nutrient density and is rich in important minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. The green food is said to have numerous healing effects in almost all areas of health and can also be integrated into a vegan diet. (2)

Ingredients include:

  • Minerals and trace elements
  • Vitamins
  • Dietary fibre
  • High quality carbohydrates
  • Amino acids

Minerals and trace elements

Nutrient Amount contained (per 100g) Function
Calcium 832 mg Stability of bones and teeth
Phosphorus 437 mg Stability of bones, energy source
Magnesium 179 mg Function of muscles and nerve cells
Iron 37.4 mg Transport of oxygen, energy source
Sodium 18.4 mg Enhancement of impulses in nerves and muscles
Zinc 3.4 mg Immune system, cell division

Vitamins

Vitamin Amount contained (per 100g) Function
Vitamin C 7.33 mg Immune system, tissue structure
Vitamin E 2.44 mg Free radical defence
Vitamin A 1.23 mg Cell growth,eyes, skin, mucous membranes
Vitamin B2 1.73 mg Metabolism, respiratory function
Vitamin B6 0.67 mg Immune system, nerves

To prevent the high nutrient density from being reduced, high temperatures should be avoided as far as possible during production and storage.

How does barley grass work?

Barley grass has an alkaline and anti-inflammatory effect, which has a positive effect on the immune system and the entire organism. (3) However, larger studies have not yet been conducted.

The following effects can already be scientifically confirmed:

Regulation of the acid-base balance

The acid-base balance quickly becomes unbalanced due to an unbalanced diet. This is promoted by acid-forming foods such as dairy products, processed cereal products, meat and sugar.

An alkaline diet is important to support bone health and the cardiovascular system and to minimise the risk of high blood pressure and strokes. (4) Special focus should rather be placed on alkaline foods, which include green vegetables in particular. When taken regularly, barley grass naturally regulates the pH value and thus the over-acidification in the organism through its strong alkaline properties.

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Green vegetables and barley grass keep the acid-base balance in equilibrium.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Vitalii Pavlyshnets)

Lowering cholesterol

Elevated cholesterol levels often go unnoticed because they do not cause any direct symptoms. In the long run, however, it increases the risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases.

High cholesterol levels are the result of an unbalanced diet and lack of exercise, but the contraceptive pill can also have negative effects. To counteract this imbalance and the risk of secondary diseases, the regular intake of barley grass is recommended. The vitamins it contains significantly lower cholesterol levels after only four weeks of daily intake. (6)

Diabetes

Diabetics in particular often have to struggle with high blood sugar levels. This is also caused by an unhealthy lifestyle and inadequate nutrition, which leads to an increase in the number of people suffering from diabetes 2. Here, too, barley grass has a positive effect on the blood sugar level when taken daily. (7)

Intestinal flora

An intact intestinal flora is the basis for a healthy organism. Barley grass is said to have a particularly good regenerative and anti-inflammatory effect on chronic intestinal inflammations. It is considered safer than conventional synthetic medication because it can be well absorbed by the body. Maintaining a healthy intestinal flora also facilitates weight loss. (8)

Skin and hair

Barley grass contains valuable antioxidants, including proanthocyanidin. The secondary plant substance protects cells from free radicals and toxins and promotes an intact immune system.

Through a balancing effect on the intestinal flora, barley grass promotes cell renewal, which ensures improved tone and elasticity of the skin and connective tissue. The superfood can also help improve acne and neurodermatitis. In addition, the micronutrients and vitamins have a positive effect on hair growth.

When and for whom is barley grass useful?

The intake of barley grass is particularly suitable when you want to take in important vital substances and nutrients quickly and easily. You can simply take a dose of vitamins with a glass of water. This is useful for nutrient deficiencies after illness, for chronic diseases and also for the prevention of the same.

Barley grass is a purely herbal food supplement and can therefore also be implemented in a vegetarian and vegan diet. Caution is only advised if you suffer from a grass allergy or gluten intolerance. If you notice a burning or itching sensation, we recommend discontinuing the application.

Barley grass is also suitable as a food supplement for cats, dogs and horses.

What are the possible side effects of barley grass?

Allergic reaction

Since barley grass belongs to the genus of sweet grasses, allergic reactions may occur in the case of gluten intolerance or grass allergy. Signs of this are, for example, a burning or itching sensation in the mouth and throat. When harvested, barley grass is still 100% gluten-free, but traces can get into the powder during processing. (9)

Intolerance in case of overdose

People who eat mainly industrially processed foods may initially have problems with the wealth of dietary fibre contained in barley grass. This can manifest itself, for example, in diarrhoea, nausea and headaches. For this reason, it is recommended to start with a small amount of barley grass and slowly increase the dosage.

What are the alternatives to barley grass?

Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is made from the young leaves of the common wheat plant. Like barley grass, the superfood is mostly available as powder and capsules. It provides the body with valuable antioxidants and binds free radicals. This promotes cell formation and supports the reduction of oxidative stress. (10)

When taken regularly, the supplement contributes to a significant improvement in inflammatory bowel diseases. No serious side effects have been recorded. (11)

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Wheatgrass has many similarities to barley grass.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Alice Pasqual)

How often and for how long should barley grass be taken?

In order for barley grass to show its effect, it should be taken at least once a day for at least a few weeks. There is no upper limit, you can use the superfood for as long as you like.

How often you should take the grass per day depends primarily on the dosage. In powder form it makes sense to take the barley grass up to 3 times a day, but only one teaspoon at a time. Barley grass capsules often have different dosages, usually a recommended intake is noted on the package.

We recommend increasing the dosage slowly to make it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients. For example, only 1 teaspoon per day should be taken for about 5 days.

Did you know that barley grass..

...contains 11 times more calcium than milk?

...contains 5 times more iron than spinach?

...contains 7 times more vitamin C than oranges?

What is the shelf life of barley grass?

Fresh barley grass only lasts a few days after harvesting. The processed product in powder form, on the other hand, can be kept for up to 8 weeks if stored correctly. Ideally, the powder should be stored in a dry and dark place, but never in the refrigerator.

Decision: What types of barley grass are there and which one is right for you?

What distinguishes barley grass powder and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Barley grass powder has a high nutrient concentration and is very easy to integrate into your diet at home. It is especially suitable for you if you don't like to take tablets.

Advantages
  • High nutrient concentration
  • Easy to take with food
Disadvantages
  • Impractical when travelling
  • Slight taste

You can dissolve the powder in 200 ml of liquid (water, juice,...) and drink it directly. After the barley grass has dissolved, you should drink it within 15 minutes. Otherwise it will lose its nutrients. The best way to absorb the active ingredients is to drink the mixture about 20 minutes before eating.

You can also mix barley grass into muesli, smoothies, salads and other cold dishes. The latter has the advantage that you can take the powder without tasting it.

Barley grass has almost no taste of its own, the taste is often compared to hay or spinach.

What distinguishes barley grass tablets and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Barley grass tablets are particularly practical because they are already dosed and can be taken quickly and easily.

They can be either capsules or pellets. Barley grass is basically vegan, but with capsules you should make sure that the shell is not made of animal gelatine.

Advantages
  • Ready-to-use dosage
  • Easy to take
Disadvantages
  • Problematic when taking tablets
  • Higher price

Taking the tablets is very easy and requires less effort than preparing the powder. Depending on the dosage, you swallow one tablet once or several times a day with plenty of water. The exact recommended intake is noted on the packaging. This makes this form of administration particularly suitable for when you are on the go.

However, a higher price is often charged for barley grass tablets.

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The barley grass tablet is quickly taken with a sip of water
(Image source: unsplash,com / Manu Schwendener)

Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate barley grass based on these factors

Cultivation quality

The quality of barley grass is directly related to the quality of the soil in which it grows. Optimal conditions are created by soil that is rich in nutrients and is not treated with pesticides or other additives.

The quality of the water and the agricultural conditions also have an influence on the finished product. When buying barley grass, it is best to make sure that it is labelled with an organic seal.

Processing

In order to ensure the maximum nutrient content, the right time of harvest is particularly important. The stalks should be harvested when they are between 8 and 14 days old, as they have the highest nutrient density at this time.

During processing, special care should be taken to ensure that a gentle method has been used. No methods of drying should be carried out in which the barley grass is heated above 40°C. Other harmful processes, such as freeze-drying or pasteurisation, also remove valuable nutrients and enzymes from the grass.

Grind

For the intake of barley grass in powder form via smoothies, etc., the degree of grinding plays a decisive role. A fine powder is the right choice, as it dissolves well in liquids without forming lumps. However, barley grass that has been ground for too long can lose nutrients.

Facts worth knowing on the subject of barley grass

What healthy barley grass recipes are there?

Fruit smoothie

The classic barley grass smoothie contains various types of fruit, which make the taste of the powder unnoticeable.

For this you need:

  • 1 heaped teaspoon barley grass powder
  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 tangerine
  • Water, milk or plant milk

Peel and chop the fruit and puree it together with the powder in a blender. Add about 200 ml of the liquid and blend again in the blender. This breaks down the cell structures so that the nutrients can unfold. After blending, the drink should be consumed within 15 minutes.

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Together with fruit, the nutrients can be absorbed particularly well.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Jas Sedivy)

Barley grass latte

A barley grass latte is a refreshing and healthy alternative to your morning coffee.

  • 1 heaped teaspoon barley grass powder
  • 0.25 l milk

Warm the milk in a saucepan, or the microwave. Mix the barley grass powder with half of the milk until it is completely dissolved. This is best done with a small whisk. Froth the remaining milk with a milk frother and serve in a cup together with the barley grass mixture.

Barley grass spread

You can use barley grass not only in smoothies & co, how about a spread?

  • 1 heaped teaspoon barley grass powder
  • Cottage cheese
  • Spices

Mix the barley grass with the cottage cheese in a bowl. Depending on your taste, you can add spices, especially salt and garlic. Enjoy with a slice of bread.

Can I grow my own barley grass?

You can easily grow barley grass at home. This requires little effort and you can harvest your plants after just one or two weeks.

You need:

  • Organic seeds
  • Substrate
  • Large container (cake tin, baking dish,...)

You can buy the seeds in organic markets, drugstores or online. Pay attention to the quality,

the seeds should not be pre-treated with insecticides or fertilisers
And this is how it works:

  1. First soak the seeds in lukewarm water and let them steep for about 6 to 8 hours. This speeds up the germination process.
  2. Fill the substrate a few cm high into the container and moisten well.
  3. Then scatter the seeds on the substrate next to each other if possible and press down lightly.
  4. Place the seedbed in as bright a place as possible and always keep it moist.
  5. After 8 to 10 days, the barley should have reached a height of about 10 cm and is ready for harvesting. To do this, cut the stalks above the root with scissors.
  6. The barley grass will then grow back and you can harvest it 2 to 3 more times. Harvesting more often is not recommended, as less nutrients are then produced.

If you want to process the barley grass into powder, you should proceed as follows:

  1. The aim is to preserve the barley grass without losing nutrients. To do this, you should dry the stalks either in the air or in the oven. Attention: The temperature must not exceed 40°C.
  2. While the barley grass is drying, it should be protected from light as much as possible.
  3. Process the degree into a fine powder in a mortar or sieve.
  4. The powder should be stored protected from light and dry, for example in dark jars.

Image source: Madeleinesteinbach/ 123rf.com

References (11)

1. Jia J., Li Y. L., Shen Y. H., Du Y. Z. Accumulation of lutonarin and saponarin in barley leaves during growth and differences in their contents among different varieties. Food Science. 2010;31(13):16–18.
Source

2. Park M. J., Seo W. D., Kang Y.-H. The antioxidant properties of four Korean barley cultivars at different harvest times and profiling of major metabolites. Journal of Agricultural Science. 2015;7(10)
Source

3. Kim H., Hong H. D., Shin K. S. Structure elucidation of an immunostimulatory arabinoxylan-type polysaccharide prepared from young barley leaves (Hordeum vulgare L.) Carbohydrate Polymers. 2017;157:282–293.
Source

4. Schwalfenberg Gerry K. The alkaline diet: Is there evodence that an alkaline pH diet benefits health? J Environ Public Health 2012
Source

5. Ikeguchi M., Tsubata M., Takano A., et al. Effects of young barley leaf powder on gastrointestinal functions in rats and its efficacy-related physicochemical properties. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014;2014:7.
Source

6. Iyer U. M., Venugopal S. Management of diabetic dyslipidemia with subatmospheric dehydrated barley grass powder. International Journal of Green Pharmacy. 2010;4(4):p. 251.
Source

7. Ju L. Z., Ke F., Yadav P. K. Herbal medicine in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. Saudi J Gastroenterol 2012
Source

8. Achour L., El-Bok S., Lahouar L. Therapeutic Potential of Young Green Barley Leaves in Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Diseases: An Overview. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine 2015
Source

9. Lexhaller B., Koehler P., Schalk K., Scherf K. A. Isolation and characterization of gluten protein types from wheat, rye, barley and oats for use as reference materials. PLoS One 2017
Source

10. Bar-Sela G., Cohen M, Ben-Arye E. , Epelbaum R. The Medical Use of Wheatgrass: Review of the Gap Between Basic and Clinical Applications. Mini Rev Med Chem 2015
Source

11. Ben-Arye E, Goldin E, Wengrower D, Stamper A, Kohn R, Berry E. Wheat grass juice in the treatment of active distal ulcerative colitis: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2002
Source

Wissenschftlicher Review
Jia J., Li Y. L., Shen Y. H., Du Y. Z. Accumulation of lutonarin and saponarin in barley leaves during growth and differences in their contents among different varieties. Food Science. 2010;31(13):16–18.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Review
Park M. J., Seo W. D., Kang Y.-H. The antioxidant properties of four Korean barley cultivars at different harvest times and profiling of major metabolites. Journal of Agricultural Science. 2015;7(10)
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Kim H., Hong H. D., Shin K. S. Structure elucidation of an immunostimulatory arabinoxylan-type polysaccharide prepared from young barley leaves (Hordeum vulgare L.) Carbohydrate Polymers. 2017;157:282–293.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Review
Schwalfenberg Gerry K. The alkaline diet: Is there evodence that an alkaline pH diet benefits health? J Environ Public Health 2012
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Ikeguchi M., Tsubata M., Takano A., et al. Effects of young barley leaf powder on gastrointestinal functions in rats and its efficacy-related physicochemical properties. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014;2014:7.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Iyer U. M., Venugopal S. Management of diabetic dyslipidemia with subatmospheric dehydrated barley grass powder. International Journal of Green Pharmacy. 2010;4(4):p. 251.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Review
Ju L. Z., Ke F., Yadav P. K. Herbal medicine in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. Saudi J Gastroenterol 2012
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Review
Achour L., El-Bok S., Lahouar L. Therapeutic Potential of Young Green Barley Leaves in Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Diseases: An Overview. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine 2015
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Review
Lexhaller B., Koehler P., Schalk K., Scherf K. A. Isolation and characterization of gluten protein types from wheat, rye, barley and oats for use as reference materials. PLoS One 2017
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Review
Bar-Sela G., Cohen M, Ben-Arye E. , Epelbaum R. The Medical Use of Wheatgrass: Review of the Gap Between Basic and Clinical Applications. Mini Rev Med Chem 2015
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Ben-Arye E, Goldin E, Wengrower D, Stamper A, Kohn R, Berry E. Wheat grass juice in the treatment of active distal ulcerative colitis: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2002
Go to source
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