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.

Bar"ley (?), n. [OE. barli, barlich, AS. baerlic; bere barley + lic (which is prob. the same as E. like, adj., or perh. a form of AS. leac leek). AS. bere is akin to Icel, barr barley, Goth. barizeins made of barley, L. far spelt; cf. W. barlys barley, bara bread. 92. Cf. Farina, 6th Bear.] Bot.

A valuable grain, of the family of grasses, genus Hordeum, used for food, and for making malt, from which are prepared beer, ale, and whisky.

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Barley bird Zool., the siskin. -- Barley sugar, sugar boiled till it is brittle (formerly with a decoction of barley) and candied. -- Barley water, a decoction of barley, used in medicine, as a nutritive and demulcent.

 

© Webster 1913.

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