Health Guide


What is it?

Barley is an herbal medicine used to treat high cholesterol, to help control blood sugar, diarrhea, and constipation.

Other names for Barley include: Mai ya, Pearl barley, Pot barley, Scotch barley, Hordeum vulgare.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much Barley you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Barley. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.


  • Certain forms of Barley should not be taken while pregnant or breastfeeding (12)
  • Barley contains gluten and should not be taken by persons with celiac disease (13)

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • A feeling of having a full stomach (1)


1. Kanauchi O, Mitsuyama K, Saiki T et al: Germinated barley foodstuff increases fecal volume and butyrate production in humans. Int J Mol Med 1998; 1(6):937-941.

2. Lupton JR, Morin JL & Robinson MC: Barley bran flour accelerates gastrointestinal transit time. J Amer Diet Assoc 1993; 93(8):881-885.

3. Wisker E, Nagel R, Tanudjaja TK et al: Calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron balances in young women: effects of a low-phytate barley-fiber concentrate. Am J Clin Nutr 1991; 54(3):553-559.

4. Urooj A, Vinutha S, Shashikala P et al: Effect of barley incorporation in bread on its quality and glycemic responses in diabetics. Int J Food Sci Nutr 1998; 49(4):265-270.

5. Yokoyama WH, Hudson CA, Knuckles BE et al: Effect of barley beta-glucan in durum wheat pasta on human glycemic response. Nutrition 1997; 74(3):293-296.

6. Thorburn A, Nuir J & Proietto J: Carbohydrate fermentation decreases hepatic glucose output in healthy subjects. Metabolism 1993; 42(6):780-785.

7. Shukla K, Narain JP, Puri P et al: Glycaemic response to maize, bajra and barley. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1991; 35(4):249-254.

8. Bourdon W, Yokoyama W, Davis P et al: Postprandial lipid, glucose, insulin, and cholecystokinin responses in men fed barley pasta enriched with beta-glucan. Am J Clin Nutr 1999; 69(1):55-63.

9. McIntosh G, Whyte J, McArthur R & Nestel P: Barley and wheat foods: influence on plasma cholesterol concentrations in hypercholesterolemic men. Am J Clin Nutr 1991; 53(5):1205-1209.

10. Newman RK, Lesis S, Newman CW et al: Hypocholesterolemic effect of barley foods on healthy men. Nutr Rep Int 1989a; 39(4):749-760.

11. Mitsuyama K, Saiki T, Kanauchi O et al: Treatment of ulcerative colitis with germinated barley foodstuff feeding: a pilot study. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 1998; 12(12):1225-1230.

12. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R et al (eds): American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL; 1997.

13. Robanna-Barnat S & Fradin J: Cereal grains: IgE- and non-IgE mediated reactions. J Nutr Env Med 1997; 7(1):35-46.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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