Health Benefits of Barley Tea

by rfcamat on July 4, 2011

Mugicha

Mugicha (Barley seed tea)

Barley tea, also called mugacho in Japan and boricha in Korea has a variety of health benefits. The health benefits of barley tea may be surprising to some who are familiar with barley only as an ingredient for beer. Nevertheless, the people of Japan, Korea and some parts of China have been enjoying these benefits of barley tea for centuries.

The benefits of barley tea may seem only secondary to the refreshing cool flavor it imparts to those who drink it. This enjoyable drink is used by many during warm dry months to cool them and to avoid dehydration. It can be drank as a cup of hot tea or iced in a glass. This tea is made from barley seeds. The seeds are first roasted, imparting a smoky flavor and then simmered in water. It can also be available commercially in powdered and bag forms.

Drinking barley tea is a great addition to a diet regime. It contains a variety of minerals and nutrients that can help fulfill recommended daily requirements while introducing a huge amount of fiber into the diet.

Barley tea is a marvelous source of fiber which is essential for bowel movement, acting as brooms that sweep the digestive tract, facilitating easy and regular bowel movement. Regular bowel movement reduces the chance of compaction and constipation that induces a feeling of being bloated. Constipation and compaction can also lead to serious digestive disorders, such as accumulation of waste material leading to infections, rupturing of the lining in several parts of the digestive tract. Fiber content can also help reduce weight, reducing appetite and avoiding the ingestion of surplus calories.

The effects of barley tea on digestion are not limited to cleansing. Barley tea has a relatively high pH. Foods with high pH (alkaline) counteract the effect of too much stomach acid (hyperacidity). Hyperacidity is usually experienced after ingesting food with high pH or irregular eating.

Barley contains selenium, an element that has very essential roles in human processes. One of the important roles selenium play is in sheathing the sperm within the male reproductive system. This protects the sperm and increases the chance of conception. Selenium is a mineral needed in small amounts in the body and drinking barley tea can well complete the body’s daily need for selenium. Selenium can also be utilized by the body to prevent prostate cancer.

Barley tea’s cancer fighting prowess is not limited to the prostate. Barley tea contains lignans, a substance found in plants that have excellent anti-oxidative properties. It is an estrogen like substance, which helps fight breast cancer. Its power as an antioxidant makes it capable of fighting free radicals and preventing numerous disorders.

Drinking barley tea an hour or so before bedtime can facilitate a healthful, relaxing and uninterrupted sleep. Barley tea contains numerous hormones, specifically melatonin and tryptophan that enhance a person’s ability to make serotonin and contributes greatly to regulate sleep.

Drinking barley tea has long been thought to protect against colds, allergies and sore throat. Hot barley tea is taken for instances of sore throat to relieve discomfort and to shorten recovery time. It helps clear the sinuses and is a good substitute for those unable to ingest solid food.

Barley tea has numerous relevant health benefits. However, care should always be taken when trying herbal teas. Do consult with a professional, or sample it in minute amounts to test for any ill effect. It is generally not recommended for pregnant women and young children, though some cultures include it as a staple food for the young. Drinking barley tea may not appeal to everyone’s palate but if you do like it, you will be one of those lucky enough to enjoy its health benefits.

References:

  • Oregon State University. Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient information Center: Selenium retrieved June 23, 2011 from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/selenium/
  • J. Dobraszczyk, Bogdan (2001). Cereals and cereal products: chemistry and technology. Gaithersburg, Md.: Aspen Publishers.
  • Smeds AI, et al. (2007). Quantification of a Broad Spectrum of Lignans in Cereals, Oilseeds, and Nuts J.Agric. Food. Chem. 55 (4): 1337–1346.
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