Barley (Hordeum vulgare L)

Botanical Name : Hordeum vulgare L
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Pooideae
Tribe: Triticeae
Genus: Hordeum

German botanical illustration of barley

German botanical illustration of barley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Species: H. vulgare
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales

Synonyms:
Hordeum vulgare L.

HOAE Hordeum aegiceras Nees ex Royle
HODI2 Hordeum distichon L.
HOHE6 Hordeum hexastichon L.
HOHE3 Hordeum hexastichum L., orth. var.
HOIR Hordeum irregulare Aberg & Wiebe
HOSA4 Hordeum sativum Pers.
HOVUH Hordeum vulgare L. ssp. hexastichon (L.) Bonnier & Layens
HOVUT Hordeum vulgare L. var. trifurcatum (Schltdl.) Alef.

Common Name:Barley  (The Old English word for ‘barley’ was bære, which traces back to Proto-Indo-European and is cognate to the Latin word farina “flour”. The direct ancestor of modern English “barley” in Old English was the derived adjective bærlic, meaning “of barley”. The first citation of the form bærlic in the Oxford English Dictionary dates to around 966 AD, in the compound word bærlic-croft.[4] The underived word bære survives in the north of Scotland as bere, and refers to a specific strain of six-row barley grown there. The word barn, which originally meant “barley-house”, is also rooted in these words)

Habitat : Probably barley is native to Middle East, from Afghanistan to northern India; now widely cultivated in all temperate regions from Arctic Circle to high mountains in the tropics. The earliest remains so far discovered are from Iran (ca 7900 BC), but we still do not know that it originated there or in Egypt, Etiopia, the Near East or Tibet (Foster, 1981).

Description:
Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), a member of the grass family.It is an annual herb with stems erect, stout, tufted, 60–120 cm tall; leaves few, alternate, linear-lanceolate, the upper one close to the spike, blades up to 25 cm long, about 1.5 cm broad; sheath smooth, striate; ligules short, membranous; spikes terminal, linear-oblong, compressed, up to 20 cm long, densely flowered; spikelets sessile, arranged in threes on two sides of a flattened rachis, all fertile (6-rowed types), or lateral ones barren and occasionally rudimentary (2-rowed types); glumes 2, narrow, small, short-awned, enclosing 3 spikelets; lemma lanceolate, 5-ribbed, tapering into a long straight or recurved awn; palea slightly smaller than the lemma with margins inflexed; stamens 3; caryopsis ellipsoid, about 0.9 cm long, short-pointed, grooved on inner face, smooth, free or adherent to palea, or both lemma and palea. Seeds 30,870/kg (Reed, 1976).

You may click to see the picture  :—->(1)—->(2)—->(3)

Cultivation:
Seed sown broadcast or in shallow furrows about 22 cm apart, dropped through a drill. Depth of sowing 1.3–4.5 cm. Seeding rates vary from 67 to 101 kg/ha. Crop requires very little interculture or weeding. In dry areas 2–3 waterings are required after sowing. In India, seed sown in Oct.–Nov., and harvested by late March or early April. In Punjab, sowing as late as early Jan. Crop may be raised under both rainfall and irrigated conditions. Crop grown pure, or in mixtures with gram, pea, lentil, berseem, rape, mustard, or linseed. Sometimes grown with wheat. Irrigation increases yields, irrigated crops containing less nitrogen. A light harrowing after first irrigation when crop is about 20 cm tall, gives up to 10% higher yields. Barley is usually grown without any Special manuring. However, an application of fertilizers containing nitrogen, phosphorus, or potash, in various combinations, influence yield and quality of grain. Additional nitrogen increases yield of straw and grain, but in larger doses, nitrogen increases the protein content and affects its brewing quality. Phosphate fertilizers lower the protein content considerably and influence formation and ripening of grain. Lodging, when it occurs, causes loss in quality and yield of crop, and may be due to poor root system, disease infection, weak straw, or storm damage.

Harvesting:
Dry warm weather is favorable for grain ripening. Barley is ready for harvest in about 4 months after sowing; some varieties in 60 days. Plants are either pulled out or cut with sickles and sheaves stacked for about a week or more. Grain is threshed out by beating with sticks or trampled by oxen (India). Barley plants are fed green or as hay to livestock. In some areas, stalks are cut 2 or 3 times without marked injury to grain yield. For hay, plants are cut while still green after heads are well formed. Dry stalks and leaves obtained during threshing are also useful as cattle feed. Barley, like wheat, is stored in bulk or in bags or in underground pits in bulk. Straw is used as roughage for livestock and bedding, for making hats and packing and for manufacture of cellulose pulp. Barley fed to stock alone or mixed with other grains, usually crushed or ground to meal and mixed with other foodstuffs, particularly useful for pigs and horses, less so for cattle.

Uses:
Barley is the fourth most important cereal in the United States, but ca 50% is used for livestock fodder, 37% for the brewing industry (80% for beer, 14% distilled alcohol, 6% malt syrup). Beer is no johnny-come-lately; Clay documents at least 8000 years old have depicted barley beer making. Until the sixteenth century, barley flour was used instead of wheat to make bread (Bukantis and Goodman, 1980). Winter barley furnishes nutritive pasturage without seriously reducing yields.It is used as a component of various health foods. It is used in soups and stews, and in barley bread of various cultures. Barley grains are commonly made into malt in a traditional and ancient method of preparation. In India, a cooling drink called sattu is made from barley. Barley flour is produced by milling the grains or as a by-product in pearl barley manufacturing. Flour of good quality obtained by milling pearl barley. Barley flour unsuitable for use alone in bread-making; used with 10–25% wheat flour for various purposes. Ashes of leaves used in Patna (India) in preparation of cooling sherbets. High protein barleys are generally valued for food and feeding, and starchy barley for malting. Two-rowed barley contains more starch than six-rowed types (Reed, 1976).

You may click to see Purity Indian Barley

 

Barley was one of the first domesticated grains in the Fertile Crescent, an area of relatively abundant water in Western Asia and near the Nile river of northeast Africa. The grain appeared in the same time as einkorn and emmer wheat. Wild barley (H. vulgare ssp. spontaneum) ranges from North Africa and Crete in the west, to Tibet in the east. The earliest evidence of wild barley in an archaeological context comes from the Epipaleolithic at Ohalo II at the southern end of the Sea of Galilee. The remains were dated to about 8500 BC. The earliest domesticated barley occurs at Aceramic Neolithic sites, in the Near East such as the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B layers of Tell Abu Hureyra, in Syria. Barley has been grown in the Korean Peninsula since the Early Mumun Pottery Period (circa 1500–850 BC) along with other crops such as millet, wheat, and legumes.

In the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond argues that the availability of barley, along with other domesticable crops and animals, in southwestern Eurasia significantly contributed to the broad historical patterns that human history has followed over approximately the last 13,000 years; i.e., why Eurasian civilizations, as a whole, have survived and conquered others.

Barley beer was probably the first drink developed by Neolithic humans.Barley later on was used as currency. Alongside emmer wheat, barley was a staple cereal of ancient Egypt, where it was used to make bread and beer. The general name for barley is jt (hypothetically pronounced “eat”); šma (hypothetically pronounced “SHE-ma”) refers to Upper Egyptian barley and is a symbol of Upper Egypt. The Sumerian term is akiti. According to Deuteronomy 8:8, barley is one of the “Seven Species” of crops that characterize the fertility of the Promised Land of Canaan, and it has a prominent role in the Israelite sacrifices described in the Pentateuch (see e.g. Numbers 5:15). A religious importance extended into the Middle Ages in Europe, and saw barley’s use in justice, via alphitomancy and the corsned.

In ancient Greece, the ritual significance of barley possibly dates back to the earliest stages of the Eleusinian Mysteries. The preparatory kykeon or mixed drink of the initiates, prepared from barley and herbs, referred in the Homeric hymn to Demeter, whose name some scholars believe meant “Barley-mother”. The practice was to dry the barley groats and roast them before preparing the porridge, according to Pliny the Elder’s Natural History (xviii.72). This produces malt that soon ferments and becomes slightly alcoholic.

Pliny also noted barley was a special food of gladiators known as hordearii, “barley-eaters”. However, by Roman times, he added that wheat had replaced barley as a staple.

Tibetan barley has been a staple food in Tibet since the fifth century AD. This grain, along with a cool climate that permitted storage, produced a civilization that was able to raise great armies. It is made into a flour product called tsampa that is still a staple in Tibet.  The flour is roasted and mixed with butter and butter tea to form a stiff dough that is eaten in small balls.

In medieval Europe, bread made from barley and rye was peasant food, while wheat products were consumed by the upper classes.  Potatoes largely replaced barley in Eastern Europe in the 19th century

Medicinal Uses:
Folk Medicine :
According to Hartwell (1967–1971), barley is used in folk remedies for cancer (esp. of stomach and uterus), and tumors (of the abdomen). The seed meal is a folk remedy for cancer of the uterus, inflammatory and sclerotic tumors and gatherings, and parotid gland tumors. The seed flour is used for condylomata of the anus, tumors behind the ears, scirrhus of the testicles and spleen, and whitlows. Cataplasms derived from the seed are also believed to help breast cancers (Hartwell, 1967–1971). Reported to be antilactagogue, demulcent, digestive, diuretic, ecbolic, emollient, expectorant, febrifuge, and stomachic, barley is a folk remedy for bronchitis, burns, cancer, catarrh, chest, chilblains, cholecystosis, cholera, cough, debility, diarrhea, dyspepsia, fever, inflammation, measles, phthisis, puerperium, sores, and urogenital ailments (Duke and Wain, 1981). Other folk medicinal details are presented in Medicinal Plants of the Bible (Duke, 1983a). Barley grain is demulcent and easily assimilable, and used in dietary of invalids and convalescents. Pearl barley is form commonly used. Powdered parched grains used in form of a gruel for painful and atonic dyspepsia. Barley water with honey prescribed for bronchial coughs, and with gum arabic used for soothing irritations of the bladder and urinary passage. Iranians have a saying, “What has disease to do with men who live upon barley-bread and buttermilk?”

 

Known Hazards:
Science 205 (Aug. 24, 1979, p. 768) reported that 70% of 158 European beers analyzed contain 1–68 ppb NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine), dark beer containing more than light beer. American beer testing (some foreign, some domestic) showed only 0.7–7 ppb. Both concluded that the NDMA may be an artifact produced in drying or kilning the barley malt. Other chemical details can be found in two fine source books, the Wealth of India (C.S.I.R., 1948–1976) and Hager’s Handbook (List and Horhammer, 1969–1979).

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barley

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=HOVU

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Hordeum_vulgare.html

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