Barley grass is known as a green superfood. The young shoots of the barley plant, harvested before the grain grows, are extraordinarily rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients.
Barley as a grain has a history dating back thousands of years, and was cultivated as far back as 7000BC. Although our ancestors doubtless used most parts of the plant, barley grass in modern times started to be used for health reasons in the 1940s and 50s.
Most of the health-giving properties of barley grass come from its rich supply of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the substance plants use to convert sunlight to sugars; in the human body, it is known to promote healthy blood production and facilitates the efficient transportation of oxygen. Chlorophyll also has a detoxifying and liver-protective effect.
Shoots of barley grass also contain beta-glucans, which have been shown to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol, plus a wide variety of antioxidants and amino acids.
Barley grass is rich in calcium, iron, vitamin C and vitamin B12, and a good source of copper, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and zinc.
You can use barley grass as a juicing ingredient, or it can be taken as a supplement in capsule, tablet or powder form.