Can Barley Grass Juice Up Your Health?

Barley grass
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Barley grass is the young leaf of the barley plant (Hordeum vulgare). Sometimes referred to as "barley leaf" or "barley green," barley grass contains chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (such as lutonarin and saponarin).

What Is Barley Grass Juice?

Barley grass is used as an ingredient at many juice bars. In addition, natural-food stores often sell bottled juice drinks that contain barley grass juice.

Some stores also sell kits that allow you to grow your own barley grass for juicing purposes. In Japan, green juices made with ingredients like young barley grass juice are known as "aojiru".

Available for purchase online, barley grass powder (a dehydrated form of barley grass extract), barley grass capsules, and barley grass tablets are sold in many natural-food stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements. 

Why Do People Use Barley Grass?

Proponents claim that barley grass can help treat or prevent many health problems, including:

Additionally, barley grass is said to promote weight loss, enhance energy, slow the aging process, stimulate the digestive system, boost immunity, and even protect against cancer.

The Benefits of Barley Grass: Does It Really Help?

So far, there is very little scientific support for any claims about the health effects of barley grass.

Still, some research suggests that following a specialized diet that includes barley grass may offer certain benefits.

1) Fibromyalgia

A 2001 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, for instance, indicates that a vegetarian diet consisting of fruit, salads, carrot juice, tubers, grain products, nuts, seeds, and a dehydrated barley grass juice product may benefit people with fibromyalgia.

Analyzing data on the 26 participants who followed the diet for two months, scientists found that the diet helped relieve fibromyalgia symptoms, reduce pain, and improve flexibility. It's important to note that the degree to which barley grass may have contributed to any positive outcomes is unknown.

Related: Natural Remedies For Fibromyalgia 

2) High Cholesterol

Barley grass contains hexacosanol, a compound that may improve cholesterol metabolism by decreasing cholesterol synthesis. A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2015 investigated the effects of a barley sprout extract on lipid metabolism in healthy people.

Participants received either a barley leaf extract supplement or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. At the study's conclusion, there was no difference in clinical or laboratory findings (including total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol) in the barley grass group compared to the placebo group.

Related: Lowering Cholesterol With Herbs and Supplements

Possible Side Effects

If you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, it is a good idea to avoid any barley grass product that isn't labeled gluten-free

Like other plants, the concentrations of metals such as mercury can vary depending on the soil in which it was grown. Keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and are largely unregulated. You can get tips on using supplements here.

The high levels of certain vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin K, and phosphorus may not be appropriate for people with certain conditions (such as those on dialysis) or those taking medication (such as warfarin). 

Barley grass may lower blood glucose levels. 

Pregnant and breastfeeding women may need to avoid barley grass.

Due to a lack of scientific research on the health effects of barley grass, little is known about the safety of consuming barley grass in the long term or in concentrated doses. If you're considering trying it, talk with your healthcare provider to weigh the pros and cons and discuss whether it's right for you.

Using Barley Grass

While drinking juices or smoothies containing barley grass may offer some nutritional benefits, barley grass should not be used as a substitute for standard treatment of any chronic condition.

If you're looking to increase your antioxidant intake, try follow a diet rich in vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables. Certain healthy beverages, such as green tea, are also antioxidant-rich. 


Byun AR, Chun H, Lee J, Lee SW, Lee HS, Shim KW. Effects of a Dietary Supplement with Barley Sprout Extract on Blood Cholesterol Metabolism. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:473056. 

Donaldson MS, Speight N, Loomis S. Fibromyalgia syndrome improved using a mostly raw vegetarian diet: an observational study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2001;1:7.

Powell JP, Leonard JS. A nutritional program improved lipid profiles and weight in 28 chiropractic patients: a retrospective case series. J Chiropr Med. 2008 Sep;7(3):94-100.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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