Barley: The Ultimate Kapha-Reducing Grain


Barley is an ancient grain first cultivated in the Fertile Crescant area of West Asia and in Tibet. Not only is barley the best grain for balancing Kapha dosha, it is also beneficial for Pitta-types as well.

Mildly astringent, barley has a slightly drying effect, is diuretic in nature (helping to clear fluids from the body) and can help improve sluggish digestion. Ayurveda recommends organic, raw barley as opposed to pearl barley. Barley is considered one of the “good” carbohydrates because it is high in soluble fiber content and is slow to digest, thus reducing spikes in blood sugar levels after a meal.

As with many high fiber foods, barley helps to increase the release of bile from the liver and gall bladder, aiding fat metabolism. High fiber foods also tend to appease the appetite longer, eliminating the urge to snack after a meal.

Barley helps soothes irritated, inflamed bowels and its fiber has been shown to repair the intestinal lining. Barley (along with whole-grain wheat, and rye) contains alkylresorcinols, a phytochemical that is an active antioxidant. Research suggests these grains have a protective effect against diabetes and ischeaemic stroke, as well as having anti-carcinogenic effects. There are also indicators that these grains work as natural regulators of excessive fat accumulation.

Barley water is effective in balancing weight and supporting healthy kidney functioning. Below the barley soup recipe you’ll find a recipe for barley water. With the advent of spring, those with Kapha imbalances and those who have gained weight over the winter may want to reduce their intake of rice and wheat and start including more barley in their diet.

Hearty Barely Soup

1/4 cup each minded fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon rosemary

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 celery stalk, diced

1 carrot, diced or grated

1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)

5 cups vegetable stock or water

1/4 cup barley

1 turnip, cut into small pieces

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

Saute the parsley, rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, celery and carrot in the ghee slowly for 10 minutes. Add the vegetables to the stock. Add the barley, turnip and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This recipe makes about 6 cups of soup.

Barley Water Take 14 parts water and 1 part barley. Boil for 1 and 1/2 hours. Strain out the barley and pour the liquid into a thermos. Sip throughout the day. You’ll want to make this fresh daily

Spring is a good time to schedule a consultation with an Ayurvedic expert to help determine your state of balance and imbalance, and to see if ama has accumulated in your physiology over the winter months. For more information on Ayurvedic consultations, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa:

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