Four Out of Five Vikings Prefer Barley Grass – KOS.com

Four Out of Five Vikings Prefer Barley Grass

Barley Grass. Just saying it summons a calming, pastoral image—a peaceable sunlit meadow, a sea of luxuriant grain rippling in a summer breeze, Vikings in horned hats leaping out of longboats with swords raised….what’s this? Vikings? In a word, yes. Barley grass seems very calm and breakfast cereal-like until you learn it’s been in constant use by the grasping and ever-industrious human race for about 8,500 years. The Egyptians venerated it, the Romans fortified their armored, club-wielding gladiators with it, and the Vikings made both porridge and beer out of it. Yes, as the lowly blade of grass goes, Barley has definitely seen some action. And as modern science peels back the outer hull for a look inside, barley’s ancient secrets and mechanisms are revealing themselves in way that even the smock-and-beaker club is growing to appreciate.

Hordeum Vulgare, if You Dare 

Barley Grass—known to grain cognoscenti as Hordeum vulgare L.—may be the fourth most consumed cereal crop in the world— but it is the #1 cereal crop in terms of fiber content. This is really good news, and not just for the way Barley Grass’ roughage soothingly hustles the laundry along your laundry chute, so to speak. That in itself is a marvelous thing, and who can complain about regular laundry service? But fiber also works magic in the stomach to confer a feeling of fullness when the tummy is actually less than full, meaning hunger pangs can be controlled in scenarios where weight loss is the goal, and eating a bit less the modus operandi (if I may briefly lapse into Latin). In this sense we see that fiber is a many-splendored thing—to paraphrase the old Sinatra hit. Oh, but there’s more to this uninteresting looking grass.

In the grass family, only wheat packs more nutritional punch than barley. Barley grass is a calcium power plant, competes with spinach for iron content, boasts more vitamin C than an orange, and sports 80mg of vitamin B12 per every hundred grams. Okay? And we’re talking about GRASS here. Does nature provide, or what? As we’ve noted in these pages before, it’s a little weird how fantastically the plant kingdom augments the animal kingdom, and vice versa.


Se Habla GABA

Barley grass is a good source of chlorophyll, the crazy stuff in plants that turns raw sunlight into stuff we can all chew. Chlorophyll increases the oxygen-hauling capacity of the blood, and since blood only exists to move oxygen and nutrition around the body, this is an A-list chlorophylic feature of barley grass. But check this out—barley grass is known to contain a lil' something called GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid..whew!), a neurotransmitter associated with brain function and a sense of well-being. This likely explains the somewhat disturbing grins the Vikings wore as they came ashore by moonlight.

Barley grass is jammed with the flavon called saponarin. This powerful plant metabolite has been shown in controlled studies to have a healing effect on liver cells that have been damaged by alcohol. Barley grass’ robust anti-inflammatory superoxide dismutase content is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, as well as in urinary tract problems cause by inflammation. And should we be surprised that extracts of this homely stuff have been shown to affect lipid metabolism AND blood flow. Meaning the vascular system's tubular wallpaper—the endothelium—widens the blood passages through dilation while simultaneously lowering the bad LDL cholesterol that wants to clog your plumbing. On a billboard this might read as “Your Capillaries Will be Wider and Less Fouled with Goop!” But who would put something like that on a billboard?


Barley Grass may not have the “first breather” glamour of Spirulina, nor the bracing horror movie panache of Cordyceps, but this grain is one for the ages. So next time you are enjoying a warm bowl of breakfast barley while doing a crossword puzzle, remember that you are eating the pre-duel fuel of a Roman gladiator. And don’t spill on your new necktie.

For more information or to shop for KOS products, click here.

Related Posts

Psyllium Husk Keeps the Trains Running
Psyllium Husk Keeps the Trains Running
Shakespeare may have been right when he described humans as the “paragon of animals”. Nevertheless, even a ...
Read More
Inulin Through the Out Door
Inulin Through the Out Door
Inulin is, as you know, a flexible oligosaccharide. But there’s more going on than just oligosac… oligosacc...
Read More
Fo-ti, He Shou Wu, and a certain Mr. He
Fo-ti, He Shou Wu, and a certain Mr. He
Fo-Ti is a plant whose unfortunate traditional Chinese nickname is “The Black-Haired Mr. He". The scientifi...
Read More