Hordeum vulgare
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Habitat: Its origins are in Asia. It was cultivated since the beginnings of human history, possibly before wheat, and still remains a fundamental food in human nutrition. It is widely cultivated in Italy.

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It was chosen as an ingredient of Wonderup because:
It is also known traditionally for its galactogogue property, ie. for stimulating the production of mother's milk in nursing women. In all other women this hormonal action simply affects the body's natural hormonal balance and production of estrogens, which feed the healthy development of the breast, the main receptor for estrogens in women.

Other characteristics and properties:
A fundamental plant in human nutrition, barley associates its nutrititional function with health and medicinal properties of great value. It is indeed:

* nutritive and tonic - affects digestive system and nutrition due to its ability to provide nutrients and promote nourishing. The decoction and barley malt used in soups have refreshing and highly nutritive properties which render them precious in the nutrition of weak, convalescent people, elderly people and children. It also promotes the absorption of starch by the organism.

Barley contains good quantities of phosphorus, and is therefore useful for coping with intellecual efforts and for nervous conditions.

The active components are: ordein (an alkaloid), maltine, starch, phosphorus, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium.

* anti-inflammatory - affects immune system and reactivity due to its ability to counteract inflammation. The decoction used as mouthwash helps in cases of angina and inflammations of the oral cavity.

* emollient - in cases of inflammations of the digestive organs (pancreas and biliar ailments) and urinary and in infective processes of the intestinal mucous membrane.

* regulates intestinal function

History and curiosities:
The history of barley has its roots in the origins of man. In cooking barley is a very used food. In the cosmetic field the decoction is used on reddened skin as a decongestant. From the seeds, bran and flakes are obtained, while from the toasted and ground caryopses (a caryopse is a small one-seeded dry indehiscent fruit - as of Indian corn or wheat - in which the fruit and seed fuse in a single grain, er dictionary) a coffee with nutritive properties and with no exciting qualities is obtained.

Barley, known for more than twelve millennia, is native to Western Asia and Western Africa, and spread rapidly in the Mediterranean area, as Plinius narrates, as a special food for gladiators, who were, indeed, called "hordearii", ie. barley-eaters.

It was one of the remedies most used by Hyppocrate, the father of Western medicine, who praised it in the treatment for acute illnesses: "It seems therefore that the barley decoction has been correctly chosen among cereal foods for these diseases and I praise those who chose it. Its gluten is indeed smooth, consistent and comforting, fluid and measuredly humid, thirst-quenching and easily excretable, if needed; it doesn't entail astringence or bad agitation, nor does it bloat the abdomen."

French pharmacopoeia quotes barley as a component of the Tisane des Hopitaux "Bonne tout". The decoction of barley is still today known as "Hyppocrate's tea". Recent clinical experiences confirm that the mucilage fraction of barley concentrates and amplifies the therapeutic properties of the decoction. When taking natural remedies, the barley mucilage facilitates and improves their action.

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