Health Benefits of Barley Grass

By Irina Bright.

This article is part of our Health & Foods section

barley grass powder Barley Grass Powder.

Barley grass is an exceptional food that contains more than 100 essential nutrients including vitamins, minerals and trace elements, amino acids, enzymes, saccharides, polyphenols and other antioxidants - all delivered to our bodies in their natural state. (Ref. 1 & 2)

So what exactly is inside barley grass? And what are its health benefits?

Barley Grass Nutrition: Vitamins, Minerals and Trace Elements

Barley grass offers a complete range of vitamins, minerals and trace elements required for the body's healthy functioning.

Vitamins are organic substances which are essential for health even though just in small quantities. They, like other essential nutrients, cannot be produced by the body and have to come from the diet. While barley grass contains an endless number of valuable nutrients, it doesn't contain vitamin D (Ref. 1), most of which is synthesized by the human body following exposure of skin to sunlight.

Minerals and trace elements are chemically inorganic substances required in even tinier amounts than vitamins.

Table of Nutrients

Vitamin A (Beta Carotene)
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Vitamin K


Trace Elements

Aspartate Aminotransferase
Cytochrome Oxidase
DNase Cystine
Fatty Acid Oxidase
Malic Dehydrogenase
Nitrate Reductase
Peroxidase Catalase
Polyphenol Oxidase
Superoxide Dismutase

Amino Acids
Aspartic Acid
Glutamic Acid

Plant Compounds
Flavonoids (or Bioflavonoids)

References for this table

While dietary minerals have been traditionally accepted as essential nutrients, trace elements have been often overlooked and only recently came to light as valuable building blocks of human health.

Barley grass delivers minerals and trace elements in their naturally occurring state as well.

Barley Grass Nutrition: Enzymes

Enzymes are those little "live" nutrients without which our bodies simply cannot function. They are involved in all the crucial functions of the body including the activation of metabolic processes, support of the immune system, proper absorption of food in the digestive tract, delivery of oxygen to cells, detoxification etc. (Ref. 3, 4, 5 and 6)

We believe enzymes are the nutrients which most shockingly miss from modern diets. Indeed, processed and cooked food offers very few, or no enzymes at all - putting us on a sure path to ill health.

There are thousands of known enzymes which make our biological systems tick.

When analyzing the nutritional profile of barley grass, most experts highlight the presence of a rare and sensitive enzyme called superoxide dismutase (SOD) thought to be a powerful anti-oxidant in fighting off free radicals, specifically superoxide. (Ref. 2)

Of course, barley grass has many other naturally-occurring enzymes which work in synergy with each other.

Barley Grass Nutrition: Amino Acids

Barley grass absolutely bursts with amino acids including all the essential ones and many non-essential. (Ref. 1)

Amino acids are proteins' building blocks, and are crucial for cell regeneration, energy production and many other processes including healthy brain functioning.

Barley Grass Nutrition: Plant Compounds

Barley grass has a high content of chlorophyll - that magic ingredient that helps plants get energy from sunlight. (Ref. 2)

Chlorophyll as a constituent of many green foods has been widely credited for detoxification and removal of waste from the body. It is extremely valuable as an anti-inflammatory and healing agent. (Ref. 7 and 8)

Barley grass also contains many other anti-oxidants which tirelessly fight off free radicals. (Ref. 2)

Wholefoods are the Best Bio-Supplements

We would like to state here our overall preference for food-state supplements as opposed to artificially synthesized commercial multi-vitamins which I personally consider useless if not harmful.

There is no substitute for natural foods, as not only do they provide a broad spectrum of essential nutrients but they also work in complete synergy with each other using the mechanisms which we may or may not know about.

And so barley grass offers fantastic health-related benefits not only because it contains such an incredible amount of essential nutrients but also because they all occur naturally together and work as a team complementing each other.

Barley Grass Powder as a Natural Painkiller

Anecdotal evidence (author's personal experience) suggests that barley grass powder can be an effective natural remedy for pain relief. It may help with managing bone pain as well as muscular pain.

Other Points

Barley grass has no known potential overdose toxicity and / or contradictions and can be taken in liberal amounts. But there is no need to overload on this food either.

Barley grass may also be an effective all-round remedy for tiredness that is caused by nutrient deficiencies.

Some alternatives to barley grass are: wheatgrass, chlorella, spirulina.

Written by:     Irina Bright
Original publication date:     2013
Updates:     2020
Republication date:     2020


1. Dru Natural Foods (2013). Barley Grass - Nutritional Information. Retrieved May 30, 2013 from:

2. Ivana Paulckov, Jaroslava Ehrenbergerov, Vlasta Fiedlerov, Dana Gabrovsk, Pavla Havlov, Marie Holasov, Jir Kopcek, Jarmila Ouhrabkov, Jitka Pinkrov, Jana Rysov, Katerina Vaculov, and Renata Winterov (2006). Evaluation of Barley Grass as a Potential Source of Some Nutritional Substances. Published in Czech Journal of Food Science, 2006. Retrieved May 30, 2013 from:

3. Ida Schomburg, Antje Chang, Sandra Placzek, Carola Söhngen, Michael Rother, Maren Lang, Cornelia Munaretto, Susanne Ulas, Michael Stelzer, Andreas Grote, Maurice Scheer, and Dietmar Schomburg (January 2013). BRENDA in 2013: integrated reactions, kinetic data, enzyme function data, improved disease classification: new options and contents in BRENDA. Published in Nucleic Acids Research. Retrieved May 26, 2013 from:

4. Enzyme. (May 26 2013). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 26, 2013 from:

5. Majid Ali, M.D (2013). OXYGEN, ENZYMES, AND HEALING. Retrieved May 26, 2013 from:

6. William M. Atkins and Hong Qian (May 2012). Stochastic Ensembles, Conformationally Adaptive Teamwork and Enzymatic Detoxification. Published in Biochemistry. Retrieved May 26, 2013 from:

7. Tammie J. McQuistan, Michael T. Simonich, M. Margaret Pratt, Cliff B. Pereira, Jerry D. Hendricks, Roderick H. Dashwood, David E. Williams, and George S. Bailey (November 2011). Cancer chemoprevention by dietary chlorophylls: A 12,000-animal dose-dose matrix biomarker and tumor study. Published in Food and Chemical Toxicology. Retrieved May 26, 2013 from:

8. Margaret E. Sears and Stephen J. Genuis (January 2012). Environmental Determinants of Chronic Disease and Medical Approaches: Recognition, Avoidance, Supportive Therapy, and Detoxification. Published in Journal of Environmental and Public Health. Retrieved May 26, 2013 from:

References for the Table of Nutrients:

1. Dru Natural Foods (2013). Barley Grass - Nutritional Information. Retrieved May 30, 2013 from:

2. Ivana Paulíčková, Jaroslava Ehrenbergerová, Vlasta Fiedlerová, Dana Gabrovská, Pavla Havlová, Marie Holasová, Jiří Kopáček, Jarmila Ouhrabková, Jitka Pinkrová, Jana Rysová, Kateřina Vaculová, and Renata Winterová (2006). Evaluation of Barley Grass as a Potential Source of Some Nutritional Substances. Published in Czech Journal of Food Science, 2006. Retrieved May 30, 2013 from: