A urinary tract infection can be a painful, frustrating condition. It can result in discomfort, the inability to urinate, pain in your sides and serious kidney damage if left untreated. In addition to doctor-prescribed antibiotics, many home remedies have been developed over the years to help relieve the symptoms and cure the infection. One of these popular remedies is to drink barley tea. A simple tea made from boiling the grain in water.
Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary tract. Your urinary system is composed of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Any part of your urinary system can become infected, but most occur in the bladder and the urethra. The infections are caused by microbes, mostly bacteria that live in the bowel like E. coli. The urinary tract has several systems to prevent infection, but sometimes these natural defenses are not enough and infections occur. Most urinary tract infections are not serious, but chronic kidney infections can cause permanent damage, including kidney scars, poor kidney function and high blood pressure.
Barley is a cereal grain and a member of the grass family. It is used as animal food, in the fermenting of beer and as an ingredient in many health foods. It is high in fiber and protein, and when cooked has a texture and flavor similar to brown rice. Hulled barley is the more nutritious, since only the tough, outer hulls are polished off. Pearl barley is more polished, so that the outer bran layer is also scrubbed off. It is less nutritious, but more popular since it is not as chewy and cooks faster.
Make barley tea by boiling one cup of barley grains in a pot with enough water to cover by two inches. Wait for the mixture to turn cloudy. Use a strainer to remove the barley, leaving only the liquid behind. Drink the barley tea regularly, either hot or cold. Barley tea can be used as an effective diuretic – meaning it helps promote the production of urine. But, there is no real, hard scientific evidence that barley in particular is any more effective than any other healthy, naturally brewed tea.
There is no strong scientific evidence that barley tea can cure a urinary tract infection. One of the best things you can do to help combat an infection is to drink a lot of fluids to flush your system and try to remove the bacteria. Drinking a lot of tea means drinking a lot of water. In addition, barley has many health benefits that go far beyond its possible ability to fight infection. It is a safe, cheap and healthy option to use to help clean your urinary track when there is a slight infection. However, chronic and serious infections should be treated by a doctor or health care professional.