11 Incredible Benefits of Barley Tea

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

There might be many benefits of drinking barley tea because it may help improve circulation, treat skin conditions, prevent chronic disease, and settle the stomach. It may also help stimulate male fertility, prevents diabetes, aids in weight loss, purifies the blood, and strengthen the immune system.

What is Barley Tea?

Barley tea might be a staple beverage in many countries, primarily Korea, Japan, and China, where it is known as boricha, mugicha, and màichá, respectively. Consumed both cold and hot, roasted barley tea may be a delicious, refreshing, nutty and aromatic drink that is slowly beginning to gain popularity. [1]

Barley Tea Nutrition Facts

It might have impressive range of health benefits, due to the high concentrations of vitamin A, C, antioxidants, amino acids, selenium, melatonin, and tryptophan. Also, the minimum caffeine content might make it an excellent choice for anyone who wants to cut back on calories and boost their overall health.

Health Benefits of Barley Tea

Health benefits of barley tea include:

Might aid in Digestive Health

As a natural antacid, barley tea can help balance excess acidity in the gut and might prevent acid reflux. Furthermore, barley and barley tea might be rich in fiber, which can ease constipation and promote healthy bowel movements, thus reducing constipation, hemorrhoids, bloating, cramping, and stomach upset. [2]

Might have Antioxidant Capacity

A ceramic bowl of roasted barley seeds with a teapot and cup of barley tea on a wooden table

Barley tea may have a very pleasant aroma. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

There might be a number of antioxidant compounds in this tea, as well as essential minerals like selenium, which can act on the body to prevent oxidative stress and might help you avoid chronic health diseases. [3]

Might boost Immune System

The high levels of vitamin C present in barley tea may give your immune system a necessary boost by promoting the production of white blood cells, in addition to acting as an antioxidant and countering the negative effects of free radicals.

Might improve Circulation

Barley tea might be stimulating in nature and can increase blood flow, particularly by acting as an anticoagulant. This can reduce your chances of developing blood clots, and may also prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, stroke, and other cardiovascular complications. [4]

Might be a Sleep Aid

The levels of tryptophan and melatonin found in barley tea might make it an excellent sleep aid. If you are suffering from insomnia, restless night, or regularly interrupted sleep, these compounds may trigger neurotransmitter release in the brain and aid you in falling into undisturbed sleep, followed by feeling refreshed in the morning.

Might improve Fertility

Selenium isn’t a mineral you often hear about, but it might be critical to certain aspects of male fertility and can protect the health of the prostate. Barley can be a good source of selenium, which, according to Dr Zhigang Cui and Dr Dezhong Liu’s report published in the Medicine (Baltimore) Journal, could prevent prostate cancer. The report concluded an inverse relationship between serum selenium levels and prostate cancer risk. [5]

Might help in Diabetes

Barley tea might notably be low in sugar, despite its natural sweetness, and may help regulate blood sugar and insulin balance in the body. According to a recent study in the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, high antioxidative activity of phytochemicals present in barley might make it a beneficial natural means for the prevention of diabetes. In addition to barley phytochemicals’ antioxidant properties, barley phytochemical compounds might have strong anti-inflammatory actions and could thereby decrease diabetes and obesity risk. [6]

Might aid in Weight Loss

Barley tea might also be very low in calories but can make you feel full, owing to the rich supply of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients found in the tea. This may help people avoid snacking between meals and overeating, while still stimulating the metabolism so passive fat burning can occur more effectively. [7]

Might prevent Inflammation

The anti-inflammatory compounds found in barley tea may be great for joint pain, arthritis, gout, oxidative stress, and other inflammation issues throughout the body. The antioxidants found in it might be great for inflammatory conditions of all kinds, including those that affect neurodegenerative and chronic diseases. [8]

Might help Pregnant Women

While most herbal teas might not be suggested for pregnant women, barley tea might contain ample amounts of potassium, niacin, iron, calcium, folic acid, and other critical nutrients for pregnancy. It may also be known to keep gestational diabetes at bay, coagulate the blood to prevent excessive bleeding during delivery, and prevent certain birth defects, such as spina bifida and neural tube defects. [9]

Might help in Skin Care

Antioxidants might come in many forms within barley tea, and all of them can help with oxidative stress in the body, which might cause premature aging, wrinkles, and age spots. These beneficial compounds might also improve skin elasticity and keep you looking younger for longer!

Barley Tea Taste

The taste of barley tea may generally be nutty, warm and aromatic, but that all depends on the type of barley you use, the level to which it is roasted, and whether you are serving the tea cold or warm. Many people compare the taste to coffee, and it also has the dark appearance of everyone’s favorite caffeinated morning beverage.

However, it might be decidedly less bitter than coffee and tea, making it the perfect replacement for these popular drinks. It may have a natural sweetness to it, so it may not require sugar, lemon or honey, although some people choose to add a natural sweetener to barley tea. It should not be confused with barley water, a common beverage in the United Kingdom, which is prepared differently and might be more similar to lemonade than coffee or tea.

How to Make Barley Tea?

Making your own barley tea (Korean Boricha) at home may only require barley, water, a skillet, a coffee filter, a large pitcher and about an hour of your time! To make this recipe even simpler, you can buy pre-roasted barley at almost any Asian market. Otherwise, simply buy normal barley and proceed through these simple steps for a refreshing summertime drink – or a warm, wintry treat! [10]

A ceramic bowl of roasted barley seeds with a teapot and cup of barley tea on a wooden table

Delicious Barley Tea (Boricha) Recipe

A caffeine-free drink that makes for a great substitute for coffee! It is also a good choice for a pre-bedtime drink. 
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Tea
Cuisine: Asian, Korean
Keyword: Barley Tea
Appliance: Stainless Steel Pot
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Raksha Hegde


  • 6 tbsp ground, roasted barley
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp honey optional
  • lemon optional


  • If using unroasted barley, add the barley grains to a skillet and roast them, shaking occasionally, until they turn a rich, dark brown.
    Close-up image of barley grains
  • Once the grains are roasted, allow them to cool before adding them to an empty pepper grinder or coffee grinder. Grind the roasted barley into a fine powder. 
  • Bring the water to a boil in a pot, then add the ground roasted barley. Bring the heat down to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • Let the tea cool slightly. It may take 5-6 minutes. Then, strain the mixture into a pitcher. You can use a coffee filter or cheesecloth to filter the fine barley grains.
  • Place the pitcher in the refrigerator for cold barley tea, or serve immediately for warm tea.
  • Add honey or lemon to taste, and enjoy!
    A ceramic bowl of roasted barley seeds with a teapot and cup of barley tea on a wooden table


Barley tea does not contain any caffeine. However, some barley tea manufacturers may add caffeine to pre-roasted, ground barley. So, make sure you check the nutrition label. 

Barley Tea Side Effects

As a grain-based tea, it might be a risk for those who suffer from Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, and it should also be taken with some caution by those with diabetes, as it might interact with certain medications commonly prescribed for diabetics.

  • Gluten intolerance: The tea might contain gluten-containing grain, and should be avoided by those with gluten sensitivity
  • Surgery: It might also be anticoagulant in nature, so it should be avoided by those who are undergoing surgery, as it may lead to complications [11]
  • Hyperglycemia medication: The blood sugar-reducing properties of barley tea might be dangerous for those who are already on hyperglycemia medication. So you should speak to your doctor before adding it to your diet, in this case.
  • Breastfeeding: For pregnant women, there may actually be many benefits to barley tea and no known toxins in the tea that could be dangerous. However, it may not be suggested for mothers who are breastfeeding, as it can slow down or stop lactation.
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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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