Herbal Drink Series – Chinese Barley Drink

This week, let’s learn more about the Chinese Barley (薏苡仁) herbal drink. In Singapore, Chinese Barley is more commonly known as 中国薏米.

Whenever I pass by Hock Hua tonic shop, I notice that the Chinese barley drink will typically be sold out on days when the weather is very warm. It seems many people like to consume Chinese barley drink to reduce heatiness in the body!

Of all the herbal drinks that are commonly available in the market, Chinese barley is the most effective in removing dampness from our body. Thus, it makes a very suitable drink to consume on days when the weather is warm and rainy (like these few days in Singapore)!

When the weather is warm and wet, dampness starts to build up in the body which will weaken our spleen. This will in turn affect digestion and how well your body can absorb nutrients from the food you eat.

For people whose bodies are heaty in nature, they may have difficulty expelling the heat especially when the dampness builds up, resulting in them having a dampness and heat body constitution. Inflammation will occur very often in this group of people.

The following signs may indicate that your body is starting to have dampness:

  • Sticky stools
  • Water retention issue
  • Poor appetite
  • Very prone to acne outbreaks (Dampness + Heat)
  • Bad breath (Dampness + Heat)

Simple Chinese Barley Drink Recipe

The following is a simple recipe to prepare an effective barley drink at home.
Ingredients (1 pax):
  • Chinese barley (30g)
  • Dried winter melon (15g)
1. Soak the Chinese barley for about 30 to 60 mins (soaking time can be reduced if the environmental temperature is higher).
2. Wash and rinse the dried winter melon.
3. Put both ingredients into a pot of water and bring it to boil.
4. Once it starts to boil, turn the fire to the lowest and let it simmer for 20 to 30 mins.
5. Enjoy the barley water!
Dietary Caution: Pregnant women must avoid consuming Chinese barley.
Side Note: The reason for adding winter melon in this recipe is because winter melon also has the property of removing dampness in our body. Combining it with Chinese barley will give even better results. Fresh winter melon can also be used.
Frequency recommendation: Consume Chinese barley water for three consecutive days especially if you’re experiencing dampness symptoms.
Extra info: Chinese barley is considered a type of grain which can help to build up your intestinal health as it provides your fiber needs. So if you can, do eat the Chinese barley as well. If you didn’t soak the Chinese barley prior to cooking, you’ll need to double the cooking time so that it will be soft enough to be chewed!
Another note: Dampness, as compared to heatiness and cold, is the hardest to be removed from our body, hence it will take time to see results if you rely solely on dietary changes. If you want a faster way to clear dampness from your body, it is best to get some morning sun exposure (7am to 8am) and do some brisk walking or jogging. Sweating is a great way to help remove dampness from your body.
Hope you find this information useful!

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