Tuesday, August 20, 2013

More Lactogenic Beverages made with Barley

Barley - An Ancient Galactagogue

The barley grain has been treasured as a galactagogue for thousands of years. It contains high levels of beta-glucan, a long-chained sugar molecule that has been shown to increase prolactin, the very hormone that signals the need for milk production to the brain.

To learn more about barley, please see my articles on beer and malt.

Barley Water - A Home Remedy

Barley Water is a traditional "cure all," used on the British Isles for a range of common family ills such as indigestion, a cold or flu, diarrhea or constipation. It also "works" to increase milk supply, and is used across Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia.

Barley-Water is made by simmering about a half cup of barley in about 2 quarts of water for at least 20 minutes and up to about 2 hours. (The longer it simmers, the more potent the brew.) When it is done, lactogenic spices such as fennel or fenugreek seed or astragalus root  is added in, and steeped for about 10 minutes longer. Barley-Water can be sweetened with a natural sweetener such as honey, or with stevia

A few cups of barley water spaced between meals throughout the day is a powerful support for low-supply mothers! Amazingly, mothers report that the barley-water is comparable to domperidone, a prescription medicine that is quite effective, but that leads to weightgain and mild fatigue in many mothers when used long term.

Barley and Gluten

Today, a large number of mothers (some experts believe the number includes all mothers and all of us) have some degree of slight inflammation present in the body--in the nerves, the brain, the intestines, liver, other organs, etc. This inflammation is due to our diet of refined and processed foods, and also to our exposure to pesticides and other toxins. 

Many foods exacerbate such inflammation. The best-known trigger for inflammation is gluten, a difficult-to-digest sticky protein that is found in high concentrations in wheat, but also found in barley, in rye, and to a lesser extent, in oats. 

"Dandy Blend" and gluten

Dandy Blend is a coffee substitute that, like many such traditional coffee substitutes, is based on barley grain. 

On the phone, a Dandy Blend representative explained that their product is gluten free. Apparently, their product is manufactured through water extraction of the starch of the grain, and no protein or gluten is extracted.

The company claims to have sent samples to laboratories to have its gluten content measured, and the results have consistently come back negative. No gluten present. 

If what they claim is true, it appears that hot water extraction effectively removes the starch, including the beta-glucan from the grain, and leaves the gluten-protein attached securely within the grain. 

It is possible that barley-water, which is made by gently simmering barley in water on lowest heat and then removing the barley from the liquid, is nearly gluten-free.

However, if you are avoiding gluten, I wouldn't try this out. There are other galactagogues of equal efficacy to draw from, without risk of gluten.


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  4. I recently began drinking dandy blend to reduce my caffeine intake. I love it and I'm very pleased to discover that it contains barley and has benefits for milk supply. Drinking too much caffeine lowered my supply. Dandy blend is also having good effects on my bowels!

    1. Thanks for sharing. I'm drinking it more recently, too. Going off dairy, I'm finding a delicious drink is dandy blend, ginger and cinnamon powder, and stevia extract. Share more if you would like about caffeine and your milk supply. Some moms even find this with chocolate, that has a chemical related to caffeine. It's unusual but it happens.

  5. This is one of the most important blogs that I have seen, keep it up!

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  8. I will start trying Dandy, I hope it tastes good! I quit coffee since pregnancy and baby is 6 wk old now... Also struggling with low milk supply... Got the Malt syrup but how much and how often should I eat t?