11 Serious Side Effects Of Barley Water

Learn the repercussions of this traditional drink to keep yourself safe from harm.

Medically reviewed by Silky Mahajan, CSN, CDE Silky Mahajan Silky MahajanCSN, CDE facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , B.Desgn, ISSA Certified Specialist In Fitness & Nutrition Tanya Choudhary B.Desgn, ISSA Certified Specialist In Fitness & Nutrition linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
Edited by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health linkedin_icon Experience: 8 years
Fact-checked by , BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach Moksha Gandhi BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
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Barley is well known for its many health benefits. However, are you aware that barley water could have possible side effects? Barley water is made by mixing barley flour with water and is considered one of the healthiest drinks. It cools your body during summer and prevents dehydration and provides many important nutrients that help fight electrolyte imbalance. While barley water benefits are quite well-known, its adverse effects are not. Read on to know more about the risks of barley water.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Barley Water

Short-Term Effects
It may cause intestinal gas or flatus, rectal bleeding with acute pain, and stomach upset.

Long-Term Effects
May cause chronic constipation and a respiratory allergy called ‘bakers’ asthma’ and may lead to Celiac disease.

Drug Interactions
It may interact with diabetes medications.

When To See A Doctor
If you experience upset stomach or diarrhea then seek medical help.

11 Side Effects Of Barley Water

But at the same time, barley water can harm us too. Here is a list of barley water side effects you need to go through:

1. Flatus / Intestinal Gas

Barley is a good source of dietary fiber (1). This may cause intestinal gas or flatus (2). The reason behind it is the activities of the beneficial bacteria present in our colon. So, try to limit your barley water intake to prevent gas formation.

protip_icon Trivia
In Ancient Greece, barley water was served at the peak of the religious ritual Eleusinian Mysteries to help break a sacred fast.

2. Stomach

Young woman holding her stomach in pain
Image: Shutterstock

Excessive consumption of barley water may upset the stomach. Barley water can also interact with certain medications leading to stomach upset or heartburn. In both cases, the stomach irritation can come with minor to major symptoms like pain, stomach cramps, nausea, bloating, and sometimes even  loose bowels or diarrhea and worsen other IBS symptoms (3).

Stacey, a blogger, shared her experience after finding out about her son’s food sensitivity to malt. Her son experienced digestive issues and despite consulting with a doctor, the cause remained elusive. She writes in her blog, “Once we took the malt out of my son’s diet, we started getting “normal” bowel movements. If he accidentally got something with malt in it, the diarrhea returned (i).”

3. Constipation

If you drink too much barley water, the chances are that you will end up developing chronic constipation and indigestion.

Make sure that you consult your physician in case the problem continues for more than 7 days at a time.

4. Rectal Bleeding

In severe cases of constipation, you might experience rectal bleeding with acute pain. Try to avoid consuming this natural laxativei  Any substance or drug that loosens the stool and promotes bowel movement to relieve constipation. in bulk to avoid such situations.

5. Fungal Contamination

It has been reported that barley water can lead to fungal contamination from time to time

. Certain contaminants found in the malt extract are Trichothecium Roseum and Ochratoxin A (4), (5). These toxins can take a toll on our bones by breaking them down.

6. Allergic Reactions

Young woman gets itchy skin due to allergic reation
Image: Shutterstock

Allergic reactions to barley water are also quite common. If you already suffer from hypersensitivityi  Undesirable overreaction of the immune system to any allergen or foreign body, including medicines. or allergy in the recent past, it is time to regulate your daily consumption of barley water. Or else, you might experience a number of symptoms like rashes, inflammation, hives, skin irritation as well as swelling of eyes, eyelids, nose, arms, legs, and even anaphylaxisi  A life-threatening allergic reaction that occurs instantly after exposure to the potential allergen. .

7. Bakers’ Asthma

A bakery staff coughing
Image: Shutterstock

The grain of barley can cause a serious respiratory allergy called ‘bakers’ asthma’ (6). People working in bakeries are prone to this condition. But you can also fall prey to it if you are exposed to lots of barley flour while preparing your barley water. So, be careful as it may cause dizziness, headaches, or fatigue.

8. Blocked / Ruptured Esophagus

Being loaded with fiber, barley can harm your esophagus too. Whenever preparing your drink, make sure that you add enough water to the extract of the malt. Otherwise, you may face difficulty in swallowing, which can eventually block or even rupture your esophagus.

9. Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is basically wheat allergy, which is caused due to gluten intolerance (7). Barley contains a huge amount of gluten, thereby making the condition even worse.

10. Reduced Blood Sugar

Woman checking blood sugar levels
Image: Shutterstock

Overconsumption of barley water can reduce the amount of sugar in your bloodstream (8). If it goes under the normal level, you will develop hypoglycemia. So, try to keep a close eye on your blood sugar level while drinking barley water regularly.

11. Surgical Complications

As barley water can cause a sudden fall in your blood glucose levels (9), you should always take precautions prior to undergoing surgery. It is recommended that you stop having the drink at least 10 to 14 days before going under the knife. It may help you regulate your blood sugar level so that you can keep all sorts of surgical complications at bay.

protip_icon Trivia
In Southeast Asian countries, people mostly serve barley water with grains. It is mixed with lemon and served with a straw or spoon to help consume the soft grains easily.
Barley water in a glass
Image: Shutterstock

Infographic: Most Common Side Effects Of Barley Water

Barley water is a healthy drink consumed by many for its nutritious value. Being loaded with fibers, vitamins and minerals it aids in weight loss and helps prevent many diseases related to weight gain. But overconsumption of it can lead to many serious side effects.

To identify the symptoms and most common side effects of barley water check the infographic given below.

most common side effects of barley water (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Barley water is a healthy drink with a rich nutritional value. From controlling blood sugar fluctuations to supporting immune system function, barley water has several health benefits. However, excess intake of barley water may cause side effects. It may cause intestinal gas or flatus, stomach upset, constipation, rectal bleeding, and allergic reactions. In addition, its gluten content may cause issues in people with celiac disease. If you are experiencing any adverse reactions after consuming barley water, stop the intake and consult your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is barley water good for kidneys?

Vanessa Vitali, a holistic nutritionist, says, “Barley water is a healthy drink that can help with many ailments, including kidney stones. It’s made by brewing barley, which contains minerals like calcium and magnesium. These minerals will pass into your urine and help dissolve any stone material that may be clogging your system.” Hence barley water helps fight kidney problems.

Can barely cleanse the liver?

Holistic Nutritionist Vanessa Vitali says, “It is rich in many nutrients that help remove all toxins from your body by improving body metabolism and waste elimination.”

Does barley reduce belly fat?

According to Vanessa Vitali, a holistic nutritionist, “It is a natural diuretic that can help flush out excess fluid, making it the perfect drink if you want to lose weight.”

How long can I store barley water?

You can store barley water in a glass jar for up to 2 to 3 days in the fridge.

Is it okay to drink barley water daily?

No, overconsumption of barley water may cause gas and upset the stomach. You can consume barley water a few times a week to reap its benefits.

Key Takeaways

  • Barley water is made by mixing barley flour with water and is consumed during summers to cool your body.
  • Consumption of barley water may cause digestive problems, bloating, and rectal bleeding.
  • Individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance should avoid this drink.
  • Overconsumption of barley water may seriously lower blood sugar levels.
side effects of barley water

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Discover the incredible power of barley! Join us on an enlightening journey as we unveil its health benefits, its role in managing diabetes, and uncover any potential side effects.

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  2. Effects of High-Fiber Diets and Macronutrient Substitution on Bloating: Findings From the OmniHeart Trial
  3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  4. [Effect of pH on the enzymic activity of the fungi Trichothecium roseum and Aspergillus niger hydrolyzing nonstarch polysaccharides]
  5. Ochratoxin A in stored U.S. barley and wheat
  6. A major barley allergen associated with baker’s asthma disease is a glycosylated monomeric inhibitor of insect alpha-amylase: cDNA cloning and chromosomal location of the gene
  7. Celiac disease: From pathophysiology to treatment
  8. Effect of Hordeum vulgare L. (Barley) on blood glucose levels of normal and STZ-induced diabetic rats
  9. Effect of High β-glucan Barley on Postprandial Blood Glucose and Insulin Levels in Type 2 Diabetic Patients
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Silky Mahajan
Silky MahajanMSc, CSN, CDE
Silky has been practicing nutrition for more than 14 years and is an active member of the Indian Dietetics Association (IDA). She has a masters degree in nutrition and dietetics and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator.

Read full bio of Silky Mahajan