Barley

(Hordeum sativum) An Irish charm for warts was to get ten knots of barley straw (though it was more usual to use ten slices of potato), count out nine and throw away the tenth. Rub the wart with the nine, then roll them up in a piece of paper, and throw them before a funeral. Then the wart would gradually disappear (Haddon). Large amounts of boiled barley juice were recommended in Scotland to be drunk for kidney disease, and Jewish folklore has a recipe for retention of urine, i. e. water in which barley, eggshells and parsley had been boiled (Rappoport).

In seventeenth century Skye a mixture of barley meal and white of egg was applied as a first aid measure for broken bones. After that splints were used (Beith). Martin gave an example of a cure used in Harris for drawing "worms" out of the flesh. It involved applying a "Plaister of warm Barley-dough to the place affected". Eventually the swelling went down, and it drew out "a little Worm, about half an inch in length, and about the bigness of a Goose-quill, having a pointed head, and many little feet on each side". They called this creature, whatever it was, a Fillan.

Barley is required for many Hindu religious ceremonies, and is particularly associated with the god Indra. It is important at ceremonies attending the birth of a child, at weddings, funerals, and some sacrifices (Pandey).

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