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Barley has been cultivated since prehistoric times in many parts of the world. Barley was grown in Switzerland during the Stone Age. The ancient Greeks fed it to their training athletes in the form of barley-mush. In Chinese lore, barley was considered a symbol of male potency. The Hindus use barely grains in many religious celebrations, marriage, birth and death rites.
— Karen Cross Whyte, "The Complete Sprouting Cookbook"
Barley grass is said to have 30 times more vitamin B1 and 11 times the amount of calcium than there is in cow’s milk, 6.5 times as much carotene and nearly 5 times the iron content of spinach, close to seven times the vitamin C in oranges, four times the vitamin B1 in whole wheat flour, and 80 micrograms of vitamin B12 per 100 grams of dried barley plant juice.