Harvest Spring (Barley Juice)

A review of Harvest Spring’s old Web site promoting enzyme therapy for psoriasis.

Grade F

The Harvest Spring web page claims that enzyme therapy, in the form of barley juice, (made using their product the “Big Herb” sprouting system, which costs a mere $650 US — they do not mention the fact that a juicer would also be necessary), “has been shown to… aid to correct immune related condition, i.e. psoriasis and allergies.”

Their beliefs are based on the observations of a veterinarian, Dr. C. M. Smith, who noticed that animals who consumed barley grass were healthier than animals who did not (note that animals do not get psoriasis). His claims do not seem to be based on hard science, but are based only on sketchy historical anecdotes and the doctor’s claim that drinking 5-6 oz. of barley juice a day (along with regular exercise) is the key to his longevity and health.

Their claims are suspect for a few reasons.

Dr. Smith asserts that barley juice “increases local blood supply.” Psoriasis is characterized by increased capillary activity in the affected skin areas — this is caused by the immune system’s inflammatory response. Increased blood supply could conceivably worsen the plaques.

The web site also claims that enzyme therapy will boost the immune system. Psoriasis plaques are caused by improper immune reactions within the skin, where the immune system is quite active when it really shouldn’t be. Stimulating a psoriatic’s immune system even more might result in his condition worsening.

The PDR Family Guide to Natural Medicines offers this advice about enzyme therapy:

According to virtually all medical experts, unless you’ve been diagnosed with a clear-cut medical deficiency, enzyme supplements are a waste of money. Diabetics in particular should be wary of high enzyme diets that may conflict with the carefully balanced menus they need to keep their blood sugar levels under control.

If a person is interested in adding barley juice or fresh sprouts to his diet, he does not need to pay $650 for the “Big Herb” sprout grower. There is plenty of free information floating around on the Web (including this guide to growing your own sprouts).


See also Herbal Warnings.

Linda M. contributed this review on July 18, 1999.