Natural Health Tips

Talbina: Relaxation For the Heart of the Sick Person

Talbina is a soothing broth made from ground barley that has many healing properties. It is mentioned by Ibn al-Qayyim in his great work on "The Prophetic Medicine" and there are many Ahadith on the merits of talbina for the sick and grieving person. Ibn al-Qayyim described talbina as a thin soup with the consistency of yoghurt (laban), from where it's name is derived.

He said that it was a broth made from barley flour together with the husks, and it is similar to barley water but the difference is that barley water is cooked with whole barley but talbina is cooked with ground barley. Therefore it is more beneficial because it can be digested easier and the nutrients are penetrated into the system quicker.

He also said that "it has relaxation for the heart of the sick person", it is nutritious and filling, and it warms and soothes the stomach, helping to lessens sorrows and to regain health. It can also be effective in maintaining bowel regularity.

Some ahaadeeth on the subject include:

Aishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said that whenever one of her relatives died, the women assembled and then dispersed (returned to their houses) except her relatives and close friends. She (may Allaah be pleased with her) would order that a pot of talbina be cooked. Then Tharid (a dish prepared from meat and bread) would be prepared and the talbina would be poured over it. Aisha (may Allaah be pleased with her) would say (to the women), "Eat of it, for I heard the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) saying, 'The talbina soothes the heart of the patient and relieves him from some of his sadness.' " [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (5058)].

The Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) also said:

  • "The talbina gives rest to the heart of the patient and makes it active and relieves some of his sorrow and grief." [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (5325)].

  • "It (talbina) soothes the grieving heart and cleanses the ailing heart just as one of you cleans dirt off his face with water." [Saheeh Sunan ibn Maajah (3445)].

  • "You should eat the beneficial thing that is unpleasant to eat (talbina), meaning broth. If any member of the Messenger of Allaah's family was sick, the cooking pot would remain on the fire until one of two things happened, either the person recovered or died." [Saheeh Sunan ibn Maajah (3446)].

The Merits of barley

The key ingredient in talbina is barley. Barley is a member of the grass family called Poaceae.

Barley is a good source of insoluble and soluble fiber. The soluble fiber portion contains the richest source of beta-glucans compared to any other grain; these can aid immune function. Barley also contains B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, and is one of the richest sources of chromium, which is important in maintaining blood glucose levels. Barley is also rich in antioxidants and contains a high concentration of tocols and tocotrienols, oils that help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Numerous studies have been conducted in modern research that demonstrates the effectiveness of barley in treating health problems like heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and constipation. These studies are referenced below.

How to Make talbina

Talbina is made by adding 1-2 tablespoons of barley flour (must be 100% wholegrain barley flour) to one and a half cups of water or milk. Cook on a low heat for 10-15 minutes. It can be sweetened with honey.

This broth can be used as a stock for soups or stews or as a thickener.

Recipe adapted from HealthMeansWealth.

References for further reading

  • Behall KM, Scholfield DJ, Hallfrisch J. Diets containing barley significantly reduce lipids in mildly hypercholesterolemic men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Nov;80(5):1185-1193.

  • Behall KM, Scholfield DJ, Hallfrisch J. Lipids significantly reduced by diets containing barley in moderately hypercholesterolemic men. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Feb;23(l): 55-62.

  • Kanauchi O, Hitomi Y, Agata K, Nakamura T, Fushiki T. Germinated barley foodstuff improves constipation induced by lopermide in rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1998 Sep;62(9):1788-1790.

  • McIntosh GH, Jorgensen 1, Royle P. The potential of an insoluble dietary fiber-rich source from barley to protect from DMH-induced intestinal tumors in rats. Nutr Cancer. 1993;19(2):213-221.