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 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.
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