Chinese pearl barley has superior nutritional and medical benefits. Here is a auto google translation from a Chinese Wiki description of this grain.

Medicine benefits Chinese pearl barley are to treat dampness Bi syndrome, normalize spleen system and help fight flat wart and cancer.

Chinese pearl barley is a favorited food for weight loss today. The spleen system in TCM includes digestion and circulation. It digests food, absorbs nutrients, transports nutrients to body cells and brings the waste from each cell back to intestinal tract to remove out from the body. A person who gains too much weight means that the spleen system is Bi (i.e., weakened) and that dampness (extra waste) from cells depots, accumulates, and becomes fat in the body.

Traditionally, Chinese pearl barley is added into pork bone or chicken soups to remove and prevent from dampness. Today, one popular recipe is a soup of pearl barley with red beans - take equal amount of pearl barley and red beans, soak for 3 hours, slowly cook for 2-3 hours and serve as breakfast or tea with rock sugar once a day (note: adding rice will change the medicine nature). It is reported to be very helpful for long term healthy, weight control and skin beauty. The following are some variants of the this simple recipe for different further purposes:

  • For people who lack enough exercise or feel sleeping, add some dried longan
  • For teenagers and young people who have rash or acne, add lily bulbs and lotus seeds.
  • For people who have uncomfortable tomach or feel unusual cold, add ginger slices
  • For kidney weakness, add black beans
  • For cough, add some pear slices
  • For diabetics, add pumpkin
  • For premature ejaculation, nocturnal emission, excessive urination at night, add fox nuts
  • For pregnant women, remove pearl barley, but add astragalus and codonopsis
  • For maternals, remove pearl barley and rock sugar, but add red dates, millet and brown sugar

One easiest way to cook this congee is to wash the pearl barley and red beans, heat to boiling point with water and leave everything in a magic cooker. The soup/congee should be ready when you wake up next morning.