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This, in the order of cereal grasses, is, in Britain, the next plant to wheat in point of value, and exhibits several species and varieties. From what country it comes originally, is not known, but it was cultivated in the earliest ages of antiquity, as the Egyptians were afflicted with the loss of it in the ear, in the time of Moses. It was a favourite grain with the Athenians, but it was esteemed as an ignominious food by the Romans. Notwithstanding this, however, it was much used by them, as it was in former times by the English, and still is, in the Border counties, in Cornwall, and also in Wales. In other parts of England, it is used mostly for malting purposes. It is less nutritive than wheat; and in 100 parts, has of starch 79, gluten 6, saccharine matter 7, husk 8. It is, however, a lighter and less stimulating food than wheat, which renders a decoction of it well adapted for invalids whose digestion is weak.


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