Bringing Back Bitters for Health

Bitters Benefits  2-1-18

You may know I have been studying digestion for Loren (my husband with GERD). But while researching, I have come up with some very interesting data for people with diabetes, blood sugar issues, weight loss and food cravings, gas, bloating, and liver and gall bladder issues which I thought would be of interest to you.

In light of the problems we are facing with our food these days – toxins, poor nutritional quality and content, GMOs etc, digestion has become an ever more important aspect of our lives. People are complaining more of heart burn, gas, bloating, poor energy, stomach aches and cramps, and food cravings.

We are seeing an increase in GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease where stomach acid comes back up from the stomach inflaming the esophagus and causing other problems including auto-immune, leaky gut, and much more).

It turns out that the Scandinavians have had it right all along. Bitters has been a traditional part of their diet for ages. Or the French who make it a habit of drinking an aperitif before a meal. By tasting a bit of bitter flavor before eating, it does all kinds of things listed below.

I’ve known for a long time that the taste of bitter stimulates the entire endocrine system, every gland in the lot, which kicks off good digestion and handles a bunch of problems throughout the whole body. It’s a toner, rever-upper for the metabolism, and relaxer all at the same time.

I’ve been researching this in depth today, but took a class in it two years ago at a Permaculture Gathering in N.C., and learned you can make your own delicious bitters with some 100 proof vodka or Everclear and some herbs usually available in a lot of places. It doesn’t even take a lot of different kinds but I found out I was already making some of them for medicinal uses.

One could even go a little nuts and make a hobby or business out of the creative blends of botanicals and spices listed in the website below. It’s so rich in possibilities.

However, you can purchase “bitters” at any liquor store. Just put a couple of drops on your tongue before eating. It’s strong flavor, but it ramps up the whole digestive process so your body really gets the benefits of the nutrition you are trying to get from eating. Eating a salad with some bitter leaves before a main course does the same thing as does an alcoholic aperitif, even some red wine with dinner has similar properties.

If you want to try making your own you can do that. I’ve included a site to check out for that below. and

 Benefits of digestive bitters:

  • Bitters have also been used to supress food cravings.  The craving for sugary snacks or starchy salty snack foods can be quenched with a drop of bitter taste on the tongue.
  • Bitters relieve gas and bloating.
  • Bitters help maintain healthy blood sugar levels
  • Bitters support the liver and gall bladder.
  • Bitters relieve heart burn and indigestion
  • Bitters relieve upset stomach and nausea
  • Bitters are both drying and cooling
  • Bitters aid weight loss by curbing sugar cravings and maintaining healthy blood sugar
  • Bitters help to regulate fat metabolism
  • Bitters can improve your complexion by improving digestion


But for bitters to be effective they must be tasted.  It’s the bitter stimulation of the tongue that triggers the cascading effect of bitters on the digestive system.

How to increase the digestive bitters in your diet.

  • Eat raw green salads before a meal.
  • Drink a glass of red wine with dinner.  White wine doesn’t have the same astringency as red.
  • Take a bitter tonic or aperitif about 30 minutes before dinner.
  • Take a bitter tincture 20 minutes before eating.  Just a few drops on the tongue is all you need.
  • Include bitter tasting food in the meal
  • Use less sugar to mask the taste of bitters

If you have an herb garden or access to fresh herbs listed in the website above, you can have some fun making the infusions (soaking herbs in liquid for some time) or tinctures (soaking in alcohol or vinegar) and getting creative with flavors, also covered in one of the sites above. They can be quite delicious.

Or you can purchase already made bitters from a number of herb companies like Mountain Rose Herb Company or your local farmers market or homestead group from people who do it for you. Whatever the source, when making them or purchasing them, use and purchase what has been made with organic botanicals and herbs so you aren’t accidentally exposing yourself to the chemicals sprayed on non-organic plants or on the ground they are grown on. Alcohol will concentrate toxins.

Bon Appetite

Diann Dirks




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