How to Use Digestive Bitters to Improve...Your Digestion.
by Kiki Athanas
May 28, 2018
Digestive bitters (or tinctures) are a simple, accessible way to replicate the way we used to eat.
In other words, providing a bitter taste to the tongue before a meal to trigger the digestive system (read: more of that nice satiated feeling and less gas and bloating afterwards).
There’s a reason bitter salads (e.g. with arugula) are used as an ‘appetizer’ - they really do help our bodies process what comes next.
For meals in which you’d rather skip chewing a dandelion leaf prior to indulging - digestive tinctures are the all-time hack.
Since the digestive system relies on those bitter taste triggers to ‘get things going - simply taking a few drops of a bitter tincture enlivens the body from the inside out!
But how do you choose and use a “digestive bitter”, you ask?
I connected with Anna Booth Cohen from Flowering Thistle, my personal Herbalist guru and the maker of truly DELICIOUS (yes, it’s possible) bitter tinctures. I’ve used Canadian and Swedish bitters in the past, but once I tried her very own organic and super high-vibe charged up plant concoctions, I have never looked back.
Best part is: they work!
Without fail, if I’m diligent about taking just a few drops (either on or under the tongue) around 10-15 minutes before and after meals, I feel better and any digestive disturbances I may otherwise experienced are GONE. Seriously, it’s like magic. Herbal magic.
Since you’ve obviously now decided that you also need digestive bitters in your life, here’s what Anna suggests to keep in mind…
“For bitters, I always keep two main actions in mind when blending. The first is obviously that bitter taste which is supportive for the liver. The second and just as importantly complementary element is that of a carminative, which essentially help to prevent stagnation in our intestines.”
So be sure to look out for a bitter that includes both bitter and a bit of warm “spiciness” from a carminative for optimal results.
I use 3 different bitters hand-blended for me by the lovely Anna…
They all include yellow dock (a liver lover!), red root (helps with detox as it aids in the blood’s ability to pick up and remove toxins), and motherwort - a carminative bitter.
Each are customized to be...
With the addition of mint, I use this bitter when I have to be more “on my game” as mint is a herb that is emotionally supportive and encourages expression. It’s my ‘very important business lunch’ bitter.
Orange peel, which is a soothing addition perfect for the winter months. I tend to stick to this one all through the colder seasons.
This blend features one of my favourite adaptogens: tulsi! It is soothing to the mind, body, & soul. I also favour the taste of this particular mix.
So there you have it - a simple and quick way to signal the gallbladder to release bile and activate those all important digestive enzymes to ensure every meal “goes down a treat”!
For those of you who want to follow my lead and take advantage of the magical potions Anna lovingly crafts, you can order directly from her on her site, Flowering Thistle.