Medicinal bitters have been around for centuries, they can be traced back as far as ancient Egyptian times. Bitters have complex flavors of sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. They function as an astringent, a tonic, a relaxant, and an internal cleanser. Taking them before meals helps to stimulate our digestive systems by producing gastric juices, saliva, and bile to help break down our food. Easing that break down of food helps us to cleanse the body and build strength.
One of my favorite reasons for taking bitters is that it helps to train our digestive systems to produce gastric juices, stomach acid, and digestive enzymes on its own, without having to rely on digestive enzyme or hydrochloric acid (HCL) supplements.
What else do bitters help with?
- They rouse the production of digestive enzymes, bile and stomach acid
- Soothe gas and bloat
- Ease constipation and help with regularity
- Curb sugar cravings
- Relieve heartburn
- Increase the absorption of vitamins and minerals
- Balance appetite
- Liver support
There are different types of herbs ranging from seriously bitter like gentian root to mildly bitter like dandelion root, even chamomile. Feel free to explore herbs on your own or try out my recipe down below. These herbs called out to me when I went to my local herb shop, the end result was quite delightful --stimulating, warming, and a little spicy.
Love Thy Gut Bitters
½ cup (4 oz.) dried orange peel
¼ cup (2 oz). gentian root
¼ cup (2 oz). raw cacao
¼ cup (2 oz). cinnamon bark
¼ cup (2 oz). ginger root
You can also do it in parts. For example: 2 parts orange peel, 1 part gentian root, 1 part raw cacao, 1 part cinnamon root, 1 part ginger root
Fill a quart jar with 1/3 of the dried herbs. Fill up the jar to the top with 100 proof vodka or a spirit of your choice. Make sure your herbs are completely covered. It’s important to label your jar with the herbs you used and their parts, the date, and the alcohol strength, (otherwise you might forget what's in there). Allow them to extract for 6-8 weeks or a full moon cycle. Shake the jar everyday.
After 6-8 weeks or a full moon cycle, strain the herbs with a cheesecloth and squeeze any remaining liquid back into the extract. It’s convenient to have a small funnel hand so that you can bottle the extract into small amber dropper bottles. Make sure you label these too.
References: http://blog.radiantlifecatalog.com/, www.westonaprice.org