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Digestive Bitters: Invaluable For Gut Health

When it comes to food sensitivities, allergies, autoimmune disease, and most health disorders, it all starts in the gut. In modern culture, we are pretty much unaware of digestive bitters and how invaluable they are for gut health. I know I was. While supplements like digestive enzyme and probiotic capsules are great for boosting gut health quickly when first starting a gut healing protocol, I always want to know what we can do food wise to save money and get holistic nutrition in the body. In my search for how to maintain a healthy gut, I stumbled upon digestive bitters.

What do digestive bitters do?

In our sugar and excitotoxic food dependence, we don’t think of bitter as a pleasant flavor and something to seek out. However, most other cultures around the world have a bitter food at least daily. They obviously know something we have forgotten in modern culture. Bitter foods stimulates the entire digestive system from our saliva being able to more effectively start the breakdown of carbohydrates, hydrochloric acid being pumped into our stomachs in appropriate amounts, and increases bile production. (source) (source)

The benefits of digestive bitters are pretty amazing and include:

  • Higher absorption of nutrition from our foods
  • Especially vitamins A, D, K, E and B12
  • Reduce incidences of heartburn
  • Increased fat digestion, which is particularly important for those who have had their gallbladders removed or are concerned about their gallbladder health
  • Cleansing of the liver
  • Reduction in gas, bloating, and constipation
  • Balancing blood sugar levels
  • Appetite regulation
  • Promotes healthy skin

Pretty awesome right?! Deficiencies in fat soluble nutrients, gallbladder issues, sluggish liver, constipation run pretty rampant these days. It’s nice to know we have a solution that doesn’t cause other health issues.

What are digestive bitters?

digestive bitters gut health

Digestive bitters are roots and plants that are bitter in flavor but are specifically known for aiding in digestion. Some you may have heard of, some you may not have.

List of bitter herbs you may have heard of are:

  • peppermint
  • chamomile
  • milk thistle
  • dandelion

Other bitter herbs include:

  • goldenseal
  • yarrow
  • wormwood
  • angelica
  • feverfew
  • and gentian

Peppermint and chamomile most of us know help ease digestive issues, and if you are into natural health at all, you’re probably aware of milk thistle and dandelion for liver cleansing. The second list is a bit more out of our modern day knowledge of herbal remedies. I find it all absolutely fascinating. Learn more about each digestive bitter over at Love To Know.

How to use digestive bitters

You can get digestive bitters in tonic form, teas, or in everyday foods like dark leafy greens. Everyday bitters include endive, chicory, arugula, radicchio, and dandelion greens. You don’t have to eat a salad of just these greens to benefit from them. You can add a little in for a bit of a peppery flavor along with your romaine, spinach, and baby greens.  You also have teas from Milk Thistle, Dandelion, Chamomile, and Peppermint you can consume. If you are looking for something more potent when constipated or experiencing stomach upset, I recommend a tonic like Urban Moonshine or Swedish Bitters. Follow the recommended dosages.*

*If you have any questions, please contact your Naturopathic Physician or holistic practitioner versed in digestive bitters and their uses. 

Have you or do you currently use digestive bitters? Let us know your experience below!

digestive bitters invaluable for gut health




17 thoughts on “Digestive Bitters: Invaluable For Gut Health”

  1. This is highly informative. Being of Jamaican descent, I am familiar with a few herbs for cleansing the gut area. I also used a couple of herbs from your list when healing from a recent operation. Great to know what else can be used.

    I love this site! A great resource!

  2. Thank you for sharing this article. I have used bitters in the past. They were made by a local botanist and sold at the farmers market. It took a little while for me to get used to the taste 🙂 I also drink diluted apple cider vinegar before meals to help with digestion. Still trying to get used to that taste too 🙂

    1. Marian Mitchell

      What I like about Urban moonshine is they come flavored which helps significantly. ACV is definitely another great way to get digestive juices going. There are a ton of options out there and it’s awesome! Bitter tonics should be used sparingly but everyday bitters rock!

  3. Thank you for sharing this knowledge and especially about how to use the bitters – the world of natural remedies always seems quite intimidating at first!

  4. I love eating bitter greens in my salads. I think I developed a taste for them in childhood. My mother used dandelion greens in our salads on a regular basis. I now think of bitter greens as a way to “jump-start” digestion!

  5. Kimberly @ Berly's Kitchen

    I love reading your posts! They always have great information. I had no idea there was such a thing as digestive bitters. This is something I need to keep handy because we have more than our fair share of gut issues.

  6. Mary Lou Lou Carswell

    I was diagnosed with sibo. I chose not to treat with antibiotic but to research how diet and supplements could balance my gut. This balancing included digestive bitters. After looking into a low fodmap diet and using a digestive bitters to aid in digestion as well as increase liver function, I no longer have Sibo symptoms. I feel 100 % better. I also include a daily probiotic and include bitter leafy greens often in my diet. I still refrain from eating a diet high in fodmaps and eat little gluten. I am able to eat some gluten as a result of the above and occasionally eat some high fodmap foods but small portions.
    I use Urban Moonshine citrus bitters and their healthy liver bitters.

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Hi friend!

I’m Marian Mitchell, Health Coach, Chronic Illness Warrior, Mom, and Food Lover. I help you navigate the food and lifestyle side of Chronic Disease Management with coaching, meal plans, recipes, podcast, and this blog. You can thrive without eating the same 4 things every day. I’m here to show you how.

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