when the longest coldest winter
finally lets go
and the first purple crocus
pokes up through the snow
all the world can go to hell
if i’m right with you
then all is well
~Ani Di Franco
Notes on Bitters
I love bitters!
Bitters are incredibly helpful for the digestion process.
I would say 90% of the western diet needs more bitters.
Bitters are mostly cooling and have a downward energy in the body, meaning that they help things move down.
They’re herbs that are characterized by their bitter principal and stimulating saliva and all other digestive secretions including bile, stomach acid, and pancreatic enzymes.
In an ideal world, you’re taking a digestive bitters formula 15 minutes before you have a meal. This is especially beneficial before a big protein meal.
Protein digestion happens in the stomach so you want nice strong stomach acid which again, bitters help stimulate the production of
It’s a way to signal to your body “hey there’s gonna be some food arriving soon. Let’s get a Headstart with a little pre-party”
They really help regulate the nervous system in that way as well- because the nervous system and the digestive system are very intricately involved
As I just mentioned, they stimulate digestive secretions, they have liver detox effects & regulate blood sugar regulating insulin and glucagon.
There are just so many benefits
And, a lot of bitters are just your common weeds, which I love. Because they’re not that hard to get, they’re not endangered, and you can probably walk outside and find some
Some really great, common bitters that are normally in bitter formulas include:
Bitters each have some different special powers
For instance, yellow dock is specifically good for people who leans towards constipation and also had an iron deficiency. It has an affinity for helping the body retain iron, which is very important for healthy blood
Gentian, on the other hand, is considered to be a much stronger, for someone who needs more digestive support
There are some bitters that are also a little bit more warming, which helps expel air out of the lower half
Combining cooling and warming bitters are really great.
Some warming bitters would be:
There are a few people that these herbs would be contra indicated for. Mostly people with GERD aka acid reflux- due to HYPERchlorhydria.
To be honest, there are more cases of people having acid reflux because of hypochlorhydria- not enough stomach acid, because they are eating processed foods, under excessive stress, or taking medications like PPIs or tums that purposely minimize HCL. So don’t assume that if you have heartburn it’s because of excess stomach acid. That’s not necessarily the case. If this is the case, bitters are OK
Also people with gastric ulcers should probably not have them because it might cause some irritation
Bitters work best in a synergistic formula. Certain there is work really well with others.
There are two companies that I recommend for your bitter formulas
One, that is really well known is called urban moonshine. It’s an all women owned and run company out of Vermont, and all they really do our bitters.
I also have a friend who is an herbalist who makes a beautiful bitter formula, also female owned, and a small business. I’m currently taking her bitters. Her name is Deva and her company is called saoirse pronounce shur shuh, i think.