- Rachelle Robinett, registered herbalist, educator, and founder of Supernatural
No one digests and absorbs 100 percent of their food. "Because you take herbal bitters before a meal, they can help your body produce more of its own digestive juices like stomach acids and digestive enzymes," to ensure that the gut microbiome has all the things that it needs to be primed and ready for optimal processing when eating, says Robinett. Since digestive bitters are made using a combination of bitter herbs, spices, and plants, they have been used for thousands of years, around the world, as a great natural way to help support your body's own mechanisms and help them function at top form.
When thinking of the word "bitter," it is often instinct to associate it with "bad," but that couldn't be further from the truth. Plants like mustard greens and broccoli rabe, both have a naturally bitter taste, but that means that they can be used medicinally, says Robinett. "When we taste bitter flavors on our tongue, there are receptors throughout our body—all the way from our digestive tract to our lungs—that register that we've had bitters," and prompt the body to get digestion going and prepare to receive and process food.
This recipe for DIY herbal bitters to improve digestion includes catalyzing ingredients as well as some carminatives that can help combat gas.
DIY herbal bitters
1 quart vodka
Dried orange peel
Fresh ginger, chopped
1. Add all dry elements to a large mason jar
2. Fill to the top with vodka
3. Let the mixture sit for 4-6 weeks, shaking the jar often
4. After 4-6 weeks, strain the liquid, then add back to your mason jar or a dropper bottle
5. The serving size is flexible: about 1/2 tsp or a splash. Have a few times a day before meals to aid digestion.
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