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Use This Heal That: The Medicine Is In The Bitter- Win Some!


Written by Josh Gitalis. 

Everything begins and ends in the digestive tract.

If the digestive system is not fully functional, every single process in the body is affected. This is why it is so important to “be kind” to your digestive tract and not stress it too much.

Things that stress the digestive tract are:

  • Overeating
  • Processed and refined foods
  • Cold beverages, soft drinks, alcohol
  • Stress
  • Poor food combining
  • Caffeine
  • Low fibre diet
  • Smoking
  • Food allergies and sensitivities
  • Chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, BPA, heavy metals)

What's our fave remedy?

Over here, we're digging on the Digestive Bitters. They actually help the body to do what the body is supposed to do!

The use of herbal bitters has been an integral part of almost every cultural tradition in the world. Used as an aperitif to stimulate gastric juices, these mixtures tonify the digestive system in preparation for mealtime. Individuals who have trouble with flatulent dyspepsia—gas, burping, bloating and indigestion—will benefit from this formula. In addition, this combination wonderfully stimulates agnivardhana - the Ayurvedic term for digestive “fire”, a quality that diminishes with age.

  • Globe artichoke– Herbalist Kerry Bone classes globe artichoke as a bitter tonic, useful for dyspepsia and its associated symptoms, such as constipation, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, belching and fat intolerance. One clinical trial confirmed improved digestion, noting that artichoke improved the assimilation of fat due to insufficient bile secretions.
  • Dandelion– Eclectic physicians like John M. Scudder, M.D. praised this lowly weed for its “stimulant influence upon the entire gastro-intestinal tract”.
  • Gentian– With its unparalleled bitterness, Gentian represents the standard in digestives. No doubt this inspired herbalist Mrs. Maude Grieve to state emphatically that gentian is “unrivalled as a stomachic tonic.” Eclectic physicians Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D. and John Uri Lloyd, Pharm. D., Ph. D. explain further that gentian should be used “where the powers of life are depressed and recovery depends upon (the) ability to assimilate food.”
  • Fennel– The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeialists dyspepsia as a traditional indication for fennel.
  • Chamomile– “As a popular remedy, (chamomile) may be thought of as the European counterpart of ginseng,” writes Varro Tyler, as quoted by herbalist Steven Foster. “The Germans describe it asalles  zutraut– ‘capable of anything’,” Tyler adds. The great German herbalist and physician Rudolph Fritz Weiss, M.D. asserts that “patients with chronic stomach complaints would greatly benefit from” chamomile.
  • Turmeric– Classified as a stomachic in Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is traditionally used for poor digestion. In the Western tradition, turmeric is additionally classed as an aromatic digestive stimulant.
  • Burdock root– Eclectic physicians used burdock to aid digestion. Finley Ellingwood, M.D., for example, writes that, “Its influence upon the mucous membranes of the stomach encourages normal … secretion and promotes digestion.”
  • Black walnut– The hulls are very bitter in taste. Alma Hutchens explains that black walnut hulls are “highly extolled as a remedy in the treatment of bilious and cramp colic.” She adds “flatulence” as the clinical indication.
  • Cardamom– The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia gives “flatulent dyspepsia” as a specific indication for cardamom. Cardamom is pleasant tasting and, as a “warming” herb, counteracts the “cooling” nature of bitter digestives.
  • Ginger– In most traditional systems of medicine, including the Ayurvedic and the Chinese, ginger is standard as an aid for the digestion.
  • American calamus– Eclectic physicians favoured this medicine for “cases of flatulent colic, atonic dyspepsia, (and) feebleness of the digestive organs”.
Booyeah! This Sh!t is powerful!!!

According to your friendly neighbourhood therapeutic and evidence based nutritionist, Josh, digestive bitters are extremely important for maintaining abundant health because:

"Herbal bitters are an extremely valuable aid in maintaining good health. By enhancing secretions of the liver, pancreas, stomach, and small intestine, they revitalize a whole range of digestive functions, providing rich enzyme catalysts, which improve nutrient absorption."


Question of the Day: How do YOU try to be kind to your digestive tract? 

38 Responses to “Use This Heal That: The Medicine Is In The Bitter- Win Some!”

  1. Hayley said…
    I take probiotics, get tons of fibre, and avoid processed food. Tweet: Pin:
  2. Deborah said…
    I eat whole foods and try to avoid all processed foods. I take probiotics and eat lots of ginger and turmeric. I don't eat wheat or really very much of any grains other than tiny amounts of quinoa and brown rice.
  3. cathy devos said…
    That's "tract Josh", not "track".... I try to chew my food really well and eat relaxed... don't drink too much while eating... c
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Thanks for pointing that out- wasn't Josh's doing (that man knows his spelling!) but rather ours. All fixed now :)
  4. Danielle said…
    I tweeted today's tweet! To help digestion I... minimize caffeine, eat unprocessed, whole REAL foods. Chew! Enjoy food and get lots of rest. Exercise regularly! Lots of yoga twists.
  5. Deborah said…
    p.s. I tried to 'pin' it but it said there were no pinnable pictures on the page :-(
  6. Shannon C said…
    I'm kind to my digestive track by: eating a plant based diet and eating as little processed food as I can, preparing my own foods as much as I can, eliminating chemical filled soft drinks from my diet and opting for juice I make myself, and eliminating refined sugars. As a result, I've noticed a HUGE difference in how I feel. I'm regular and that is oh so lovely. I'm also more aware with my body's signals - if I eat something that I shouldn't have, my body is quick to respond. It pays to be kind :)
  7. Amanda M said…
    I try not to eat processed foods.
  8. Gabby Ouimet said…
    I treat my stomach well by avoiding animal products and gluten, eating whole, unprocessed, alkalizing foods, minimizing caffeine, taking probiotics and drinking warm lemon water in the morning :)
  9. Gabby Ouimet said…
    Here's my pinterest link:
  10. Gabby Ouimet said…
    here's my tweet:

Before you post your comment, please note that I am unable to offer nutritional advice or recommendations via my blog.

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