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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. Sarah said…
    I stay away from dairy, gluten, and meat products and try to eat as few processed foods as possible.
  2. Elizabeth said…
    I try to kind to my digestive track by making sure it is cleaned out from time to time. I do my best to eat organic and local and you can't get more local than my own yard (first time yard owner/huge organic garden caretaker this year)! I am meat, gluten, dairy, egg, and soy free. I didn't start to eat this way to help my digestive track. It was more like my digestive track told me to. After years of suffering from gas, bloating, acne, weight gain, and depression I finally found the right healer who helped my find the cause. I still have issues with digestion because it seems that I lack some of the correct digestive juice action to make it happen. I've been trying to find a good bitter for a while and then I saw this post!
  3. Jody said…
    I stay away from milk - we just don't get along :)
  4. Trish said…
    I eat as little processed food as possible. I really do not take much in the way of supplements, as I feel many are overrated. I have been wanting to try some of these bitters, for those days when I overeat, or eat poorly.
  5. Eleanor said…
    I try to be kind to my digestion by eating as fresh and unprocessed as possible and regularly smoothing and juicing. Also I recently started taking these digestive bitter before heavy meals, or when eating foods that don't always jive too well with me for whatever reason and wow would I recommend them. I'll admit to hating the taste but it's completely worth it.
  6. Anna said…
    I find that the two key things are having my green juice in the morning and trying to be conscious about my stress. I try to avoid dairy, gluten, and red meat as well. Had some cheese today and it reminded me why I try to avoid it :) The biggest thing though is keeping my stress levels in check!!!!
  7. I would love to win Josh's Bitters! I try to be kind to your digestive tract by staying away from the foods I'm allergic to like gluten and dairy.
  8. I ‘Like’ this corresponding post on my Facebook page as
  9. Audrey Marsolais said…
    I went gluten, soy, dairy and sugar-free and avoid cold drinks, spicy food, additives, processed food, coffee. I try to make some breathing exercices everyday - it helps me a lot. I also have to avoid specific food like beets, strawberries, cabbage, chick peas... I tend to forget my probiotics but noticed it helps when I take it. Aloe juice and clay works good for me too. Oh, and I liked on FB, tweeted about it and pinned it:
  10. Maya said…
    I try to be kind to my digestive tract by making love in the kitchen. I love to cook and experiment with whole, clean foods. I eat well, making sure to stay away from processed foods, alcohol, caffeine and refined sugars. And of course, I am big on digestive enzymes, fermented veggies and probiotics. I also tweeted about this and liked on FB.

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

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