Bitters are a passion of mine, and you know this, dear friends, if you’ve visited with me for a while!
There are so many reasons to use bitters in our lives. I often share recipes using my favourite bitter greens ~ in pesto, stir-fries and herb pastes. I love to encourage ‘greens for breakfast’ too. Have you ever tried radicchio? So good. Here’s a post sharing 3 ways to make radicchio.
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½ c olive oil
- ¼-1/2 c Brazil nuts (high in selenium)
- 1 ½ c washed, chopped fresh dandelion greens
- ¾ c grated parmesan (or Romano, or similar) cheese
- Optional: lemon juice, substitute almonds or other nuts/seeds, Bragg’s liquid amino acids
- I have made this 2 ways. Either, toss everything into a food processor, blend and store in glass container OR
- very lightly sauté the dandelions in the oil, and then add to blender or food processor along with the remaining ingredients and process. Use immediately or store in fridge.
- This recipe also freezes well. I put portions into ice cube containers and keep for future use when dandelions are in season.
We can use bitters in our foods to stimulate digestion. That’s one fabulous benefit of ‘eating our bitters’.
Infused herbal potions were used by ancient civilizations and herbal elixirs made from specific bitter herbs have been an important part of many cultures for centuries. I wrote about Carmelite water, using lemon balm here. I have made dozens (if not more) bitter formulae and digestive cordials over the years. I never tire of experimenting. It’s a life-long herbal medicine/foodie fixation!
Research confirms that when we use bitter herbs, the ‘bitterness’ itself offers improved digestive ability and other health benefits too. I will be writing about some of these in detail, this month, but here’s a list of the highlights:
When we use bitters, we can:
- Soothe gas and bloating
- Promote digestive enzyme production, as well as bile and HCL*
- Settle heartburn discomfort
- Calm nausea and upset tummy
- Increase absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
- Support liver function and healthy skin
- Regulate bowel movements and ease constipation
- Relieve sugar cravings
- Balance appetite
- Stabilize blood sugar levels
*HCL = Hydrochloric acid is naturally occurring gastric stomach acid which promotes digestion
How does the bitter taste ‘work’ in our body?
When the tongue detects bitterness, it increases salivary secretions, which causes a cascade of digestive secretions from HCL to bile to pancreatic enzymes; and, as a result, promotes digestion. Increased bile production stimulates ‘elimination’. Bile is actually our ‘built in’ resident laxative! When our “plumbing is humming”, many of our body’s systems work better. All is connected!
If you have not become a possible fan of bitters, yet, after seeing the benefits above, I will be sharing some of my own favourite bitter remedies this month, and I hope you’ll try them and start to included more in your life!
Bitters are truly one of the most overlooked tastes in the ‘western world’ and our health has suffered as a culture. Let’s bring bitters back. Check out my upcoming posts, and join the “movement for more bitters”. ALWAYS good reasons to use bitters!
There’s always something new to learn — My goal is to share whatever I can ~ from my 20+ years of herbal studies ~ to help you and your family to live healthier lives..
~ green blessings.. Carol
p.s. If you are a fan of bitters, but don’t have the time to make your own, check out this wonderful company. Jovial King and Guido Mase are two delightful herbalists from Vermont. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing them for years and promise to share some of their info in coming posts.
Here’s one of my most favourite bitters ~ and it’s also ‘gluten free’! These folks definitely share good reasons to use bitters:
Urban Moonshine Organic Bitters Gluten Free Original 2 fl oz