Years ago, at the recommendation of my TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine) practitioner, I began using digestive bitters as a means to ease the digestive discomfort experienced during periods of prolonged travel. Bitters were especially paramount to my well-being during a summer-long trip to Southest Asia, and another spent backpacking through Costa Rica. Still to this day, I won't even leave the house without them. And recently, after a nudge from my very knowledgable herbalist friends at Urban Moonshine, I've now begun implementing bitters into my day-to-day regime. With wild success. My skin is clearer, my energy elevated, and I very, very rarely experience any stomach discomfort.
WHAT ARE BITTERS?
Bitters are the plant extracts of aromatic herbs, barks, roots, and fruit that, upon ingestion, stimulate the digestive system and the release of critical digestive enzymes and stomach acids. They are, as the name implies, bitter to the taste.
WHY TAKE BITTERS?
For much of human history, our diets were heavy in bitter foods - bitter greens, herbs, roots, and barks. Yet today, we've almost entirely stripped our diets of bitter-tasting foods in exchange for more pleasantly-flavored fare: the sweet, salty, and processed. This makes supplementing with digestive bitters all the more important, as this shift away from bitter foods has created a massive rise in digestive issues.
Bitters excite, engage, and awaken the digestive system, preparing it for the hard work of breaking down a meal. The vast majority of us suffer from sluggish, imbalanced digestion and experience bloating, gas, nausea, heartburn, indigestion, constipation, fatigue, etc. after a meal more often that we probably even realize. It's become such a commonplace symptom in our culture. Digestive bitters, taken before and after a meal, stimulate the digestive system so as to minimize (and in my experience, completely eliminate) any discomfort. Food is more easily broken down, and nutrients are better assimilated.
I have long been in the habit of taking bitters while traveling, when out to eat, or if experiencing any digestive upset. (I swear by them for anything stomach related - hangovers, food poisoning, the flu, whatever.) But as of late, I've been adding a splash of bitters to my usual warmed water with lemon each morning, and then taking a dose before each meal. In this way, I'm continuing to strengthen my digestive system, increase my natural digestive enzyme production, and elevate my overall health.
Aside from the obvious digestive benefits, bitters are incredibly nourishing for the body as a whole.
- Support liver function and detoxification
- Enhance the clarity, glow, and health of skin
- Balance blood sugar levels
- Ease morning sickness
- Curb cravings and balance appetite
- Support balanced cholesterol levels
- Elevate immunity
HOW TO USE
Bitters are best taken before meals, and can be used up to six times per day. About ¼ teaspoon is all you need. I usually add this to a bit of water to dilute because, you know, they taste kind of bitter, but feel free to simple drop them on your tongue.
Though the most bitter tasting, Urban Moonshine's Original Bitters are my favorite for every day use, as they are the most potent. I turn to the Chamomile Bitters when I feel nauseous, as these are specifically designed for those moments, along with morning sickness. The Liver Bitters are best when I feel I need a little extra detoxification support, especially in way of my skin. The travel spray doesn't leave my purse. And for those just easing into bitters, I love the Citrus Bitters and Maple Bitters for their sweeter, more mild taste (also more child appropriate!).
Needless to say, I am so thrilled to be able to gift one of you a medley of my favorite Urban Moonshine bitters! To enter the giveaway, simply head to my Instagram and, after you make sure you're following me, 'like' my post, and tag a wellness-loving friend or three . The winner will be announced this Friday, 9/22.
Also! Would love to hear from you - do any of you use digestive bitters as well? Let me know by leaving a comment below. xx