Bitter herbs are often powerful ways to support healthy digestion! 

Do you have bitter deficiency syndrome? 

While the bitter taste is often the most disliked taste, it is one of the most important tastes for promoting healthy digestion. 

Herbalist James Green may have been the first to coin the term “bitter deficiency syndrome” to describe the many common digestive complaints that are caused by a lack of bitters in a person’s diet. Because people often don’t love the bitter taste it gets taken out of their life, to the detriment of their digestion!

The herbal world is currently going through a bitter resurgence and this once despised taste is all the rage right now.

It’s easy to think of the bitter taste as simply a sensation on our tongue, but bitter taste receptors are found throughout our entire digestive tract. More than a simple taste sensation, the bitter taste influences many different parts of digestion. 

Here are just a few ways that bitters support healthy digestion:

  1. The bitter taste on our tongue stimulates the secretion of saliva, which aids carbohydrate consumption. 

  2. Further down the digestive tract, bitters increase HCL secretion, an important stomach enzyme that breaks down proteins and helps extract nutrients from foods. A lack of HCL has been attributed to heart burn, stomach ulcers, nutrient deficiencies and food intolerances. 

  3. The bitter taste has a strong influence on liver and gallbladder functions. It causes bile formation in the liver as well as bile secretion by the gallbladder. Bile is crucial for the digestion of fats and oils. 

The bitter taste also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and promotes the release of pancreatic digestive enzymes. 

  4. The bitter taste also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and promotes the release of pancreatic digestive enzymes. 

If you’re interested in making your own herbal bitters, check out my Herbal Bitters e-book, which includes 12 Recipes to Strengthen Your Digestion.

Rosalee is an herbalist and author of the bestselling book Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods & Remedies That Healand co-author of the bestselling book Wild Remedies: How to Forage Healing Foods and Craft Your Own Herbal Medicine. She's a registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild and has taught thousands of students through her online courses. Read about how Rosalee went from having a terminal illness to being a bestselling author in her full story here.  

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