Herbal Bitters Recipe

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Herbal Bitters Recipe

Half of my kitchen counter is covered in all sorts of herbal bitters concoctions. 

It's official, I am obsessed! 

Herbal bitters are the new black in the herbal world and the recipes coming from herbalists are creative and complex! You can even share your own herbal bitters recipe here.

Digestive Bitters

The bitter taste, while often scorned, is making a comeback! 

While the standard western diet has done its best to remove all bitter flavor, we now know that tasting bitter foods and substances has a range of health benefits ranging from supporting digestion to boosting immunity. 

And, once you acquire a taste for bitter there is no going back! Meals lacking bitter tastes become bland and too one-dimensional. 

Check out the resources section at the end of this article for more information about the health benefits of bitters. 

Digestive Bitters With Inulin

Besides boasting herbal bitters, this recipe also includes inulin - a starchy substance that is food to the healthy flora in your gut. 

Both elecampane root and dandelion roots are high in inulin. (See my full article on elecampane uses here)

Fermented foods, pro-biotics and general microbiome research is all the rage these days. Inulin, sometimes called a pre-biotic, is a powerful way to fuel your healthy gut flora. 

If you make your own concoctions, using fresh roots harvested in the fall will probably get you more inulin. You'll notice it as a thick white substance in the bottom of your jar. Don't filter this out! 

Some people may experience increased gas and bloating when taking inulin, though I doubt there's enough in this particular blend to cause many people problems. 

Orange elecampane Bitters recipe

Orange and Elecampane Herbal Bitters Recipe

I've been inspired to make herbal bitters featuring only local plants or with only tropical plants and everything in between. 

This is one of my favorite herbal bitters recipe. The orange blends well with the pungent bitterness of the elecampane root while the ginger and pepper give it a little spice. 

Place the roots, minced ginger, licorice, cloves and pepper in a quart sized jar. 

Cut up a whole orange and add it to the jar. 

Slice open the vanilla bean pod and then mince it finely and add to the jar. 

Fill the jar with brandy or vodka. Cover and shake well. 

Keep this on your counter, shaking occasionally. Taste it from time to time and strain when desired. I thought mine was best after about two weeks. 

This will keep indefinitely. 

How to Use Your Digestive Bitters

These bitters can be consumed before meals. You could take drops straight from the tincture bottle or dilute it a bit in water. 

I like to add a spoonful or two to sparkling water. 

Dosage is highly variable here. The most important thing is to taste the bitters. 15-30 drops or a half to one full teaspoon should do it. 

Digestive Bitters Recipe

Bitters FAQs

Will I be able to leap buildings in a single bound the day I start taking bitters? 

Bitters can help with acute digestive problems such as bloating. However, the magic of bitters is best experienced by taking them daily over a period of time. Consider this a lifetime habit! 

Do I have to drink alcohol to get the benefits of bitters? 

Bitter is bitter is bitter. Alcohol is not a necessary part of bitters. Eating bitter foods or trying a recipe like this can all be ways to get more bitters in your life.

Can I take bitters after a meal?


Where can I get the herbs in this herbal bitters recipe?

I buy most of my herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs. Using links in this article supports this website. Thank you! 

Where can I get your cute corked bottle?

I bought it from Mountain Rose Herbs.

I don't have ______ herb. Can I substitute _______? 

Sure. Herbal bitters recipes can be fun experiments. If you are new to making your own formulas you might want to make smaller batches to get the hang of things. 

How do I measure in grams? 

You get a relatively inexpensive kitchen scale. Read more about why I measure in grams here. 

This herbal bitters recipe doesn't need to be exact. You'll probably make a great recipe just eyeballing it. 

Will licorice root give me high blood pressure and destroy my kidneys?

Taking licorice frequently in high amounts can cause some people to temporarily have high blood pressure. Most severe issues with licorice actually come from people eating large amounts of black licorice candy. 

The amount of licorice in this recipe should not be a problem for most people. 

You can read more about licorice root here

References and Additional Resources

Blessed Bitters by jim mcdonald

Bitter Herbs for Better Digestion by Natalie Vickery

The Wild Medicine Solution by Guido Masé

Bitter: A Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes by Jennifer McLagan


Have Your Own Great Herbal Bitters Recipe?

What's your favorite herbal bitters recipe? Share your own recipe here and be featured on this site!


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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