Digestive bitters have been gaining popularity in recent years as a natural remedy for various digestive issues, including bloating, gas, and indigestion. But what exactly are digestive bitters, and are they really as healthy as they claim to be?
Digestive bitters are herbal tinctures made from bitter-tasting plants and herbs such as dandelion, gentian, and artichoke. The bitter compounds found in these plants are believed to stimulate the digestive system, increase the production of digestive juices and enzymes, and promote overall digestive health.
While the use of digestive bitters dates back to ancient times, the modern revival of this traditional remedy can be attributed to the growing interest in natural and holistic approaches to health and wellness. But with so many different brands and varieties of digestive bitters on the market, it can be hard to know which ones are worth trying and which ones are just hype.
In this blog post, we will take a closer look at what digestive bitters are, how they work, and their potential health benefits. We’ll also explore some of the common misconceptions surrounding digestive bitters and provide some tips on how to choose the right product for your needs. So whether you’re a seasoned user of digestive bitters or just curious about this natural remedy, read on to learn more.
What Are Digestive Bitters?
Bitters are crafted with the aim of stimulating the taste buds to produce more saliva to aid the digestive system, as saliva plays a critical role in breaking down food. These days, bitters are commonly incorporated into cocktails like Aperol spritz or Negroni, which are classified as apéritifs and are intended to be consumed before meals to promote digestion.
Digestive bitters contain similar components. Typically available in a bottle, digestive bitters are composed of an alcohol or vinegar base and often feature a combination of herbs and roots such as burdock root, dandelion, bitter melon, and wormwood.
The number of digestive bitters ingested varies depending on the product, and it is consumed by placing a few drops or sprays onto the tongue. As the name suggests, digestive bitters have an intensely bitter taste, which is even more pronounced when taken in its pure form compared to when mixed with a beverage.
Are Digestive Bitters Healthy?
The reason why people take digestive bitters is to aid their digestion and help mitigate symptoms of indigestion. A 2021 review of studies on Nutrients found that bitters can help with regulating hormones related to gut health and can increase gut motility (i.e., how foods move through our digestive system). Bitters may also help reduce stomach acid in the esophagus, which in turn can ease symptoms of indigestion like bloating and heartburn. Some evidence suggests that taking digestive bitters may help support weight loss, but more research is needed to support this claim.
However, consuming bitters when you don’t have digestive issues may actually lead to digestive problems. This includes acid reflux, nausea, and an upset stomach. So digestive bitters shouldn’t be casually added to your daily routine if you don’t need any relief from digestive distress.
Plus, if you have any existing conditions like diabetes or illnesses that affect your gallbladder, kidneys, or liver, it is not recommended that you take digestive bitters. Bitters contain alcohol, so also avoid it if you are pregnant or nursing.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking to support your gut health, there are various foods you can eat that help support digestion without the need to take digestive bitters. Digestive bitters should be treated just like any other over-the-counter remedy or supplement, and they can be beneficial in more severe cases of indigestion. Talk to your healthcare provider before trying them out, especially if you are taking other medications.