What Are Digestive Bitters? The Best Brands And How To Use

POSTED ON

January 8, 2022

Digestive bitters are the perfect herbal companion to keep on hand for when your digestion and gut could use a little extra support. To start incorporating more into your life, follow this simple guide to learn more about how to use them, the possible benefits, and some helpful daily herbal rituals.

What Are Digestive Bitters? The Best Brands And How To Use

What Are Digestive Bitters? The Best Brands And How To Use

Whenever I am asked where to begin with incorporating more herbs and herbal practices into a daily wellness routine, I almost always begin by recommending herbal digestive bitters. They are one of the most accessible ways that I think most people can start an herbal wellness routine, and the variety of positive health benefits really are incredible.

Since herbal digestive bitters are something that I find myself recommending and explaining so often, I wanted to walk through just what they are exactly, the most common health benefits a person could potentially experience, and how to use them on a daily basis.

What Are Digestive Bitters? The Best Brands And How To Use

What Are Digestive Bitters?

Digestive bitters are a blend of plant-based herbs and roots that contain bitter compounds that are typically consumed as a liquid tincture either in alcohol or vinegar. Digestive bitters have a long history of being used in herbal medicine from Ayurvedic medicine in India to Chinese Medicine in Asia, and all the way to the Mediterranean. There they gained most of their more well-known notoriety for helping aid in digestion from Amari, the bitter aperitive liquor in Italy, to Swedish Bitters, the traditional herbal tonic in northern Europe.

Throughout history digestive bitters have become so commonly used because they tap into our bodies inherent response to bitter flavors that help to stimulate bitter taste receptors on the tongue, which then signal the brain to communicate to the digestive system to release digestive enzymes and juices in preparation for digestion. But these bitter receptors aren’t only located within our digestive system, in fact they can be found throughout the body, which makes the consumption of bitter flavors one that is thought to be positive for helping to support healthy skin, liver and digestive function, all of which are essential for helping us feel our best.*

What Are Digestive Bitters? The Best Brands And How To Use

Urban Moonshine Digestive Bitters

While there are many ways that you could make digestive bitters at home, even as an herbalist I choose to buy all of my digestive bitters from Urban Moonshine, and I have been for close to six years now (well before we ever had a partnership together). I personally love everything about this company from their local Vermont and herbalism-based roots, to the way they prioritize education and sustainability in everything they do, which is why I now have my whole family hooked on their digestive bitters and recommend the products to most people I know.

Their Chamomile Digestive Bitters were also one of the only products that was able to help calm some of the morning sickness I experienced in my pregnancy and also would calm the heartburn I felt later on!*

Note for expecting mamas! The Chamomile Digestive Bitters from Urban Moonshine have been formulated to be used during pregnancy, but you should always consult your personal midwife or OBGYN before making any changes during your pregnancy.

What Are Digestive Bitters? The Best Brands And How To Use

Benefits Of Digestive Bitters

There are many benefits of taking digestive bitters and each person is going to respond slightly differently, but the following are some of the most common reasons people include digestive bitters into their daily routine.

Digestion

Optimized digestion is the most well-known benefit of taking digestive bitters. Use them before or after a meal to help support digestion and relieve gas, bloating, and heartburn. *

Morning Sickness/Nausea

If you have ever experienced occasional morning sickness then you know that it is not fun and can feel never ending. Digestive bitters can help calm the stomach with aromatic herbs like ginger and fennel and can help can help relieve symptoms of occasional nausea.

Heartburn

At the bottom of our throats is a valve that when loose can allow stomach acid to splash up into the esophagus causing heartburn. Digestive bitters can while the stomach and digestive tract, which can reduce occasional heartburn that occurs after eating. *

Natural Detoxification

Digestive bitters have been traditionally to support our bodies natural gentle detoxification process through the liver by stimulating the liver to function at its most optimal. Our bodies already have everything they needs to clear toxins naturally (no matter what trendy detox diet the media may be selling you on) and all we need to do is know how we can help support that process.*

What Are Digestive Bitters? The Best Brands And How To Use

How To Use Digestive Bitters

There are so many different ways that you can use digestive bitters on a daily basis, but my personal favorite is to try and find a routine that works best for your lifestyle and your body.

For example, if you find that you often experience indigestion after eating, then taking bitters before your meals may be a good place to begin. Luckily, there really isn’t any one right way to take digestive bitters, and I would recommend just to start with a practice that feels simple and intuitive to you. As you get used to using them in your daily life you will begin to notice where you find the most benefit and will be able to develop a personal herbal wellness ritual that works for your body.

I know that for myself I ALWAYS have my bitters on me when traveling to help encourage relief of bloating/indigestion, and during the holidays when I may be eating foods that aren’t a normal part of my daily diet.*

What Are Digestive Bitters? The Best Brands And How To Use
tea scene on a wood background
Urban Moonshine herbal setup

My Daily Digestive Bitters Wellness Ritual

Digestive bitters are one of the few herbal rituals that I turn to for support almost every day and all year long whether I am home or traveling. For me personally I have seen such an improvement in bloating and heartburn after a day of travel or maybe a little too much indulging. I also find that when my digestion is functioning at its best I feel more energized and more focused throughout the day, which is why digestive bitters have made their way into my daily wellness ritual and are absolutely here to stay.*

 AM Morning Wellness Ritual

While I would LOVE to share some long and relaxing morning routine with you all, that really has never been realistic for me, and I don’t think really is for most people. What I have found is that a short but more intentional morning wellness ritual is what works best for me, and is what I can consistently stick too with any sense of consistency (which I think is the most important part!)

  • 6:00-6:30AM Wake Up
  • 6:30AM Grind coffee beans (we always opt for organic and fair/direct trade) and boil water for my morning French press coffee
  • 6:35 Pour a cup of boiling water with a slice of lemon and a tsp of honey + 1 dropper of digestive bitters (the maple is especially amazing in the cooler months!)
  • 6:40 Do a few hip opening yoga stretches while my coffee steeps (I always wake up with very tight hips and this really helps me feel more energized!)
  • 6:45 Pour coffee, foam some oat milk (my favorite), and top with a little cinnamon
  • 6:45-7:15 AM Meditate and read my latest book for 30 minutes, sometimes I will write a few thoughts down in my journal.
  • 7:15AM Morning Workout
  • 8:00AM Shower and get dressed. I work from home everyday and NEED to get dressed to feel productive
  • 8:30AM Start work!
Urban Moonshine tea scene

So much of supporting our own personal well-being is about learning how to lean into the practices and tools that feel easy and intuitive to us, and if herbal bitters happen to be one of those tools for you then I encourage you to lean into them and find a practice that feels most supportive and helpful to you.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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Meet Meg
Mom to a happy baby girl, and registered dietitian specializing in prenatal, postpartum, and infant wellness. My passion for supporting moms and babies began more than a decade ago, but nothing made me more committed to helping moms and babies thrive than going through my own pregnancy and postpartum journey.

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Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means that I will receive a small commission (at no additional expense to you) if you make a purchase through one of my links. I only share products and resources I truly love and use in my own life.

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