“Happiness for me is largely a matter of digestion.”
― Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living
Heartburn, indigestion, constipation and bloating are all familiar – and uncomfortable – symptoms of sluggish digestion. Poor digestion is a too-common complaint among people of all ages and walks of life. But there’s a way to stimulate your digestion and address the underlying issues of digestive discomfort – naturally and simply.
Digestion is a cascade of physiological events that starts before you even put food in your mouth. That anticipatory “mouth watering” effect that happens before a delicious meal is your digestive process being sparked by sight and aroma!
Bitters provide a similar effect when taken before a meal. When we eat bitter foods, it stimulates specific receptors on the tongue that send messages to the brain, which prompts the release of a hormone known as “gastrin”, promoting the secretion of gastric acid.
Using traditional bitters strengthens digestion and helps to set its process in motion, with benefits including:
Reduce heartburn and indigestion
Contrary to popular belief, inadequate stomach acid production is often responsible for heartburn – not too much, and antacids can just exacerbate the issue. When there isn’t ample stomach acid, food is slower to break down and can sometimes back-up into the esophagus, causing “heartburn”. Bitters trigger the healthy production of stomach acid to sufficiently break down food and have been said to help tone the muscles at the bottom of the esophagus, discouraging reflux.
Lights your “digestive fire”
Bitters encourage the production of hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes and bile the crucial elements of the “digestive fire” or “agni” – an ayurvedic concept of digestive power. These secretions are all essential for breaking down and metabolizing our food, throughout the entire gastrointestinal tract.
Reduced sugar cravings
Bitters can help to cut back on sugar cravings, as the taste counters the brain receptors that encourage our sweet tooth.
Because of their actions on digestive enzymes, bitters – specifically preparations made from gentian root – have been found to be effective in boosting appetite.
Increased nutrient absorption
By promoting gastric juice secretion, appetite and general digestion – bitters aid your digestion in breaking down food and metabolizing nutrients from it!
Our Canadian Bitters contain a spectrum of many traditional, established natural bitters with a variety of other health-supporting properties:
- Globe artichoke has proven antioxidant, liver-protective, bile-enhancing and cholesterol-lowering activity
- Dandelion is helpful in treating digestive disturbances (dyspepsia) and increasing bile flow.
- Gentian is a quintessentially strong bitter that makes for an excellent appetite stimulant.
- Chamomile relaxes and tones the nervous system while soothing the gastrointestinal tract.
- Turmeric acts as a digestive stimulant and powerful anti-inflammatory
- Cardamom relieves gas and enhances the activity of trypsin, which relates to the digestion of protein.
- Burdock is used medicinally as a blood purifying herb, helping to stimulate the detoxifying systems of the body, removing its accumulated waste through the kidneys and other organs.
- Black walnut helps eliminate unwanted microbes from the large intestines, besides being antifungal and effective against dysentery.
- Ginger is a warming digestive stimulant and has superb anti-cramping and anti-inflammatory qualities, which makes it a classic, highly effective remedy against colic, nausea and any kind of stomach upset.
Canadian Bitters can be taken daily to help support and strengthen organs of digestion, as they are not habit-forming, like other laxative-heavy bitters formulas.
Adding bitters to your day is easy – simply take 1-1.5 ml (30-45 drops) 3 times daily, in a little water, on an empty stomach. Take 15-60 minutes before meals. They can also be added to cocktails, mocktails or a bit of natural juice to liven up the flavour – with added benefits.
Have questions? Just visit our Great Questions Answered page to learn more or to submit a question.
References available upon request.
A low-growing, daisy-like annual native to Europe and Asia and known to medicine from classical antiquity, chamomile is commonly found in overgrown fields. Its name is derived from the Greek word that means "earth apple" on account of the scent of its fresh blossoms.
For all the brilliant yellow profusion of its flowers, dandelion is a perennial plant so common and hardy that it is considered a weed throughout the northern hemisphere. Nonetheless, it has impressive healing properties, and there's a good reason why its Latin name means "remedy for disease."
A large tuberous perennial with yellow blossoms and narrow green leaves that stands about a metre high, ginger has its origins in southern Asia, but can now be found in nearly all tropical and subtropical countries.
Not to be confused with Jerusalem artichoke, which is a tuber, globe artichoke is a large thistle-like perennial native to the Mediterranean region, and its leaves have been used medicinally from ancient times.