Question? What do these two herbs have in common?
Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
How does this one differ?
Angelica and Chamomile are both in the category of herbal properties known as Aromatic Bitters. Dandelion is a Nutritive Bitter.
You got it,
adding Bitters to your diet is Februarys challenge!
Bitter herbs are one of herbal medicine’s great contributions to our health. Bitters can serve as amazingly effective digestive aids, replacing harmful OTC antacids that do nothing but mask and deepen symptoms. Bitters help the body produce its own digestive juices which enhance our ability to absorb nutrients from our foods. Bitters begin their work the moment they touch your tongue. Their bitter nature stimulates the stomach, the liver, the gallbladder and the pancreas to begin secreting vital digestive components used to assimilate nutrients in the body, such as bile, gastric juices and insulin. The liver's ability to eliminate toxins is also enhanced. They also increase absorption of nutrients by supporting the processes that breakdown and absorb nutrients. Bitters can have a mood stabilizing/"antidepressant" effect by increasing the production of mood related hormones by the enteric nervous system in the gut. The strong flavor is often attributed to a “bitter principle,” which can be a volatile oil, an alkaloid, an iridoid, or a sesquiterpene.
One way to get our bitters is to eat a diet rich in bitter greens, such as kale, mustard greens, collards or endive, and olives. This will help but still may not provide for our "daily minimum requirement" of bitters, because store-bought greens are cultivated for a bland sweet (nutritive) taste. Wild greens such as dandelion greens, plantain, dock, mallow or sow thistle are better.
While you can find bitters in capsule formula, to receive full benefit you want to be able to taste the bitterness...so food or traditional tincture form work the best. There are many variations of formulas available, and often you can find an herbalist who will make a customized bitters tonic tailored to your specific needs.
One of our best sellers at Blazing Star Herbal School is our Bitters Blend (availiable here)
While adding Bitters to your diet will improve your digestion there are more steps you can take. Here are some suggestions by Christopher Hobbs
Key Steps to Improving Digestion
- Building Strong Digestion
- Exercise in the morning before eating
- Chew food well
- Never eat while tired or upset
- Happy, positive thoughts while eating
- Never eat too late at night-- give the digestion a good rest each night
- Eat slowly
- Never overeat--always undereat slightly
- Take a walk after dinner
- Never combine sweet fruits and cooked protein
- Get a variety of flavors at each meal
- Eat whole food, reduce refined foods
- Take your bitters!
- Good Elimination
- Don't eat too early in the morning or too late at night
- Take time for a mid-day "movement"
- Keep your feet up on a small stool during elimination
- Drink enough water (at least 4 glasses a day)
- Eat a raw salad every day with a variety of vegetables
- Walk every day and breathe deeply
- Use bowel tonic herbs where needed
- Take your bitters!
I like to take my bitters in a little water 20-30 minutes before a meal. What is your favorite bitter herb? and how do you like to use it?
It is not too late to join this year long health challenge. I am happy to send you the Health Challenge button if you are interested in joining us. Here is the link to the first month. In order to participate comment by saying! "I am on the road to better health!" and begin the challenge. At the end of the month let us know if you have experienced and health changes and start on the next months challenge and so on. At the end of 12 months I will put all monthly participants name in a hat and draw a prize! So the more months you participate in the better your chance of winning. Prize yet to be decided!