How to Make a Homemade Digestive Bitter
Fire Up Your Digestion With These 6 Herbs and Spices
By Tiffany La Forge
Your body naturally produces acid, bile, and enzymes to help break down what you eat so you can absorb nutrients, but there are also some times our digestive system needs a little support. In comes: bitter herbs — or more popularly known as bitters.
You may have noticed them mentioned in cocktails, but these concoctions were originally used as a digestion aid.
Shown to facilitate stomach acid, certain bitter herbs can help make the digestion process smoother on your body.
So if you're feeling a little uncomfortable around the belt (you know: bloating, gas, indigestion, constipation — which can be a result of anything from stress to age, overeating or poor diet), bitters might give your sluggish system a jolt.
- 1 ounce dried gentian root
- 1/2 ounce dried dandelion root
- 1/2 ounce dried wormwood
- 1 tsp. dried orange peel
- 1/2 tsp. dried ginger
- 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
- 8 ounces alcohol (recommended: 100 proof vodka or SEEDLIP's Spice 94, a nonalcoholic option)
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a mason jar and pour alcohol on top.
2. Seal tightly and store the bitters in a cool, dark place.
3. Let the bitters infuse until the desired strength is reached, about 2-4 weeks. Shake the jars regularly (about once per day).
4. When ready, strain the bitters through a muslin cheesecloth or coffee filter. Store the strained bitters in an airtight container at room temperature.
To use: Take a few drops of this digestive bitters 15-20 minutes before or after your meal, taken straight or mixed into water.
Are there any concerns or health reasons someone shouldn't be taking these bitters?
Stimulating stomach acids isn't advisable with acid reflux, ulcers or other gastric conditions. As with any diagnosed digestive disorder, don't use bitters as a replacement for medical treatment or in addition to a prescribed medical therapy.
Only use for prevention and for acute situations, and always seek a medical professional's advice before initiating any new home or natural remedy, especially with children, or during pregnancy and lactation. Also, if alcohol is an issue, try an alcohol-free version.Katherine Marengo, LDN, RD
Medically reviewed by Katherine Marengo, LDN, RD
Tiffany La Forge is a professional chef, recipe developer, and food writer who runs the blog Parsnips and Pastries.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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By D. André Green II
One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Millions of People Care About Monarchs<p>I will never forget the sights and sounds the first time I visited monarchs' overwintering sites in Mexico. Our guide pointed in the distance to what looked like hanging branches covered with dead leaves. But then I saw the leaves flash orange every so often, revealing what were actually thousands of tightly packed butterflies. The monarchs made their most striking sounds in the Sun, when they burst from the trees in massive fluttering plumes or landed on the ground in the tussle of mating.</p><p>Decades of educational outreach by teachers, researchers and hobbyists has cultivated a generation of monarch admirers who want to help preserve this phenomenon. This global network has helped restore not only monarchs' summer breeding habitat by planting milkweed, but also general pollinator habitat by planting nectaring flowers across North America.</p><p>Scientists have calculated that restoring the monarch population to a stable level of about 120 million butterflies will require <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12198" target="_blank">planting 1.6 billion new milkweed stems</a>. And they need them fast. This is too large a target to achieve through grassroots efforts alone. A <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/CCAA.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new plan</a>, announced in the spring of 2020, is designed to help fill the gap.</p>
Pros and Cons of Regulation<p>The top-down strategy for saving monarchs gained energy in 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/petition/monarch.pdf" target="_blank">proposed</a> listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A decision is expected in December 2020.</p><p>Listing a species as endangered or threatened <a href="https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf" target="_blank">triggers restrictions</a> on "taking" (hunting, collecting or killing), transporting or selling it, and on activities that negatively affect its habitat. Listing monarchs would impose restrictions on landowners in areas where monarchs are found, over vast swaths of land in the U.S.</p><p>In my opinion, this is not a reason to avoid a listing. However, a "threatened" listing might inadvertently threaten one of the best conservation tools that we have: public education.</p><p>It would severely restrict common practices, such as rearing monarchs in classrooms and back yards, as well as scientific research. Anyone who wants to take monarchs and milkweed for these purposes would have to apply for special permits. But these efforts have had a multigenerational educational impact, and they should be protected. Few public campaigns have been more successful at raising awareness of conservation issues.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="91165203d4ec0efc30e4632a00fdf57d"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KilPRvjbMrA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
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A Model for Collaboration<p>This agreement could be one of the few specific interventions that is big enough to allow researchers to quantify its impact on the size of the monarch population. Even if the agreement produces only 20% of its 2.3 million acre goal, this would still yield nearly half a million acres of new protected habitat. This would provide a powerful test of the role of declining breeding and nectaring habitat compared to other challenges to monarchs, such as climate change or pollution.</p><p>Scientists hope that data from this agreement will be made publicly available, like projects in the <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/MCD.html" target="_blank">Monarch Conservation Database</a>, which has tracked smaller on-the-ground conservation efforts since 2014. With this information we can continue to develop powerful new models with better accuracy for determining how different habitat factors, such as the number of milkweed stems or nectaring flowers on a landscape scale, affect the monarch population.</p><p>North America's monarch butterfly migration is one of the most awe-inspiring feats in the natural world. If this rescue plan succeeds, it could become a model for bridging different interests to achieve a common conservation goal.</p>
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