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When life gives you lemons, eat them!

Get rid of post-meal bloating once and for all! Today's blog post is all about digestive tonics -- substances that stimulate and soothe the GI tract.

One of the most common tonics I turn to in my practice is bitters...yes, the exact kind you put in your cocktails!

The original use of bitters is traced back to ancient Egypt and further developed in the Middle Ages. Medicinal herbs were infused in jars of wine or distilled alcohol and were placed on shelves in later-day pharmacies.

These bitters were used to treat nausea, seasickness, and even prevent malaria. It wasn't until the 19th century that bitters were used as flavoring a flavoring agent.

Though today many people have only heard of bitters in cocktails, the use of bitters in the naturopathic GI world is vast.

Bitters, by nature, stimulate the taste buds. That familiar sensation when you bite into a lemon, your salivary glands contract, and a few minutes later your stomach rumbles.

Now I'm not suggesting we all bite into lemons, but I would challenge you to find a substance that gives you those same sensations. Tasting bitters 10-15 minutes before a meal fires up the digestive system, stimulates stomach acid production, and primes the pump for the meal to come.

Why is proper stomach acid important? Lots of reasons! It helps to:

  • Better absorb nutrients from food

  • ​Especially protein, calcium, vitamin B12, magnesium, and potassium

  • Decrease heartburn and acid reflux

  • Soothe gas and belching

  • Prevent Hiatal Hernia Syndrome -- what's that?

  • Encourage movement in the GI tract

  • Stimulate pancreatic enzyme secretion

  • Prevent SIBO

Give it a try! See how you feel!

If you have bitters at home, place a few drops on the tongue 10-15 minutes before meals.

If you'd like a homemade version, place 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into 4 ounces of water and drink 10-15 minutes before meals.

I have a lot of other bitter herb knowledge up my sleeve. Feel free to reach out for ideas!

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