The importance of bitter tastes and conditions that bitters can help with

Originally published in the Sep/Oct Box magazine. Written by Wild Dispensary.

Bitters. The name says it all - but what exactly are they used for and why?
Humans are able to distinguish between 5 tastes:

  • Bitter
  • Salty
  • Sour
  • Sweet
  • Unami (savoury)

In our western diet we do not consume the taste of bitter that often as we are predisposed to liking the taste of sweet or salty.

Also, bitter tastes normally serve as a warning to stop us eating toxic compounds but did you know that some bitter substances actually impart a health benefit? In particular they help to support our detoxification pathways and digestion.

Traditionally bitters have been used for years. In fact they were used in Roman times - they used to drink wine infused with bitter herbs before a meal to ensure proper digestion (clever Romans).

More modernly we use bitters to help support:

  • Poor appetite
  • Sluggish digestion
  • Reflux
  • Digestive concerns (flatulence, indigestion)
  • Food intolerances
  • To assist with nutrient absorption
  • Help support blood sugar balance
  • Tonic for fatigue
  • Assist with fat digestion

We perceive bitter tastes through our bitter taste receptors which are found in our taste buds on our tongue surface, but we have bitter taste receptors through our digestive system, our brain and respiratory system - meaning they do more than just perceive taste.

Ingesting bitters starts a cascade of effects throughout the body - starting in the mouth with activation of the taste receptors which in turn stimulates saliva and gastric juice release. The brain is then signalled and dilates the gastric vessels, which starts the release of bile which helps to digest any food that is on the way. Bitters also stimulate the sympathetic nervous system which helps to activate appetite by improving circulation to the abdominal organs.

So at Wild Dispensary we decided to make our own. Wild Dispensary’s new Liver Bitters contains:

  • Globe Artichoke
  • Calendula
  • Cardamom
  • Orange Peel
  • Manuka

This blend is aimed to help support your natural detoxification pathways and to help assist your digestion. Each individual herb brings their own unique properties to help support liver function. We hope you love it as much as we do.

Check out Wild Dispensary Liver Bitters and all their incredible products here.