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bitters for detox

March 2024


  • Detox Mindset
  • What Is Toxic Overload?
  • The Bitter Truth
  • Toxic Ovarload & Inflammation

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The Bitter Truth

Bitter food and herbs played a crucial role in our resilience to toxins, but in the past century, we removed them from our palate with consequences.

Let me introduce you to King Mithridates, Who ruled a small kingdom in the area we now call Anatolia around 135 years BC. The king came to power by poisoning his mother and brothers, so he was always afraid of an attempt on his life by poisoning. He had this idea that if a large dosage of toxic herbs could kill you, in small amounts, they might protect against poisoning. The king worked with other herbalists on antidotes for poisoning made from bitter herbs that he gathered on the hills of his kingdom. After perfecting the formula, the king used the antidote as a daily tonic to increase his body’s resilience to toxins.

When the Romans invaded his kingdom, Mithridates decided he would rather die than be surrounded. He tried one of his poisoning potions, but ironically, it didn’t work because the king’s body developed resilience to toxins. So, King Mithridates had to ask one of his soldiers to kill him with his sword.

bitters history

What are bitters?

The bitter taste is generated by a set of chemicals, mainly derived from plants that were once or still toxic to a certain degree. Those plants developed the bitter compounds to protect themselves from insects, animals, and humans. They are telling us to consume in small amounts and be ready to digest fast.

We know that humans were consuming bitter herbs even as Neanderthals, although these herbs didn’t have nutritional value. Archeologists found evidence of yarrow and chamomile in our forefathers’ teeth, which means that even before we were humans, we understood the importance of bitters.


How does bitter food and herbs work?

Bitter food and herbs stimulate all digestive secretions, from saliva in the mouth to stomach acids, enzymes, hormones, and bile in the small intestines, liver, and gallbladder.

In the mouth

Food and herbs that are bitters promote salivation, which starts the breakdown process of starches and fats. There are 25 different taste receptors for bitter taste in the mouth. Once activated, they signal the digestive system in huge neon signs: ALERT! ALERT!

In the stomach

In the stomach, bitters stimulate the secretion of hormones, enzymes, and acids needed to break down protein and help assimilate minerals.

Bitters stimulate the production of the gastrin hormone, leading to gastric acid secretion. Lower gastric acids impair mineral absorption in the stomach, robbing the body of essential nutrients.

Moreover, bitters increase the production of pepsin, which helps break down protein and intrinsic factors essential for the absorption of vitamin B12.

Bitters can be beneficial for people suffering from GERD symptoms due to low stomach acid production.

The liver, galbllader and pancreas

When they act on the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas, bitters help normalize blood sugar and increase the release of pancreatic enzymes and bile.

A healthy bile flow, helps the liver rid itself of waste products, reduces the formation of gallstones, and emulsifies fat so pancreatic enzymes can break it down.

Bile also lubricates the small intestines, protecting the cells on the walls of the intestines from being damaged by the flow of food. Insufficient bile in the small intestines might cause dryness and chronic constipation.

In addition to all of that, bitters also strengthen and tone tissue throughout the digestive system. They help restore mucus membrane health and remedy a wide range of gastric diseases, from leaky gut to gastric ulcers.

Together, these actions restore appetite, reduce sweet and salty food cravings, and aid in weight loss.

Modern life excludes bitter-tasting foods from our plates while at the same time exposes our bodies to a wide range of toxins daily. Toxins are in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the cosmetics we use, the cleaning products in our cupboards, and pharmaceutical drugs.


Bitters deficency syndrome

Herbalists today believe that the root cause of many modern chronic diseases lies in what they call “bitter deficiency syndrome.” A deficiency of bitters leads to low production of digestive enzymes, and bile causes weight gain, food cravings, and indigestion.

The bitter truth is that our body needs bitter foods and herbs to cleanse itself, not just during a detox program but every day of the year.

Bitters have a long history of supporting the human body’s innate ability to detox. Modern culture teaches us to avoid anything that makes us feel uncomfortable, so while we increase our exposure to toxins, we reduce our intake of bitters. Learn more about how bitters can benefit your well-being.

It’s a lot!
But that is why I am here.
Need help to figure out the details? Do you need support figuring out how to use daily to support your body’s innate ability to detox?
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Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.
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