A bitters once was a common drink consumed regularly by nearly everyone in the modern world.

A bitters (plural is also bitters) is traditionally an alcoholic preparation flavored with botanical matter so that the end result is characterized by a bitter, sour, or bittersweet flavor. Numerous longstanding brands of bitters were originally developed as patent medicines, but now are sold as digestifs, sometimes with herbal properties, and cocktail flavorings.

Our body contains many of receptors for bitter compounds in not only our mouth and tongue, but our stomach, gut, liver, and pancreas.

This is mostly for protective reasons. Our bitter receptors are built as a “warning” to our body, as most dangerous and poisonous things are highly bitter tasting.

The stimulation of these bitter receptors promotes healthy digestion by increasing digestive secretions. This leads to better absorption of nutrients, natural detoxification of the liver, and — thanks to the gut-brain connection — bitters can even have a positive effect on stress.

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