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More Bitters!

Normally, I'm a simpler; I use one herb for one issue. However, I am taking herbal medicine making class had a recipe for a combined bitters tincture, and it looked amazing. This recipe was taught to me by Lori Rose, PhD., based on a recipe by Rosalee de la Forêt.

My bitters are Oregon Grape Root, Dandelion Root, and Mandarin orange peel (attached to the rest of Mandarin). The other ingredients are black pepper, clove, and vanilla bean. It smells amazing. I poured a clean tasting alcohol (vodka) over it all and will let it sit for a few weeks.

Bitters help with the secretion of digestive juices, but the trick is that you've got to be able to taste the bitter to trigger the whole process. Most people don't appreciate that flavor, so this tincture helps balance all that with sweetness. Ideally, you take a few drops a few minutes before dinner, but really, just get it in somewhere. It's the reason for aperitifs and bitter green salads before a the main course.

What else is going on in there? Oregon Grape Root also helps balance blood sugar and the inulin polysaccharides in Dandelion Root feed the helpful gut bacteria. John Milton Scudder writes that Oregon Grape Root also helps clear the "Augean Stables," moving out toxins in a big assist to the liver.

Since Oregon Grape Root is moistening, it is for a constitution that has issues with dryness. I tried a little of the root before I added it, to make sure it was still bitter and potent. Not long after, my muscles and joints felt extremely relaxed. That's a pretty good indicator that I have dryness in my body, but also that this is a good fit herb for me. If you tend to be damper and more lymphatic, you might want to pick a different bitter, like Elecampane or Chamomile. Whatever you choose to use, it should help clear out some of the winter sludge that has built up and make your liver happier.

Sources: Lori Rose, PhD, Matthew Wood: The Earthwise Herbal - New World

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