Your body naturally produces acid, bile, and enzymes to help break down what you eat so you can absorb nutrients, but there are also some times our digestive system needs a little support. In comes: bitter herbs — or more popularly known as bitters.You may have noticed them mentioned in cocktails, but these concoctions were originally used as a digestion aid.Shown to facilitate stomach acidTrusted Source, certain bitter herbs can help make the digestion process smoother on your body.

So if you’re feeling a little uncomfortable around the belt (you know: bloating, gas, indigestion, constipation — which can be a result of anything from stress to age, overeating, or poor diet), bitters might give your sluggish system a jolt.

Notable digestion-enhancing bittering agents include gentian rootTrusted Source, dandelion, wormwoodTrusted Source, and burdock. We put together a recipe that you can make at home for digestive support.

Bitters recipe:

  • 1 ounce dried gentian root
  • 1/2 ounce dried dandelion root
  • 1/2 ounce dried wormwood
  • 1 tsp. dried orange peel
  • 1/2 tsp. dried ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
  • 8 ounces alcohol (recommended: 100 proof vodka or SEEDLIP’s Spice 94, a nonalcoholic option)

Instructions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a mason jar and pour alcohol on top.
  2. Seal tightly and store the bitters in a cool, dark place.
  3. Let the bitters infuse until the desired strength is reached, about 2-4 weeks. Shake the jars regularly (about once per day).
  4. When ready, strain the bitters through a muslin cheesecloth or coffee filter. Store the strained bitters in an airtight container at room temperature.

To use: Take a few drops of this digestive bitters 15-20 minutes before or after your meal, taken straight or mixed into water.