About our Organic, Digestive Bitters
Crafted from exceptional blends of certified organic Vermont herbs and roots, complimented by a few worldly exotics, our digestive bitters revive the tradition of dazzling the palate while priming digestion. At Urban Moonshine we believe the root of good health is great digestion!
Original, Citrus, & Maple flavors all have the same basic ingredients with slightly different flavoring; the original is the most bitter, the citrus has some nice citrusy notes and the maple has a touch of organic maple syrup. The chamomile bitters are a little different; they are our only bitters formula that contains chamomile, and they are free of citrus, fennel, & essential oils, so that they can be enjoyed occasionally during pregnancy and by more folks with sensitivities!
What in the world is a Bitter?
The definition of a bitter is something that tastes bitter in flavor: dandelion, gentian, coffee, dark chocolate and greens are classic bitters. Many traditional cultures around the world believe that it is important to have all 5 flavors within the diet and that each flavor has a specific effect on the body. The flavor of bitter is very much associated with the digestive system. As human beings we evolved eating tons and tons of bitters- bitters greens, bitter roots, bitter barks. The majority of food growing in the wild has an element of bitterness to it. Even the ripest wild blackberry is not purely sweet; it also has a little sour, a little bitter to its flavor profile. Early humans rarely consumed sweets-honey was like food of the gods!
Fast forward to modern times, as a culture we consume an immense amount of sweet, salty and processed food and we have a severe lack of bitterness. But our bodies are built for bitter flavors! Bitter engages and excites the digestive system. Bitter challenges the body, alerting it through taste that a complex food is being ingested, more complex than heavily processed food. It is very important for the body to have enough challenge—challenge keeps us strong, on our toes, ready for action! Bitters are like the gym for the digestive system, they help to keep it toned. Our brilliant tongue is like the doorbell to the digestive system and when we taste something bitter it rings that doorbell, “Ding-dong! Time to eat, time to wake up, time to digest!” All the digestive organs get “turned on”—excited. They start to secrete digestive juices in preparation for the incoming food!
In this way bitter flavor is essential to good health. We encourage you to explore the flavor of bitter on a daily basis- whether it’s a bitter green salad before dinner, a fresh spring dandelion green from your front yard, or Urban Moonshine bitters right on your tongue. Cheers to your health and wellbeing!—Jovial King
Free Articles About Bitters: Bitters- Take the Challenge, by Guido Masé RH (AHG) -- Chief Herbalist at Urban Moonshine
Eating with the Season: Bring Bitters to your Table, by Guido Masé RH (AHG) – Chief Herbalist at Urban Moonshine
Learn more about our Organic Bitters from Jovial & Guido
Now, whether you enjoy them as an apertif, digestif, or as a remedy to settle an upset stomach, calm a hangover or gently cleanse the liver, bitters are back!
-Dr. Andrew Weil, Why Bitter is Better:
"...But there is an appealing logic to consuming bitters for health. Just as sweets cause blood sugar, insulin, and hunger to spike and then dip -- often leading, long term, to obesity and Type 2 diabetes -- research indicates bitter foods can have the opposite effect, moderating both hunger and blood sugar."
-Jim McDonald, Blessed Bitters:
"Bitters stimulate all digestive secretions: salive, acids, enzymes, hormones, bile, and so forth. Each of these acts as a solvent to break down food for absorption, and the quantity and quality of these foods ensure proper nutrition. Inadequate production of these secretions is common in modern cultures (i.e. cultures lacking bitters in their diet), and the implications of such deficiencies are myriad."
-Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Facebook Post:
"Scientists are working to develop bitter "agonists" that may restore the ability of the respiratory cells to defend themselves. We are now identifying T2R receptors in breast cells and breast cancer cells. The enormity of bitters to improve our health is just now being investigated by scientists in a deep and meaningful way. How exciting. Who knew? Maybe the ancients? So here's to Traditional Medicinals organic dandelion tea, Urban Moonshine bitters..."
All flavors of Urban Moonshine's Certified Organic Bitters have the same serving size and usage guidelines.
To stimulate healthy digestion, enjoy approximately ¼ teaspoon (1.2 mL) of our bitters before or after meals-- or to curb a sugar craving-- up to 6 times daily if needed! Start small in your dose: everyone's body is different, and many people find that a very small dose can be quite sufficient. If the bitter taste is especially rare in your diet, your digestion will fire up with just a very small amount of the bitters.
If using the refillable, travel-sized mouth spray bottle, we recommend spraying directly into the mouth on the tongue 7 times before or after meals, or as needed to relieve bloating and indigestion.* 7 sprays is equal to ¼ teaspoon. There are about 12.5 servings in a ½ oz. (15mL) mouth spray bottle.
If using the 2oz. dropper bottle, we recommend starting with 1 dropper full directly on the tongue. 1 dropper is equal to ¼ teaspoon. There are approximately 49 servings in a 2oz. (59.1mL) dropper bottle.
If using the 8.4oz apothecary bottle, we recommend using it to refill one of the smaller sizes, or measuring ¼ teaspoon (approx. 2 dashes) for use directly on the tongue. There are about 200 servings in an 8.4oz (250mL) bottle.
To create a Bitters aperitif, add ¼ tsp. bitters to ½ tsp. sparkling water. This is great for folks who find the taste too strong and want to dilute a little. Tasting the bitter flavor is key to the digestive benefits, so don’t dilute too much!
Contraindications: Urban Moonshine Organic Bitters are not for:
- pregnant/breastfeeding women,: we use angelica & gentian, which are specifically contraindicated in pregnancy.* Exception: Chamomile Bitters are suitable for occasional use in pregnancy in consultation with your healthcare provider
- Stomach ulcers could be irritated*
Urban Moonshine Digestive Bitters Ingredients:
ORIGINAL BITTERS: Organic Alcohol, Pure Water, Org. Dandelion Root and Leaf, Org. Burdock Root, Org. Orange Peel, Org. Fennel Seed, Org. Yellow Dock Root, Org. Angelica Root, Org. Gentian Root, Org. Ginger Root, Org. Essential Oil Blend, Org. Gum Arabic
CITURS BITTERS: Organic Alcohol, Pure Water, Org. Dandelion Root and Leaf, Org. Angelica Root, Org. Burdock Root, Org. Orange Peel, Org. Fennel Seed, Org. Yellow Dock Root, Org. Gentian Root, Org. Ginger Root, Org. Gum Arabic and Organic Essential Oils.
MAPLE BITTERS: Organic Alcohol, Pure Water, Org. Dandelion Root and Leaf, Org. Burdock Root, Org. Orange Peel, Org. Fennel Seed, Org. Maple Syrup, Org. Yellow Dock Root, Org. Angelica Root, Org. Ginger Root, Org. Gentian Root, Org. Gum Arabic and Organic Essential Oils.
CHAMOMILE BITTERS: Pure Water, Organic Alcohol, Org. Dandelion Root and Leaf, Org. Chamomile, Org. Burdock Root, Org. Yellow Dock Root, Org. Ginger Root.
Q. Is there gluten in your products?
A. No! Urban Moonshine Bitters and Tonics are made with 100% Certified Organic Cane Alcohol, which is naturally a gluten-free alternative to commonly used grain alcohol. We use it for its quality, taste, and extraction excellence! We're delighted to use no Genetically Modified Organisms in our products--no GMOs!
Q. Do bitters really work as a digestive aid?
A. Yes! Bitters stimulate our body's innate digestive response and optimize digestive function. They trigger the digestive system to produce the body's endogenous digestive enzymes, secrete bile, and balance HCl levels in the stomach. To prime digestion use our bitters 10-15 minutes before you eat! For best results, take straight or spray in your mouth with our mouth spray--you need to taste the bitter flavor to get full effect! Bitters can also be used for acute needs like upset stomach, indigestion, or occasional heartburn--take them after a meal or whenever you need them!
Q. Can I use the bitters while pregnant and/or breastfeeding?
A. Our chamomile bitters are suitable for occasional nausea and heartburn during pregnancy. Our original, citrus, and maple bitters are not safe for pregnancy; the gentian and angelica in them are herbs that are not recommended during pregnancy. All flavors of our digestive bitters can be used with caution while nursing; please stay within the recommended dosage and consult your healthcare practitioner.
Q. What is the difference between the 4 flavors of digestive bitters?
A. The original, citrus, and maple flavors all have the same basic formula with different natural flavors added. The maple flavor has a touch of organic maple syrup, the original flavor has a spicier & the most bitter flavor, and the citrus flavor has more organic citrus essential oils. The chamomile bitters are a little different; they are our only bitters formula that contains chamomile, and they are free of citrus, fennel, & essential oils, so that they can be enjoyed occasionally during pregnancy and by more folks with sensitivities!
Q. What is the shelf life of the bitters? Do I need to rerigerate my bottle?
A. Every bottle should have an expiration date on it. If you can't find it, please call and we can look it up by the lot # on the bottle. The shelf life is 2 years after bottling. Our products do not need to be refrigerated; please store them in a cool, dark place.
Q. Why is there alcohol in the bitters? Do you make any alcohol-free products?
A. We feel that alcohol is the best way to extract and preserve the chemical constituents of the herbs we love. We use organic, gluten-free alcohol. This is a traditional method of making tinctures, and it gives our products the best taste and longest shelf life possible. We do not make any alcohol-free products at this time. There is a very low amount of alcohol in each serving, when you consider the dose of the product and the percentage alcohol (1/4 tsp of the bitters at 30-35% alcohol is about 1/12 tsp alcohol--just a few drops!).
Q. What is the difference between the 3 sizes of digestive bitters?
A. They are all the same formula--just in different sizes for your convenience! The 8.4oz large apothecary bottle is the longest-lasting and can be used to refill your smaller bottles! The spray bottle is recommended as a travel size to keep in your bag on the go.
Q. Should I take bitters if I am using other supplements or medication?
A. Please seek the advice of your holistic practitioner for indications with other medications. We are not liscensed practitioners and cannot recommend or prescribe for any medical conditions. If you need help finding an herbalist or naturopath in your area, check out this awesome resource: find an AHG registered practitioner
Q. Where can I purchase Urban Moonshine bitters?
More Questions? Visit our FAQ Page!
*The statements on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Looking for an Insightful & Educational Read about the Importance of Bitters?
Check out The Wild Medicine Solution: Healing with Aromatic, Bitter, and Tonic Plants, by Guido Masé
Book available for purchase through Urban Moonshine on our web store
Blending traditional herbal medicine with history, mythology, clinical practice, and recent findings in physiology and biochemistry, herbalist Guido Masé explores the three classes of plants necessary for the healthy functioning of our bodies and minds—aromatics, bitters, and tonics. He explains how bitter plants ignite digestion, balance blood sugar, buffer toxicity, and improve metabolism; how tonic plants normalize the functions of our cells and nourish the immune system; and how aromatic plants relax tense organs, nerves, and muscles and stimulate sluggish systems, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. He reveals how wild plants regulate our heart variability rate and adjust the way DNA is read by our cells, controlling the self-destructive tendencies that lead to chronic inflammation or cancer.
Offering examples of ancient and modern uses of wild plants in each of the 3 classes—from aromatic peppermint to bitter dandelion to tonic chocolate—Masé provides easy recipes to integrate them into meals as seasonings and as central ingredients in soups, stocks, salads, and grain dishes as well as including formulas for teas, spirits, and tinctures. Providing a framework for safe and effective use as well as new insights to enrich the practice of advanced herbalists, he shows how healing “wild plant deficiency syndrome”—that is, adding wild plants back into our diets—is vital not only to our health but also to our spiritual development.
Guido Masé is the clinical herbalist on staff at Urban Moonshine, as well as herbal educator, and garden steward. The cofounder and codirector of the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, he is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild, the American Botanical Council, and United Plant Savers. He lives in South Burlington, Vermont.