Herbal cocktail spritzers excite the taste buds, offer a refreshing treat on those humid summer days and are one of our favorite ways to use plants during the summertime.
They can be made as a mocktail or cocktail, depending on your personal preference and are always an enjoyable way to entertain guests or treat yourself while you lounge in the hammock with a good book.
One of the ways in which we create balanced boozy cocktails or mocktails is with bitters. Ingesting just a small amount of the bitter flavor stimulates healthy digestion and supports our overall body systems, and is a nice way to combat the summer drinking season with something that’s a little healthier (you don’t have to feel so guilty.)
We have been blending bitters for many years, experimenting with some of our favorite local herbs and with a few worldly exotics. Overall we believe in the power of bitter flavor across the culinary experience—in cocktails for sure, but also they also have a place in our teas, soups, salads and liquid extracts.
Here are a few simple recipes that we enjoy throughout the hot summer months.
They are cooling, dazzling in flavor and contain herbs and medicines we can find in our everyday kitchens and gardens. We like to switch it up and alternate between our traditional cocktail recipes, and non-alcoholic mocktail recipes when we want a night off.
The Bitters Spritz
A twist on the classic Italian aperitivo or Aperol spritz which was a cocktail made with bitters to aid digestion. […]
One of the big lessons I learned from studying medicinal plants is that, when a health concern isn’t an immediate emergency, it is better to focus on supporting the living human than trying to control one piece or another of the physiology.
So, for example, we use gentle infusions made with herbs like catnip and elderflower for children’s seasonal challenges instead of drugs that might reduce fever or suppress the secretion of mucus. It is often the case that over-the-counter and prescription medications, useful as they are, come at our bodies using a drug-like mentality: find the most obvious problem, and hit back at it hard. I can’t argue that this approach has been incredibly successful in a range of situations, notably acute infection, life-threatening autoimmune inflammation, shock, and acute cardiovascular events – but that doesn’t, by extension, mean that this drug-like mentality is the only approach, or that it should be the first approach in any given situation. In many cases, the herbalist’s approach of support over control makes a lot of sense.
Nowhere is this perhaps more clear than in the way we address occasional heartburn. There are a few options to choose from: regular antacids like Tums or bicarbonate, digestive bitters, H2 receptor blockers like Zantac, and proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec, to name just a few. The proton pump inhibitors are by far the most prescribed type of heartburn and acid reflux medication: in fact, these are the fourth top-selling prescription in the United States, with over 15 million monthly prescriptions. By some estimates, over 20% of the population is taking a […]
Contrary to popular belief, in most cases heartburn is not caused by too much stomach acid, but too little.
Although we feel heartburn in our chest area, the actual root of the problem lies in our stomach and digestive system. Without help from our digestive enzymes and digestive juices, our body doesn’t get the essential nutrients it needs for healthy immunity, healthy bone development, and a balanced nervous system. These fluids are essential in making sure that our entire system is running smoothly. And they are the key to understanding heartburn.
After we swallow our food it passes through the esophagus into the stomach, and a valve made of muscle, called the lower esophageal sphincter, closes, preventing both food and the acid produced in the stomach to move back up. Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter is forcibly pushed open (by overeating), relaxes inappropriately, or is weak, allowing for stomach acid from your stomach to work its way into your esophagus. The result is usually irritated tissue and discomfort.
The straightforward and holistic approach is to soothe the tissue, improve diet and support proper function of digestive muscles and digestive juice secretion.
Much of what is out there conventionally (like antacids) turns off or neutralizes the production of stomach acid. We need that acid to digest and assimilate our food properly! So it doesn’t heal the root of the problem, it only temporarily fixes the symptoms. Thankfully some solutions help both short term and down the road.
We all know the feeling; we get a little queasy, or bloated, there’s a tight knot in the pit of our belly, or those nervous butterflies. Sometimes, our body is rejecting whatever we just ate, or the balance of our gut bacteria is off, or we just have a queasy stomach to begin with. Other times, nervousness and the body’s stress response can show up as symptoms in our gut.
When it comes down to it, everything in our body is interconnected, and research has shown that the brain and the gastrointestinal system are directly linked in more ways than one.
When you experience psychological responses, such as a stress response, it can influence the basic function of the digestive system and lead to abdominal discomfort. Our gut is like a second brain that produces its own set of chemical messengers in the digestive process, and when digestion is disrupted, it sets off alarms to the nervous system that exacerbate the symptoms of our stress or “fight or flight” response. If you are busy and run down, it is important to recognize this unique relationship between the gut and our brain as it can offer insight and guidance to your overall health and well-being.
Whether for a nervous butterfly stomach, an upset tummy or gas and bloating, the following herbs can be helpful for a number of reasons.
Many people know chamomile for its calmative power and the gentle support it offers the nervous system. What not everyone knows is that this familiar flower embodies very similar qualities when it comes to […]