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Doctor Jarvis, who studied medicine in our hometown of Burlington, Vermont, was perhaps the epitome of the New England country doctor. He worked during the first half of the 1900s, helping countless patients, visiting homes of friends and neighbors, and relying on strategies that supported and nourished – the same tonic approach we favor today. But he is perhaps best known for popularizing the use of apple cider vinegar, recommending its use for a range of common, everyday complaints. We may owe the recent popularity of switchel, fire cider, shrubs and other infused vinegars to the old country doctor. His popular remedy makes sense: New England is rich in apples, and every fall, pressed and fermented into cider, he had access to endless quantities of raw, natural vinegar. Ever practical, Dr. Jarvis realized that this abundant natural product (already popular with old-time Vermonters) could provide a range of health benefits.*
Some of the classic uses for apple cider vinegar include supporting healthy digestion, especially the occasional bout of heartburn and healthy metabolism.* This seemed to us to provide a perfect match for the traditional European digestive bitters, another classic digestive and digestive remedy.* Furthermore, since apple cider vinegar’s fermentation process converts alcohol into acetic acid, steeping the right herbs and roots in vinegar provides a way to enjoy all the benefits of bitters in a preparation made without alcohol.
For a bitter tonic, we rely on the time-honored bitter roots that serve as the foundation, burdock and dandelion roots. These are also excellent sources of prebiotic starches, important for maintaining a healthy gut flora.* Because apple cider vinegar has a strong sour flavor, we needed more of the powerful bittering agents – gentian and artichoke – to fully stimulate our bitter taste receptors both on the tongue and throughout the digestive tract. Finally, the formula includes a little ginger, fennel, and orange peel, to add warmth and spice to balance the more cooling roots and herbs.
The formula is versatile enough to use as your go-to daily bitter tonic, as it strengthens and tonifies digestive function, relieves occasional heartburn and indigestion, encourages gentle daily liver detoxification.*
We like to think that, had he known more about the power of bitters, old Doctor Jarvis might have added a few to his apple cider vinegar blends himself.
Use ½ tsp before or after meals, in a little water or as is, enjoyed up to 6 times per day.
These will stay good for about 2-3 months unrefrigerated.
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