Herb of the Month: Gentian Root (with Bitters Recipe!)
This month, we are focusing on the digestive system here at The Herb Shoppe. You might think to yourself, “why is it so important for us to take care of our digestive health?” Well, when our brain is fogged or overwhelmed, or we can’t seem to figure out in our minds what the right decision is, we all know to “listen to our gut." It’s something we were told even as children, and for a reason!
Our gut is the second “brain” of our body. It houses our microflora and good bacteria, which in turn is responsible for our body's immune response and helps us to stay healthy and strong when facing infection. Our gut transports waste from our body, and helps us to assimilate the nutrients from our food, ensuring we are receiving all of our essential vitamins, amino acids and fats. It is also believed that certain skin conditions are caused by underlying imbalances in the gut.
When we are anxious and it feels like we have butterflies flying around in our stomach, there are thousands of nerves within our gut that send signals to our brain and body about what we are experiencing within our external and internal worlds. And, when we just don’t know which way to go, when we listen to our gut, we always find the right way.
It is so important for us to take good care of our gut health. Not only for digestion, but also for our anxiety, lymphatic health, mental clarity, and immune response. When we take good care of our gut, we take care of ourselves. So, what better plant ally to highlight this month than Gentian Root?
Gentian Root will be your best friend throughout these upcoming yummy days of snacking and eating holiday foods at your in-laws, like when you just can’t resist that extra serving of pumpkin pie...a little bit of Gentian Root added into your day can help to cure those upset stomach blues away! Gentian Root, or Gentiana lutea, is a common ingredient in many bitters, as well as herbal remedies for digestive aid.
Bitters are alcohol-based herbal extracts of barks, roots and bitter plants that help to facilitate the secretion of stomach acid, which helps us better digest the foods we eat. Gentian Root is great at assisting the body produce extra saliva and enzymes to ensure your belly will have no problems breaking down your last meal. This bitter herb can also stimulate appetite, and decrease intestinal gas and heartburn. Gentian Root also aids in liver health, supports the nervous system, helps anemia, heals wounds, treats anxiety, and provides the body with rich antioxidants that restore cells and offer support to chronic illnesses. Wow!
Grab yourself some Gentian Root this season and give your gut some overdue love. You can try Gentian Root in our THS bitters; Rose Cacao, Golden Citrus and our Signature Bitters.
Or, make your own bitters and get to know Gentian Root more intimately with this recipe:
Gentian Grapefruit Bitters:
- 3 large grapefruits
- 2 meyer lemons
- 2 Tbs coriander
- 2 Tbs minced ginger
- 1 Tbs gentian root
- 1 Tbs wormwood
- 1 Tbs dried mint
- 1 Tbs whole clove
- 1 Tbs dandelion root
- 100-150 proof grain alcohol (enough to fill a quart jar)
- Peel and slice grapefruit and lemons into small pieces and place in quart jar.
- Measure dried herbs and spices and combine into quart jar.
- Fill quart jar with alcohol over the citrus and spices to the top of the jar.
- Seal jar tightly with lid and give a good shake.
- Label quart jar with date and description.
- Store in a cool, dark place for 4 weeks (shake it up as often as you remember).
- After 4 weeks, use a fine mesh cheesecloth to strain out liquid, making sure to squeeze out the last drops from the ingredients.
- After straining the liquid, tightly wrap them in the cheesecloth and steep them in water, then letting them cool to room temperature
- Add this steeped water to your strained alcohol.
- Let the alcohol and water mixtures sit for 5 days in a cool, dark place (shaking daily).
- After 5 days, bottle, label and enjoy!
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