Best Plants to Grow for Making Digestive Bitters


This is a picutre of mugwort herb that can be used for digestive bitters.

By Jennifer Poindexter

Are you growing plants for more than the traditional uses? If your harvest is for more than preserving or cooking, then this list may be for you.

We all know that certain plants have different components which help aid in digestion. This is why we’re frequently encouraged to eat our vegetables. They’re high in fiber which is great for digestion and satiation. 

Digestive bitters are similar to an elixir that were once used to help aid in digestion. They’re created from plants commonly found in your garden. 

Some people are returning to the idea of creating digestive bitters from what’s grown in their backyard herb garden. 

Here’s a more in-depth explanation of digestive bitters and the plants commonly used to create them:

What Are Digestive Bitters?

A digestive bitter is similar to an extract. It’s a mixture of bitter herbs (or other type of plant) and alcohol. Bitters are thought to assist with digestion, nausea, upset stomach, aid in leveling blood sugar, along with other assumed benefits.

This article isn’t meant to persuade you to use digestive bitters. You should always do your own research and make decisions that are best for you.

However, I enjoy learning about other uses for plants that we don’t commonly hear about. If you enjoy gaining information about diverse uses for plants, then explore this information about digestive bitters.

Best Plants for Digestive Bitters

To make digestive bitters, you must begin with a bitter herb or plant. I’m going to share some of the herbs commonly used for this purpose.

I’ll also share some of their growing conditions and hardiness zones. If you’re interested in learning more about digestive bitters, here are the plants used to create them:

1. Mugwort

Mugwort is a flowering herb that remains hardy in planting zones three through eight. This plant blooms from summer through the early portion of fall and produces beautiful blooms in shades of yellow and rich red.

This plant thrives in full to partial sunlight and needs soil that drains adequately. Mugwort can survive periods of drought as well.

Be mindful, this plant is considered invasive in the United States, so grow it with caution.

2. Licorice Root

Licorice root is a unique flowering plant that has an intense need for quality soil. This plant desires rich, nutrient-dense growing mediums that are loamy and good at holding necessary moisture.

This is important if you’re going to cultivate the plant for its roots. Licorice root is a tropical perennial, so it enjoys spaces with ample sunlight and warmth.

You may even grow it as a houseplant. Expect this plant to remain hardy in planting zones nine through eleven. You may enjoy it as an annual in other growing locations.

3. Schisandra

Schisandra, also known as five-flavor fruit, is a vining plant that’s native to China. It’s produced for its berries which are used as both food and medicine in some cultures.

The reason the plant is known as “five-flavor” is because the berries hit every note: sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and biting.

If you’re interested in growing schisandra, the plant needs full to partial shade and soil that’s well-draining. This plant is hardy in planting zones four through seven.

4. Angelica

Angelica, also known as wild celery, is a biennial in planting zones four through nine. This plant is grown for both its stems and roots.

However, it isn’t for every garden as it can reach heights up to eight feet. Should you decide this plant is a good fit for your growing location, ensure you provide the right conditions.

One thing you must provide angelica is soil that drains adequately and is dense in nutrients. Angelica isn’t picky about lighting as it can thrive in full to partial sunlight.

5. Dandelion Leaf

When I was a kid and you had dandelions growing in or around your yard, adults would frantically try to get rid of them.

Now, it seems our generation has grown to embrace them. Dandelions have many wonderful uses such as teas, bitters, cooking their greens, and making jelly.

If you’re interested in harvesting dandelion leaves, try to encourage dandelions to grow by providing nutritious soil. Dandelions remain hardy in planting zones three through nine.

6. Gentian Root

Gentian is a sprawling, low-growing plant that stands out for its vibrant green foliage and deep blue flowers.

Though these flowers are drought-tolerant, they do need soil that drains adequately. It’s also best if you direct sow the seeds as the roots don’t enjoy being disturbed once established.

You can grow this plant in full to partial sunlight. It also remains hardy in planting zones four through eight.

7. Cinchona Bark

Cinchona is a tree that produces small, tube-shaped pink flowers. This tree reaches heights between twenty and fifty feet.

It’s commonly grown for the use of the bark as it has been used for medicinal purposes for generations. If you’re interested in growing a cinchona tree, realize it only remains hardy in planting zones ten through twelve.

This tree may be grown in a container to be overwintered indoors or in a greenhouse if you live outside of a tropical climate. Also, the tree needs ample sunlight and well-draining soil.

8. Sarsaparilla

Sarsaparilla is a vining plant which produces small berries and is native to the rainforests in South America.

This plant is known for thriving in soil that’s of lesser quality as long as it drains adequately. It can also thrive in both sun and shade.

Expect sarsaparilla to remain hardy down to zone three. This is a lower-maintenance plant that tends to thrive in a variety of settings.

planting ginger in a container

9. Ginger

It’s well known that ginger is good for digestive health. Whether you’re dealing with morning sickness or a basic stomach ache, the first thing you’re told to do is consume ginger in some form.

Ginger is a unique plant as it grows in containers or in the ground, depending upon where you’re located.

It enjoys warm weather and plenty of sunlight. It must be overwintered indoors in planting zones eight and lower. However, it serves as a perennial in zones nine and higher.

10. Dandelion Root

Dandelions have a variety of purposes. Even different parts of the plant can be broken down and used in different ways.

The root of dandelions is no exception. Dandelion root tea can be found on most grocery store shelves. However, you can also use the plant for making bitters.

Dandelions remain hardy to zone three and grow in various places. Yet, they thrive in locations with rich soil that drain adequately and have plenty of sunlight.

11. Burdock Root

Burdock is related to the common daisy. This plant produces round blooms with stickers on the outside. These stickers allow them to stick to animal fur and clothing for the purpose of moving around and seeding in other locations.

This plant is also commonly used for the purpose of making bitters. If you’re interested in adding this plant around your home, select a location with well-draining soil and ample sunlight.

Burdock is hardy in planting zones two through eleven. It’s considered invasive, so be wise about your growing method.

12. Artichoke Leaves

You may enjoy growing and utilizing artichokes, but did you know that the leaves of this plant are also useful in making bitters?

Artichokes remain hardy in planting zones seven and higher. You may overwinter your plants indoors or grow them as annuals if you live in a lower planting zone.

Be sure to select a growing location with ample sunlight, amended soil, and ensure the growing space is well-draining. Artichokes require vast amounts of nutrients, so be sure your soil contains what’s needed.

13. Wild Cherry Bark

The wild cherry tree (also known as prunus avium) is used for various reasons. In the case of digestive bitters, the bark is used.

If you’re interested in growing a wild cherry tree, provide a growing location with amended soil that’s well-draining.

This plant should remain hardy in planting zones five through seven. Be sure to do your research when making bitters with wild cherry bark to ensure you only utilize safe portions of the tree. Some of the bark is toxic while other parts are not. 

14. Chamomile

Chamomile is commonly used for herbal teas that are great for helping you relax after a long day. This plant can also be used for the purpose of making digestive bitters.

Chamomile produces small white flowers with yellow centers. It enjoys growing in a location with full sunlight and soil that drains adequately.

Expect chamomile to remain hardy in planting zones two through nine.

15. Yarrow

The last plant to discuss growing for the purpose of using when creating digestive bitters is yarrow. This is a taller flowering plant which produces clusters of small blooms that grab your attention.

If you choose to grow yarrow, select a growing location with well-draining soil. This plant stands-up to heat and dry weather well. It tends to do best in these conditions.

Yarrow should remain hardy in planting zones three through nine, making it a good fit for various growing locations.

You now have fifteen options for plants to grow around your home or garden space to create digestive bitters.

Plus, you have an idea of what digestive bitters are to give you a foundation to grow from to do your research and grow your knowledge in this area.

Utilize this information to add new (and useful) plants around your home. It might amaze you all the ways that plants can be enjoyed.

More About Digestive Bitters

https://froemkelab.med.nyu.edu/surgery/content?ChunkIID=21735

https://extension.umn.edu/vegetables/growing-herbs

The post Best Plants to Grow for Making Digestive Bitters appeared first on Gardening Channel.

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