Jump start your digestive system and improve your health with these DIY Ginger Yellow Dock Digestive Bitters!
Just so you know, I’m NOT a doctor. Everything I say here is what I’ve learned from personal experience and research. Do your own research, and if you’re still unsure, please contact a holistic doctor, natropath, or herbalist. 🙂
A sweet ‘n salty problem.
I’ve been told, many many times, that I have a sweet tooth. While I might disagree (I have a chocolate tooth, not a sweet tooth!), I do think this is something quite a few people deal with. In fact, you might say that sweet tooths (er, teeth) are somewhat of an epidemic among those who eat a standard diet.
Did you know the average American consumes 82 grams of sugar every day? That’s over 1/3 cup a day! If you do the math, that come out to about 66 pounds of sugar a year, per person!
Sweet foods aren’t the only types we love, though. I know just as many people who need their salty chips, pretzels, and the like. But one type of food you don’t hear people loving on… bitter food.
The benefits of bitters.
Did you know that bitter foots actually help to kick your digestive system into gear? They have been used for centuries to stimulate the production of digestive enzymes and improve the function of your digestive organs. If you’re struggling with tummy issues, poor digestion, gas (er, tooting, as my kids say), etc., you might want to give digestive bitters a try.
Digestive bitters work in your body to help it more efficiently absorption nutrients. Their bitter flavor also helps regulate your blood sugar by decreasing sugar cravings and helping you feel more full. And sorry, it won’t work to take them in a capsule. You actually need to taste the bitter flavor to get the good juices going!
Though there are quite a few options when it comes to bitter herbs for digestion, I like to use what I have on hand, which just happens to be yellow dock.
Before I moved down to the south from Montana, I had no idea what yellow dock was. But lo and behold, my back yard is literally covered with the stuff in the springtime! And I’m glad do have it in abundance.
Not only does yellow dock stimulate the digestive enzymes and stomach acids, it works as a gentle laxative by stimulating the flow of bile (yep, it helps you poo). It also effectively eliminates toxins your body is collecting in the liver, gallbladder, and bloodstream. And besides these health benefits, yellow dock can help treat skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, which people with digestive issues are more susceptible to.
Just FYI, consuming yellow dock leaves has the potential of causing diarrhea in some people, due to its oxalic acid content. If you suffer from kidney stones, you shouldn’t use yellow dock. If you have any nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain after taking yellow dock, please stop taking it! For more info on the safety of yellow dock please read this article on yellow dock. And remember, like everything, moderation is your friend.
Ginger has been one of my favorite roots for a while now, and not just because I love the way it tastes or because I happen to have red hair. It can help with all sorts of digestive issues, like bloating and constipation, by relaxing the smooth muscle in your gut lining and help your food finish its journey through your intestines to the end of your digestive system.
While ginger helps ease your digestive system, it also pumps its anti-inflammatory benefits into your body, helps break down toxins built up in your organs, and helps cleanse your body’s lymphatic system (a.k.a. your body’s sewage system).
Side note: here are some of my favorite ginger recipes, if you want more of its delicious healthiness in your life:
- Honey Ginger Jello (suitable for GAPS intro stage 1)
- Fizzy Ginger Lemonade
- Ginger Banana Muffins
Do it yourself.
Even if you don’t have ginger and yellow dock sitting around, you should still give making your own digestive bitters a go. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to enhance your health by supporting your digestive system. Chamomile and dandelion would be easy-to-get bitters that would make a great tincture.
And if you’re not into tinctures (though you should be, they’re SO easy!) you could just pretend you’re a bunny and eat a few bitter greens 20 minutes or so before your meals. 😉
In the recipe card I’ve linked to some of the products from my affiliate partners that I like to use. Purchasing through these links won’t cost you anything extra. Thanks! 😉
Ginger Yellow Dock Digestive Bitters
Free from grain, gluten, eggs, dairy, and sugar.
- freshly grated ginger or dried ginger root
- fresh or dried yellow dock*
- 80-proof vodka**
Fill a jar with a tight sealing lid 1/3 full of grated ginger and another 1/3 of chopped fresh yellow dock leaves. Or fill 1/4 full of dried roots and another 1/4 of dried leaves.
Pour vodka over herbs until the jar is filled. Cap tightly and set in a dark place to sit for a month or more.
When a month has passed, strain out ginger and yellow dock with a cheese cloth or fine sieve. Store in a dark jar, or place in a dark spot.
Use 1/4 teaspoon 20 minutes before eating.
*I used yellow dock leaves, but the roots are available online and you can use them instead.
**You should be able to use vegetable glycerin or apple cider vinegar, if you have an issue with alcohol. I haven’t personally tried this, so I can’t guarantee the results.
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So creative! I’m loving this.
Thank you! 🙂
Digestive bitters are truly a life saver!
I’m so glad I discovered them, too!
Thank you for sharing Raia! Totally agree that we are not eating enough bitters. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we use the same practice of stimulating the liver with bitter herbs. I learned something new about about yellow dock.
It’s amazing what we can learn from traditional medicines. There is so much healing we can receive from foods!
I’m a big fan of bitters they can make such a difference to a healthy digestive system. I love that you have made your own, thanks for the recipe!
You’re so welcome! I’m just learning about their benefits, and I’m already seeing a difference!
I love ginger’s digestive benefits! Often a cup a ginger tea is all it takes to soothe any random heartburn or bloating I get. Never thought about mixing it with yellow dock!
Yes, ginger is so amazing! I try and drink a cup of ginger tea every day, too!
I made mine with dandelion root and fennel too. I have dock but not the curly type. It is pretty cool to make bitters from what you have on hand.
I’m glad to be able to use the yellow dock for something! Dandelion and fennel sounds like a great combo. 🙂
Anna, Most docks will be bitter but use the roots not the leaves for best results.
I can’t wait to make some. I love bitters and have been out of them for a while. I’ve never made my own before, but I’m excited to now.
Yay! I can’t wait to see yours when they’re ready!
I should probably give this a try. thanks for sharing.
You’re welcome! I hope you find it as helpful as I have!
This is so great! I’ve googled yellow dock and looked at all the different pictures…now am asking other foraging locals if they know where I can find some! 🙂
I hope you can find some, Kelsey! If not you could sub dandelion or chamomile. 🙂
I added up how much sugar I was eating per day and realized I had to cut WAY back. I noticed a big difference when I cut back and am always looking for new ways to improve my digestion. Haven’t tried bitters, but I’ll have to give it a go!
It is crazy how sugar sneaks in to almost everything! I’ve been refined sugar-free for 3 years, and I’m never going back. And still it’s amazing how much my digestion has improved since using bitters.
I did not know that you actually had to taste the bitters for it to be effective. Love your DIY version of digestive bitters.
There’s always more to learn when it comes to our gut-brain connection. Thanks so much, Anya!