How Do Bitters Work?
Bitters, as disagreeable as they may be, promote appetite and improve digestion. When a bitter hits our tongue, it is stimulated, and secretes digestive juices and stimulates the activities of the liver and pancreas. This is known as the "bitter reflex," that triggers specific actions in the body that prepares the digestive system for food. The taste of bitter alone stimulates the brain to release the digestive hormone, gastrin, which begins a chain reaction of neural and endocrine actions, such as appetite stimulation and the release of digestive enzymes. Hence, the reason why bitter flavored foods have a rich history in the healing arts.