The seeds sowed in this garden carry a rather enchanting and healing bitterness that alchemizes the stagnation of misery with their transformative flow of how they simply…..grow.
Welcome, welcome to the Garden of Bitters, a destination where bitterness feels at home; where the bitter is invited to grow wild. The seeds sowed in this garden carry a rather enchanting and healing bitterness that alchemizes the stagnation of misery with their transformative flow of how they simply…..grow. Now, round the garden hedge we go to meet the teller of fortunes at the gates who takes the form of a feathered friend. They spend their days and nights here orchestrating the energy between many worlds. Let us knock and see if we are welcomed by the teller to awaken and channel in the garden’s plant spirits (magical door knock sound)…… “yes, greetings guided ones, looks like you have found our guardian of this garden, how wonderful and pleasing that is, and so yes, we welcome you too to experience what our botanical bitter allies have to share with you here….please….proceed.”
Passing through the Garden of Bitters’ gates we are greeted by some rather enchanting aromatics, many of these plants like wormwood, hops, epazote, lavender, catnip, chamomile, and horehound are most familiar with aiding in stimulation to guide one’s flow, they invite you to take a bite to experience how they can activate bitter receptors. Oh…how they grow more in delight when they are asked to be of service. There are so many others to meet…..who will you be guided to?
Oh….my apologies, please excuse the bindweed vines, they like to tangle themselves into places they might not be welcomed, just unwind them if they happen to find their way into weaving their wretched ways around you….they are sometimes known for blocking one’s path as they seemingly grow right before them.
Okay, okay….back on track, and with the help of the winds let us follow the leaves as they point us towards some of our less aromatic plant friends that can help us craft up an even more powerful potion guided by our own sweet and beautiful bitterness. Those green ones can be found growing past that portal of nightshades where time becomes bent, a slip into the ethers. But before we journey through and pass this path, we are asked to check-in with that bitterness that we are carrying. This emotion gets such a bad wrap and is commonly used as a negative connotation. To me, bitterness comes from experiences in our past in which we had very little control over….those experiences can then change the paradigm in which we view the world and our relationships. Bitterness, if acknowledged, can sometimes serve as protection by taking the form of boundaries. Bitterness should not be confused with the emotions of envy and jealousy, those physical expressions are born out of comparison that our capitalistic society thrives off of. I mention this because bitterness is sometimes grouped with those emotions, I don’t believe in comparing emotions either. If we can take the healing time to pinpoint what we are feeling we are more equipped to express ourselves through outlets and to the people around us that we love and care for.
After that invited bitter botanical bite is there a sensation that now helps us surrender to a calmness that soothes the bitter into a different experience? After all, many botanical aromatics are also nervines that can shift our emotional states. Inviting the energies of plant allies into our vessels can conjure together parts of self back into fulfillment; back to ourselves. An age-old ritual union that alchemizes bitterness into action, so that it may shift into another shape and space besides the harbor and safety of your inner self. Our bitter plant allies can help us process out accumulated energy that is not needed that can create an unbalance while also welcoming in the absorption of what is needed.
Okay, back again on our path to seek out roots to invite into a bitters potion; a wise way to go, along with the weeds that grow round them.
Well…..look where we found ourselves…..in the weeds and with the roots. What a fine place to be. These botanical beings tend to thrive in a space guided by hands unseen making them most potent in their offerings of sacrifice, they go by many names…. but are commonly known as dandelion, burdock root, artichoke (leaf), yellow dock root, and milk thistle (seed) and their stories are quite ancient like all of the plant spirits that dwell here in harmony with the earthly, cosmic, and mystical creatures. Ahhhhhh….I don’t know about you my friends but this walk in the Garden of Bitters is really stimulating my spirit to craft up a seasonal bitters formula to enjoy.
Bitter herbs along with some selected liver allies help stimulate digestion that is idle or stagnant by helping generate and release beneficial digestive juices like mucus, bile, acids, and enzymes guiding a good flow while stimulating appetite and contractions within our digestive tract that help guide food and beverage from one phase of digestion to the next.
As we move into the colder season and welcome in more dense foods and beverages while also spending more time indoors having some bitter herbal allies makes for a more balanced eating experience for some and might just help speak to the bitterness that may need a friend to feel so that it may release and not store into stagnation.
There are many ways to enjoy bitters, we can use them fresh in our meals (salad greens like arugula, chicory, and radicchio are great bitter friends), infuse them into hot water, or by crafting up some herbal bitters that can be enjoyed by themselves or crafted into other beverages of choice like aperitifs. Aperitifs carry a lower alcohol percentage than cocktails and aid in digestion when taken before a meal. You could even make non-alcoholic aperitifs that are delicious!
To continue on this path we invite you to check out our Basic Bitters Blending Guide that also has one of my favorite bitters recipes that people always ask if I still make.
Below is a Basic Bitters Blending Guide.
Get a Jar (freshly sterilized)
Fill your jar with about 20 – 50 percent of well chopped bitter botanicals like artichoke leaf, burdock root, citrus peel, dandelion root and leaf, mugwort (I suggest varieties commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine rather than the native ones for internal use), horehound, catnip, chamomile, parsley and so many others.
Now sprinkle in some freshly ground aromatics like lavender, coffee, cacao beans, cardamom, fennel seeds, anise, and/or cinnamon.
Here’s one of my favorite blends that lots of people enjoyed:
Sunshine Bitters Blend by Guided Botanicals
Lots of Meyer lemon peels, this is the main botanical ingredient in this blend
(include some juice & pulp and make sure to leave the pith on your peels, this helps boost the bitterness of this blend)
Artichoke leaf sprinkled in (you can substitute with another bitter green)
Bay leaves (just a few)
Cardamom, enough to your liking in comparison to amount of bitters you are making
Organic vodka (this alcohol selection allows the flavors to shine, you could also experiment with natural white wines)
You could use glycerin or vinegar for a non-alcoholic blend but those options will change the flavor of the original blend.
Let sit for about a month. Strain. Bottle. Label. Share. Enjoy.
Friendly tip: It is suggested to take your bitters about 20-30 minutes before a meal to allow them enough time to work their magic which will also support the absorption of nutrients from your meal.
Guided Botanicals content is for educational purposes only. This website is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical conditions. We always invite you to do your own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements.