It is not a football team. It is not the latest rap song. It is not the hottest clothing line.

White American Ginseng is a root that has been used in Oriental medicine for thousands of years. It is a medicinal herb, slightly bitter in its taste, and with a cooling effect. There are several types, and it is most commonly used to treat stress, to increase energy and alertness, to help lower blood pressure, to boost the immune system, and to improve cardiovascular healthy. It has also been used for fighting infections including colds and flu. What I’m obsessed most about is Ginseng’s adaptogenic properties that allow it to adapt to your body’s needs such as increasing immunity to fight a fever, calming stress with heightened cortisol, or easing the cramps of tummy aches. And, yes, it’s also known to burn fat cells and to stimulate blood flow, which is ideal for glowing skin, hair health, and libido, but we’ll save that for another blog!

WOW! Why doesn’t everyone include Ginseng in their diet? Because it’s BITTER!

I cannot pretend to be an expert on bitters; there is actually not a lot to be found in the vast, easily-accessible resources of the 21st Century. That alone should tell you plenty! Bitters went by the wayside with the modern day era of sweets, processed foods, and artificial flavors. We favor salty, sweet, and sour; the food industry knows this, and suddenly you have a feedback loop that doesn’t favor bitter.

Bitters releases an initial negative response to the palette, and some species have actually evolved to have eliminated the bitter taste from their repertoire! I hope we aren’t one of them, though it appears bitter is on its way out, and so too are the health benefits we stand to gain!

The sensation of taste can be categorized into five basic tastes: sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami. It’s no surprise that these tastes interact with our cells and sweetness signals our brains that we are eating energy-rich foods. Sweetness rules the day! Bitterness, on the other hand, just as the linguistic term has come to mean, indicates poison or toxin, so we don’t include it in the Standard American Diet anymore. You just can’t find it at your local fast food chain! 

It’s no surprise that dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables such as collard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale are ideal sources for the taste of bitter, yet most of the bitter greens we consume are laden with sugars, dressings, and fats (think Southern Collard Greens with Bacon!!!)  to minimize the bitter reflex. But that defeats the benefit of bitters. What’s more, most don’t eat these powerhouses of nutrition but gravitate to the more sugary carrots, tomatoes, potatoes and the like!

It’s time to put bitter back into your palette, and an easy, fast way to do it is by adding 1-2 tsp of White American Ginseng to one glass of water with lemon juice each day. Ginseng comes in liquid form, and in one glass, you’ll receive great health benefits, including the taste of bitters! How easy is that? And when this combination tastes so refreshing, why not?

You need BITTER in your diet everyday!

Bitters signals a chemical chain of events in your body, known as the bitter reflex, in which you receive many health benefits:

  1. Your taste buds are balanced to crave more nutritional foods;
  2. You receive an added boost of vitamins and minerals since dark leafy greens are generally in the bitter family;
  3. Your detoxification from processed foods is increased as bitters encourages the movement of waste products out of the liver;
  4. Digestive juices are released, thus creating more enzymes to improve digestion and nutrient absorption;
  6. Stress is decreased as it assists to revitalize and to restore cortisol, stress hormone, levels.

Don’t be bitter…Drink up! And when you do, please tell me how you like it! Tag me when you do! 

Use my health coach code “pacerkristen” to redeem $50 off  White American Ginseng and my other recommended Organic Superfoods!