Migraine Remedy using Tonic Bitters
One of the unique aspects of herbs are the bitters. These were the mainstay of herbal manufacturers years ago. Tonic bitters' were sold in every pharmacy, and 'tonic stout' was prescribed by doctors on the NHS for elderly patients as well as breastfeeding mums until the early 1970s. Many of the famous herbal tonics are still based on bitters, nearly every country has a national favorite. The French drink gentian wine, Swedes export their bitters, the British put theirs in stouts and beers, Italians prefer vermouth, Mexicans use angostura which gave us pink gin.
How bitters work
Bitter taste buds are located at the back of your tongue. They are designed to detect poisons and trigger a gag reflex, so you spit out food which is bad for you. Humans can overcome the bitter revulsion reflex by three methods: telling ourselves it's good for us, adding nice flavors or adding alcohol! The body however, still working to the primeval instruction handbook, initiates a process to rid the body of unwanted chemicals. The liver produces more enzymes and bile in response to messages sent in the brain from the taste-buds. Saliva flows abundantly to cleanse the mouth, activity in the stomach and pancreas increases, resulting in better absorption of nutrients and elimination of toxins. Pre-dinner drinks are good for you after all! A recent hospital trial showed that patients who received nasty tasting medicine recovered more quickly than those whose medicine tasted bland. The effect was thought to be psychological, patients felt better because they thought their horrible medicine was more effective.