hibiscus, lavender, elderflower, and chamomile bitters in a dropper bottle surrounded by dried herbs

Lavender, Hibiscus, & Chamomile Bitters | Flower Power for a Healthy Gut

Edible flowers make everything extra lovely! These ruby-hued digestive bitters are no exception. In fact, I’ve declared them a summertime necessity from this point forward. With all the anti-inflammatory antioxidant health benefits of lavender, hibiscus, elderflower, and chamomile, this bitters recipe is a big flower-powered YES to your digestive health.

Plus, they literally take 10 minutes of your precious hands-on time and can boost the health benefits of all your summertime refreshments.

HERE YOU’LL FIND:
What Are Digestive Bitters?
About the Herbs in These Flower Power Bitters
How To Make Edible Flower Digestive Bitters
How to Use These Bitters
Lavender, Hibiscus, & Chamomile Bitters Recipe

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sprig of fresh lavender flowers

I’ve been real into bitters lately. (I also feel like I say that about everything… what can I say, I’m a real curious person that likes to dive deep. 🤷🏻‍♀️)

But in all seriousness, I’ve had a decade-long fascination with digestion and gut health and the HUGE role that they play in our overall health. And to take that a step further, I’ll go ahead and say that bitter foods, herbs, and spices are legitimately essential to our health.

This particular herbal bitters recipe stemmed from a deep love of edible flowers. It all started with lavender and while lavender is so incredibly lovely and powerful on its own, I really felt it needed some floral friends.

And here we are, 4 incredible flowers later.


What Are Digestive Bitters?

Digestive bitters are simply extracts of nutritive and medicinal plants with bitter qualities that enhance digestion in a very complex physiological way. You can learn the nitty-gritty of digestion and how bitters positively influence the entire digestive system, from your mouth and all the way to the other end, in this post: The Complete Guide to Herbal Digestive Bitters.

It’s an over-simplification to just say that bitters help digestion. But in helping digestion, bitters also help to:

  • increase nutrient absorption
  • decrease unpleasant symptoms of poor digestion:
    • nausea
    • gas and bloating
    • constipation
    • indigestion
    • food intolerances
    • sugar and/or simple carbohydrate addiction
  • protect liver function (crucial to our body’s ability to naturally detox)
  • heal inflammatory damage to the intestinal walls
  • increase appetite

Nearly everyone can benefit from herbal digestive bitters, especially if you regularly experience any digestive issues.


About the Herbs in These Bitters

The Health Benefits of Chamomile

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is a cheery and unassuming little flower notorious for its calming effects. You’ll often see chamomile in herbal teas formulated for stress, anxiety, or sleep. In fact, a cup of chamomile tea is a classic bedtime tea.

And one of the lesser-known health benefits of chamomile is that it’s actually also considered to be a bitter herb. Underneath its subtle notes of apple and honey is a gentle, but powerful bitterness that puts chamomile in many herbal blends formulated for digestion.

But wait, there’s more! In addition to being a calming, mild sedative and a bitter digestive, chamomile is also considered to be:

  • Nervine (calming to the nerves)
  • Carminative (soothing to our GI tract & digestion)
  • Antibacterial
  • Antispasmodic
  • Wound Healing
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Cholegogue (stimulates the flow of bile from the liver to aid digestion)

One of the coolest things (in my opinion) about chamomile is that studies have shown that chamomile can also help to slow down the digestion of sugar, thus helping to regulate blood sugar levels.

organic bulk herbs and spices from mountain rose herbs

The Health Benefits of Lavender

Lavender (Lavendula spp.) actually has many medicinal qualities in common with chamomile. This fragrant flower that carries the memory of grandmothers everywhere is for so much more than soap and potpourri.

Here are some of the medicinal properties that make lavender such an amazing herbal medicine.

  • Diuretic
  • Carminative
  • Antimicrobial
  • Mild sedative
  • Antispasmodic
  • Anti-inflammatory

The Health Benefits of Hibiscus

Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a beautiful edible plant grown all over the world in tropical and sub-tropical regions. In fact, hibiscus tea is the quintessential summertime thirst-quencher!

The health benefits of hibiscus include:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Antimicrobial
  • Heart Tonic
  • Cholesterol-lowering
  • Diuretic
  • Hypotensive
  • Astringent
  • Demulcent (helps to soothe irritated and inflamed internal tissues such as mucous membranes)

The Health Benefits of Elderflower

And last but not least, these digestive bitters also contain elderflower, the delicate floral precursor to the herbal superstar elderberry. Elderflowers, like elderberries, are quite medicinal. In medicine, elderflowers are often used in the following ways:

  • Diuretic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Nervine (nourishing and soothing to the central nervous system)
  • Vulnerary (promotes wound healing and works to ease inflammation)
  • Demulcent
  • Expectorant (helps the body to remove excess mucus (often used in sinus infections))
fresh chamomile flowers

How to Make Lavender, Hibiscus, & Chamomile Bitters

This super floral chamomile bitters recipe is incredibly easy to make. The method is the same as making any herbal extract and basically consists of pouring alcohol over coarsely ground herbs and letting it sit for a couple of weeks before straining.

Here’s the quick rundown of the equipment and ingredients you’ll need, as well as the basics of how these bitters are made. You’ll find the full recipe at the bottom of this post. (If you’re ready to just dive in, skip ahead to the detailed recipe!)

Equipment You’ll Need

  • Spice Grinder or Mortar & PestleSpice grinders make work quick and easy! However, a mortar & pestle will do the job. I find the unpolished granite mortar & pestles are the best for grinding dried herbs and spices.
  • 1 Pint-Sized Sterilized Glass Jar with a tight-fitting lid (like a canning jar)
  • Fine Mesh Strainer – These are an herbalist’s must-have! Cuisinart makes a convenient set of 3 nested strainers.
  • Cheesecloth or Muslin
  • Small Funnel
  • Glass Measuring Cup with pour spout
  • Glass Bottle for Storage – You can store your bitters in any number of fancy glass bottles, use dropper bottles, or just keep them in any glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Ingredients

Method

  1. Powder the herbs. Add all herbs to either a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle and process to a coarse powder.
  1. Combine herbs and alcohol in a clean glass jar. Then, seal the jar with a tight-fitting lid and be sure to label (with ingredients) and date your jar. Give the jar a vigorous shake and then place somewhere dark for at least 2 weeks and up to 6 weeks.
  2. Strain the bitters. After at least 2 weeks, strain the herbs from the alcohol using a fine mesh strainer nested into a funnel and several layers of cheesecloth to strain the alcohol into another sterilized glass jar.
  1. Bottle and store the bitters properly. Store the bitters in a jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid or cork and keep it out of direct sunlight.
hibiscus, lavender, elderflower, and chamomile bitters recipe in a dropper bottle surrounded by dried herbs

How to Use These Real-Life Flower Power Bitters

There are many ways to use these floral digestive bitters. When I dreamed up this lavender, hibiscus, elderflower, and chamomile bitters recipe, I had summer refreshments on the brain. However, you can also use them more directly as digestive support by taking some before or after a meal.

Here are some of the many ways you can enjoy the benefits of these bitters:

  • Add a few drops to your sparkling water. Go wild and even add a splash of juice! (Although beware the added and artificial sugars in many fruit juices.)
  • Drop a few drops into your hibiscus or beet lattes.
  • Dream up your best summer cocktail and throw in some herbal bitters. Jazz up a boring ol’ vodka soda or perhaps enjoy them in a hibiscus margarita!?
  • Carry a small bottle of these bitters around with you for on-the-go digestive support. You can squirt a few drops straight into your mouth or add to a small bit of water before or after a meal.
  • Give them away! Homemade herbal digestive bitters make great gifts! For more herbal gifting ideas, check out my eBook Nourishing Herbal Gifts.

Try These Other Recipes for Healthy Digestion!

Wilted Dandelion Greens with Lemon Dill Vinaigrette
Dandelion, Mugwort, & Ginger Cordial
Homemade Coffee & Cacao Cocktail Bitters
Cinnamon & Pear Cordial
Candied Fennel Seeds

Carmelite Water (Lemon Balm Wine)

candied fennel seeds in a glass spice jar with a cork top and wooden spoon
bottle of cacao and coffee cocktail bitters with coffee beans, cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, and cacao nibs
dandelion greens salad

For more plant magic & herbal wellness in your life, be sure to follow along on ➡️ Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, & snag my herbal 📚 eBooks Nourishing Herbal Gifts & Holiday Pies from the (Un)Bakery. 🌿 And please don’t forget to tag me in your snaps 📸 @_botanyculture_. I love to see all the plant magic you make happen!

Lavender, Hibiscus, & Chamomile
Digestive Bitters

Difficulty: Easy
Quantity

12

fl. oz.
Prep time

10

minutes
Infusion time

2

weeks

With all the anti-inflammatory antioxidant health benefits of lavender, hibiscus, elderflower, and chamomile, this bitters recipe is a big flower-powered YES to your digestive health. Be sure to use white rum for the best color. Add these drops to sparking water, mocktails, cocktails, and more!

Ingredients

Directions

  • Powder the herbs. Add all herbs to either a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle and process to a coarse powder. Finely powdered herbs will be more difficult to strain from the alcohol, so don’t go too crazy with the powdering.
  • Combine herbs and alcohol in a clean glass jar. Make sure that all ingredients are covered by the alcohol by about 1-2 inches. This shouldn’t be a problem with this particular recipe. Then, seal the jar with a tight-fitting lid.

    Be sure to label (with ingredients) and date your jar. Give the jar a vigorous shake and then place somewhere dark for at least 2 weeks and up to 6 weeks. The longer you let it infuse, the stronger it will be.
  • Strain the bitters. After at least 2 weeks, strain the herbs from the alcohol using a fine mesh strainer nested into a funnel and several layers of cheesecloth to strain the alcohol into another sterilized glass jar.

    To prevent your alcohol from getting cloudy, do not press or squeeze the herbs, just let the alcohol run through on its own. Compost the herbs when finished.
  • Storing Your Digestive Bitters Store the bitters in a jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid or cork and keep them out of direct sunlight. The high alcohol content allows for shelf stability at room temperature. It’s generally recommended to use within a year, however, they’ll typically last much longer if stored properly.

Notes

  • *OPTIONAL: ADD HONEY – If you plan to take these bitters by themselves as digestive support, honey (or a sweetener of your choice) can help to mellow the bite of the alcohol, making it easier to actually take the bitters. It’s a personal preference. If you plan to add these bitters to your bartending kit or add them to anything at all, I’d skip the added sugar.

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hibiscus, lavender, elderflower, and chamomile bitters recipe in a dropper bottle surrounded by dried herbs

DISCLAIMER: The information given in this article is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult with your healthcare practitioner before consuming certain herbs & medicinal foods, especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking any prescription medications.

Find Organic Herbs & Spices at Mountain Rose Herbs

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