Side effects of bitters?

MissGuineaFebruary 27, 2013

I'm going to preface this with the fact I'm scheduled for a doctor's appointment, so I'm not posting here for medical advice. I just want to know folk's opinion on these herbs or whether they've had similar experiences.

I started taking a bitter spray to see if it helped with my weak digestion (Urban Moonshine brand). A few days of taking it I started having a second period 5 days after my first once ended, which I had at first thought was a miscarriage. Since tests showed no pregnancy hormone anywhere in my system, I'm starting to look suspiciously at these herbs. It's been exhausting trying to find potential negative side effects to herbs on the net, so I figure I'll ask here.

The ingredients are as follows: grape alcohol, water, dandelion root and leaf, angelica root, burdock root, orange peel, fennel, yellow dock root, gentian root, ginger root, gum arabic, and unspecified essential oils.

Any expanded information of effectiveness or side effects with these individual herbs is greatly appreciated. I understand that even herbs can have harmful side effects or not work at all. I'm not even sure if taking bitters actually helps stimulate digestion!

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It's difficult to say, but I have to ask . . . do you have any kind of menstrual problems normally? What are they?


    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 8:25PM
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No menstrual issues up until now. I'm on oral contraceptive that regulates everything perfectly. I've been on the same pill for 8 years.

Angelica root (Dong Quai) has an effect on hormones, so could it be potent enough to throw me out of whack?

If herbal bitters are actually effective at improving digestion, would it be worth it to buy a Dong Quai supplement to see if it was indeed the cause?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 10:16PM
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Yes, dong quai could definitely throw things off. Especially if you've been taking it for any length of time. (4 weeks or more.)

Keep in mind that contraceptives such as the pill can mask symptoms that could otherwise be indicative of conditions that may have developed over those 8 years. See! The more we "chat", the more of a picture I'm seeing. It gets too complicated for a simple answer on this forum. But it sounds like you're smart enough to figure many things out for yourself.
Be safe.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 4:50PM
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angelica root can indeed be responsible for this, its the only herb in that formula that is known to do this routinely. there are other herbs that do the same bitters work without inducing bleeding so its not the best choice for a general bitters formula.

if you know, is it angelica archangelica or angelica sinensis?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 12:43PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

It is hard to say.. You don't know what the herbs where sprayed with,etc. Personally, I would try and make my own; if possible... Avoid anything in plastic.. At least try and get organic, glass bottle. If you are sensitive to alcohol you could burn the alcohol off. Or use a glycerin tincture...better yet, pick your own fresh herbs and consume them fresh! I have a vitamix and blended up some really potent herbs. I consumed too much and was puking my brains out! Herbs are very powerful medicine! A handful goes a long way! Best of health

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 12:25AM
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glycerin will not make a good bitters formula, its too sweet! the therapeutic bitter flavor is masked by the sweetness.

bitters have a cold drying energy so are best for the person who runs hot and is overly damp on the inside...if we give bitters to a cold dry person their condition worsens.

a cold dry person does better with a warming carminative herb formula to assist with digestion. one i give to clients with this constitution consists of equal parts finely ground black pepper, anise seed and ginger powder, made into a thick paste with honey. the client eats just 1/8 teaspoon 20 minutes before a meal to warm the stomach and prepare it to receive food, stimulate flow of digestive juices in the mouth and stomach and assist digestion.

a mild bitter tonic might comprise fennel seed, dandelion root, and cardamom for example.

cheers! hope this helps

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 7:49PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Bitters, glycerin? Ya kind of defeats the purpose... But,. for the majority of the herbs i dont see a poblem.. Sorry,Should of been more specific!Its interesting you brought up that point.. Is it really the flavor of the herbs, or is it the herb as a whole, if you will... Either way, I think you will see improvements... That being said, I personally eat my herbs fresh, without masking it's raw flavor... Matter a fact I blend my herbs which makes it more pungent! We need more different ways of thinking like this! Interesting...


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 8:59PM
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you got it raw nature, its both the bitter flavor and the whole herb!

the flavor itself is therapeutic. bitter flavor on the tongue signals the liver, gallbladder and stomach to get ready to digest food. bitters are found in the diets of all traditional cultures in some form.

the whole herb is also therapeutic obviously. cheers!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 9:57PM
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Yellow dock also alters hormone levels.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 4:56PM
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    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 7:51PM
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that's an intriguing statement lazygardens (that yellow dock herb alters hormone levels)....could you elaborate please?

specifically i am interested in your ideas on how that mechanism works.

thanks in advance for the info, kali

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 3:11PM
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That's why it's in many hot flash preventive mixtures ...
Mol Pharmacol. 1993 Jul;44(1):37-43.
Commonly occurring plant flavonoids have estrogenic activity.
Miksicek RJ.

Department of Pharmacological Sciences, State University of New York, Stony Brook 11794-8651.

"A remarkable diversity of naturally occurring and synthetic compounds have been shown to mimic the biological effects of 17 beta-estradiol by virtue of their ability to bind to and activate the nuclear estrogen receptor."

Yellow Dock is extremely high in these flavenoids.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 3:11PM
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I believe the interpretation is askew. "Alters hormone levels" doesn't quite define yellow dock's actions accurately.

No need to worry about hormone levels when taking yellow dock.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 4:56PM
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oh okay! reading your post more carefully agree that yes yellow dock does can alter levels by occupying receptors, this leads to down regulation of the hormone in question.

yellow dock also helps clear a stuck phase I detox pathway in the liver, when this pathway is clear the liver breaks down and recycles excess this way it also can alter levels.

the effects are indirect but real. cheers!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 11:32PM
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Are you saying that the end result of clearing this pathway might be eventually a normal leveling of our natural hormones? I guess I may have misunderstood. Are we talking digestive, growth, or sexual hormones that may increase?

This is a new thought for me, but it kinda' makes sense the way you explained it.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 9:52AM
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heads up herb doctor. i'm ignoring you and eric_oh from now on so will not be responding to any of your insults or questions.

goodbye and good luck to you, kali

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 12:08PM
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