Herbal "bitters" are gaining popularity these days among adults, and it's no wonder why. They're a great way to support one's digestive health. They've not only been found to help stimulate digestion, but they're a great way to increase the amount of prebiotics in one's diet and support healthy bowel function, too.
But, no matter how great bitters are, convincing kids to take them is a struggle most parents face. Thankfully, there's a solution to this problem. Not only is this a great solution for mom and dad as it gets their children to take their bitters, but it's great for the child too because it tastes so good.
Help! My Kid Won't Take Their Bitters!
Most parents who have jumped on the bitters bandwagon happily take their Dandelion root or gentian tinctures before every meal. They drop just the right amount into a small cup of water, swirl it around, and down it goes. Some parents are even so used to the bitter flavor that they squirt the tincture directly in their mouth, swish it around, and swallow it. Excitedly, they offer the same herbs to their children so they too can benefit from healthy digestion, but their excitement is often met with something, well, less exciting. It's more like disgust. Mom and dad can do their best to explain to their child why s/he should take bitters, but it's no use. Most kids are not going to volunteer to swallow the second dose.
The Problem Is That Kids Don't Like The Taste Of Bitters
I think it's safe to say that children prefer sweet flavors on their plates and in their medicine rather than bitter ones. And is it any wonder? I prefer sweet flavors over bitter ones, too. However, as an adult, I have the maturity to know that bitter flavors are good for my body so I take them whether I like the flavor or not. Children are not at this point in life. When it comes to taking bitters to support a healthy digestive system, it's the bitter flavor that triggers this response in the body. As the taste buds in the tongue detect the the bitter flavors of the herbs, signals are sent via the nervous system to the brain and then to the gut that trigger digestion. Unfortunately, kids will miss out on these great benefits if they miss out on actually tasting these bitter flavors.
The Secret Lies In The Taste Of The Bitters
Mary Poppins hit the nail on the head when she sang, "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down." It truly does help, but when it comes to getting the most out of herbal bitters, you need the bitter taste to get the job done. So how does a parent get their child on board with taking bitters? They mask the bitter taste with a tastier bitter such as dark chocolate.
Bitter Chocolate Syrup Recipe
A Parent's Answer To Their "Bitter" Woes: Dark chocolate (70% Cacao content) has a slightly bitter flavor on its own, but most children are more receptive to eating dark chocolate than they are to taking an herbal bitters tincture. If you are a parent who has struggled with getting your children to take their bitters, take a chance with this yummy recipe and transform the bitterness of bitters into enjoyment.
- 1 tablespoon Cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon raw honey (use maple syrup for kids under 1 year of age)
- fresh juice from half a small lemon
- 4-5 drops of WishGarden's Badass Bitters Digestive Aid
- Combine Cacao, honey, and lemon together in bowl. Mix until well blended.
- Taste test to see if it needs a little extra of anything. Add more honey for more sweetness or to thin your syrup. Add more cocoa for more chocolate flavor or to thicken it.
- Bottle, label, and store.
Add 4-5 drops of digestive bitters to 1 teaspoon of chocolate syrup. Mix syrup with a small amount of milk to make chocolate milk, drizzle it over berries, or eat it straight off the spoon. Now you can say so long to "bitter" battles with your kids. This "bitter" chocolate syrup may be your new secret weapon to getting kids to take their bitters.
Author Megan Visser is a registered nurse, an herbalist, a mom. She is deeply committed to raising children naturally. Visit her blog, Growing Up Herbal to inspire and teach you how to take charge of your children's health naturally. You can do it. You don't have to have any letters behind your name.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or to sell any product.