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Herbal Bitters Review – Is it Effective?

By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

Reviewed by Rebecca Williams, MD, MA, MB, BChir

Last Updated:

Evidence Based | Summary | Ingredients | Health Benefits | Cautions | Cost | How To Take | Final Thoughts

Herbal Bitters are dietary supplements that aim to improve digestion and the liver function, but may also be used as an ingredient in cocktails. The company behind the formula is Urban Moonshine.

Urban Moonshine is a young company from Vermont, US having been founded in 2009. Consequently it may not be well known on the bitters market. They specialize in the production of organic bitters and tonics, which are based on their own herbal formulations. However, the product range offered is pretty narrow. The company also offers herbal education lectures.

The manufacturer advertises Herbal Bitters as containing a mix of organically grown herbs which can help digestion or which can be used in making classic cocktails. They contain only grape alcohol, which is free of gluten. Moreover, the formula developed by Urban Moonshine does not have the laxative effect that classic bitters used to.

Herbal Bitters are supposed to help people suffering from stomach upset like bloating, constipation, gassiness, or those with liver problems. They may also be used regularly in order to maintain a healthy liver and digestion. Pregnant women as well as individuals suffering from stomach ulcer should not use Herbal Bitters, according to the product’s directions of use.


1) What is Herbal Bitters?

Herbal Bitters from Urban Moonshine are dietary supplements that contain a mix of bitter and aromatic herbs. One of the formulation’s main ingredients is gentian root, a traditional herb in bitters due to its intense taste and effectiveness in digestive problems. Gentian root has been used for a long time in treating diarrhea, mild heartburn and vomiting. Due to its bitter taste, it stimulates the production of saliva, bile, and stomach secretions, thus improving digestion. Gentian also encourages the absorption of iron so it is also a remedy against anemia. Test tube studies have shown the herb possesses antifungal and anti-inflammation properties. Potential side effects include vomiting, headaches and nausea.

The formula for Herbal Bitters comprises a mix of herbs whose effectiveness has not been researched by scientists. However, several plants that have traditionally been used in preparing bitters, like gentian and angelica.


2) Herbal Bitters Ingredients

Herbal Bitters include the following ingredients: Organic Gentian Root, Organic Dandelion Root and Leaf, Organic Fennel Seed, Organic Angelica Root, Organic Burdock Root, Organic Yellow Dock Root, Organic Orange Peel, Organic Ginger Root, Organic Gum Arabic, Organic Essential Oils, Organic Maple Syrup (in Maple Bitters), Organic Grape Alcohol, and Pure Spring Water.

3) What Does Herbal Bitters Do?

Herbal Bitters are aromatic herbal blends containing a mix of herbs of which some can improve the functioning of the liver and digestive tract, and some offer more pleasant tasting. One of the key ingredients in the formulation is dandelion root and leaf. Dandelion is considered in some cultures as simply a weed, but some people have also used it as a treatment for liver conditions. Moreover, the Native Americans employed it as a remedy for mild heartburn, skin problems, kidney conditions and stomach illnesses. The Chinese also used in stomach upsets and to improve breast milk supply. European have been using dandelion for centuries against fever, diarrhea and diabetes. Nowadays, dandelion is used for detoxification and as a diuretic, meaning it can help in eliminating excess fluids. Dandelion roots also stimulate appetite. Clinical research on the benefits of dandelion is limited and has mostly been done on animals. Preliminary clinical trials have shown that dandelion may be useful in treating diabetes as it may lower sugar blood levels and that it may also help increase good cholesterol levels. Also, it might reduce inflammations.

The formula developed by Urban Machine for their herbal bitters has not been scientifically researched however this is a common characteristic of many herbal supplements. The supplement works by encouraging the secretion of digestive enzymes and juices, which helps the stomach in breaking down food.

Herbal Bitters come in three flavors, Original Bitter, Maple Bitters and Citrus Bitters, each in three bottle sizes. Urban Moonshine recommends consuming the product before or after meals to improve digestion. It may also be used to reduce sugar cravings. The spray formula should be spritzed one or two times directly onto the tongue. Customers who bought the dropper bottle should take a partial dropper and increase the dose if necessary. Taking a small dose is indicated especially for people who do not usually consume bitter tasting foods and drinks. However, the product should not be used by pregnant women or individuals suffering from a stomach ulcer.

There are several online testimonials on Herbal Bitters. What it has been reported includes the following:

  • Like them a lot but do find them subtle than other bitters, meaning need more dashes than others.

  • It tasted interesting.

  • There is nothing that works better for digesting a meal

Health Benefits

4) Herbal Bitters Health Benefits

  • They are available in several online stores and directly on the manufacturer’s website
  • Shipping charges are affordable
  • It is an organic formulation based on natural ingredients
  • It does not contain gluten

5) What You Need to Know Before Taking Herbal Bitters

  • The price range of $4.5-$15.5 per ounce (depending on the bottle size) recommends Herbal Bitters as relatively expensive products
  • The manufacturer is quite new on the market (since 2009)
  • There are not many online customer testimonials

6) Herbal Bitters Cost

Herbal Bitters are sold in bottles of three sizes: glass spray bottles of 15 ml (recommended to travelers), dropper bottles of 2 ounces and refill bottles of 8.4 ounces. The average cost for one month’s supply recommends it as a relatively expensive product, but this also depends on your daily dose.

The formula can be ordered directly from the manufacturer’s website. It is also available in other online stores. Shipping charges are affordable. Moreover you can see the retail stores where the bitters can be purchased offline on Urban Moonshine’s website. The products are also available in bars and restaurants.

How To Take

7) How to Take Herbal Bitters

The product comes in spray bottles, dropper bottles, and refill bottles of ½ oz, 2 ozm and 8.4 oz respectively. For spray bottles, the manufacturer recommends spritzing 1-2 times directly onto the tongue. A partial dropper is advised when the product is taken for the first time; the dose can be increased if necessary. The bitters should be taken either before or after meals in order to improve digestion or to stop a sugar craving. They may also serve as a cocktail flavoring.

Final Thoughts

8) Final Thoughts on Herbal Bitters

In our view, Herbal Bitters may not be a household name as it is marketed for less than five years by a manufacturer which does not have a long established reputation. The fact that the product is not well known may be backed up by the relatively limited number of online customer reviews. Nonetheless, the ingredient list contains herbs which are known for helping in digestion problems and improving the liver function, therefore the formula may be effective. In our view, it would be safer to ask for professional advice if you suffer from a certain illness so as to avoid adverse effects.

You can also choose a more robust nutrition blend like Allmax Vitastack. It contains 7 natural blends designed to be a complete source of daily nutrition from digestion to immunity.

3/5 - (2 votes)
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K. W.

I like the spray, it’s is to carry anywhere.