Bitters are known to have medicinal qualities.

I've never used them beyond making killer cocktails... But, I've noticed that orange bitters, in particular, will imbue me with an added vigor or gusto, at times. I've heard certain bitters can be consumed for stomach and headaches but, I've never been able to replicate the affect.

What added physiological or psychological sensations have any of you noticed when consuming bitters? Which bitters have you consumed for what particular ailment(s)?

10 Answers 10


I usually use either Jägdbitters (a Jägermeister-like bitters sold at Aldi) or my family's version of Bärenjäger (which I prepare at home - nope, it's not bitters, but it was also used historicaly for the same purpose), mostly when I feel a cold coming up due to catching rain.

Jägermeister gives a soothing feel to the throat if taken when you're already with the cought, but if taken as a preventive, it makes me feel like a warm blanket was dropped over my shoulders and I don't get the actual cold afterwards. It always works we me too, better than pharmacy bought stuff.

  • Do you take the Jägermeister room temperature or chilled?
    – Oliver
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 1:47
  • Room temperature, usualy. I've also taken it warmed to body temperature once or twice, since I had it on my hipflask and that was on my jacket's pocket. Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 15:50

When I tended bar, I had several regulars who would drink club soda with a couple splashes of bitters to calm an upset stomach. But it never did anything for me personally.

I don't know if it's purely a psychological effect or a your-mileage-may-vary situation.

  • Do you recall what bitters this patron would request? Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 16:15
  • @Super Query Lad She wasn't particular. Pretty sure we just had Angostura.
    – John Feltz
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 16:15

I use it when my thorat is hurting. But I also like it just by the taste of it. My favorite one is called "Hopfenbitter"



I have episodes of heartburn, usually from eating beef or potatoes and I find it very soothing to drink a splash of bitters in club soda. I make homemade bitters with ginger, grapefruit, gentian root, and several spices that seem to be the most effective. Bitter herbal liqueurs are popular in Europe for before or after a meal to stimulate the appetite or aid digestion.

Gentian root is one of the most common bitter agents. While I don't know of any clinical studies, gentian root has been used in herbal medicine for centuries to treat digestive issues. It makes sense from an evolutionary perspective because bitter compounds are mostly found in plants and are often more or less poisonous. If the body produces more digestive enzymes in response to bitter flavors, the extra enzymes can neutralize the poison or extract more nutrition from the plant material. It's certainly not totally effective, salivary enzymes won't save you from hemlock poisoning, but it could reduce the ill effects of mild poisons.


Angostura bitters and club soda is a regular drink in my house. I find that it calms my stomach and just generally makes me feel better. I like to use a heavy dose of bitters--usually like 8-10 dashes--per 8 oz of soda.

Fernet is also a real godsend for digestive ailments, but be warned that it's very, very bitter.


When I have a nasty cough or a cold I drink Jägermeister to soothe the sore throat and to keep me from coughing every five seconds. I find it cools my throat and makes it less itchy. This works really well for me, a lot better than actual cough medicine.

  • Come to think of it, I've had the same experience with Jagermeister!... I've only imbibed it a few times - once, at the suggestion of a friend when I had sore throat. It definitely helped! Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 16:13

Commonly known amongst bartenders, a remedy for curing the hiccups is to eat a lemon wedge doused with bitters. (In case anyone is wondering... don't eat the rind. Bleh.) Traditionally Angostura bitters are used, although it's possible that Angostura's use is due to availability, for a long time it was the only type of bitters most bars carried. A caveat though, the lemon trick is only recognized for curing hiccups induced by drinking alcohol. I say it's still worth a try, no matter the cause of the hiccups. If the flavor sounds unappealing you can put granulated sugar on the lemon in addition to the bitters. Sugar has a hidden benefit too, it's a known hiccup remedy when taken by itself... and not just the ethanol induced ones.


I use gentian bitters (made from violets, such as Fee Brothers Aromatic Bitters, Peychaud's Bitters or Angostura) with soda water for stomach ailments. It really does the trick.


For me, the best remedy for a particular type of stomach pain is bitters----horrid tasting Underbergs, delicious Jaegermeister, or intermediate Fee Bros Cardamom. Visiting Hungary, I have now discovered Unicum. I believe they all work by triggering the release of acetylcholine, which causes release of gastric acid, increased peristalsis (propelling movement of stomach and intestines), bile secretion and possibly direct effects on intestinal lining cells. Really a godsend sometimes, especially when traveling since they are so widely available abroad.


Ramazzotti, an Italian herbal/bitter liquor. I drink a shot glass full of it when ever I have a stomach ailment. Works like a charm. And tastes great on ice and some like it with a touch of lemon in it as well.

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