I’m feeling hurt, I have been let down, my expectations were greater than the outcome…..I’m feeling bitter.
Ok, I will let you in on a little secret I am a bit of a hippy about this kind of stuff and I don’t feel comfortable with bitter feelings, somewhere inside me I think that the world should be all Solar Powered Rainbow Tipis and Chai tea and Djembe beats.
But hey, life’s not like that. There is light and there is darkness. Which got me thinking. Could those bitter feelings actually be serving me? Might they be a red flag, a sign, a message from me to myself, saying “that stuff 'aint good for you, don’t swallow that shit!”
Should I say hello to my bitter feelings and befriend them? Maybe they have something useful to tell me.
The bitter taste in foods has been researched quite a lot, by people that are into that kind of thing. It is generally recognised that the level of bitterness in a substance denotes its toxicity. It is believed that the bitter taste allows us to know how poisonous a substance is when we are ingesting it. Basically when we taste bitter, our tongues are saying “Warning Will Robinson! This has poison in it!”
A certain level of bitterness is considered to be desirable, think of the bitter quality of coffee, chocolate or olive oil.
Being a herbalist I am quite used to using bitter medicines. Bitter herbs are used to strengthen the digestive system. Bitters stimulate digestive juices, tonify the mucous membrane of the intestines, help rid the body of parasites and encourage good elimination. Strong bitters are low dose herbs.
Let’s put it this way…
Bitters give you guts
Bitters help you rid yourself of things that suck the life out of you
Bitters will help you let go of unwanted toxic waste
Too much bitterness is poison
A certain level of bitterness is strengthening. It serves us. It sharpens our senses and wakes us up to things that are draining our energy.
I was drawn to a medicinal weed yesterday while I was taking our doggie for a run (her name is Luna by the way and she is REALLY cute!!). I had to stop and take a photo.
The herb was Centaury.
Centaury is a bitter tonic, mostly known these days for its use in Bach Flower essences, where it is indicated for those kind and gentle people who find it hard to say no. People who are considered “a push over”, the door mat type.
Yes I know, those of you that know me know that I am not a push over (to say the least) and those of you that don’t know me can probably tell :)
But sometimes you don’t have to be that way for people to treat you that way.
In Traditional Western Herbal Medicine Centaury is a bitter tonic that is used for gastrointestinal complaints, to stimulate appetite, and to relieve indigestion and constipation.
Centaury, like all bitter tonics sharpen our sense of taste. It hones our discernment for what we put in to our bodies and our lives.
Are you constantly swallowing that which does not serve you?
Is your taste not properly judging what good nourishment is for you?
Is your mantra “I can’t stomach any more of this!”?
Maybe you feel overwhelmed, and yet you still can't say no to yet another favour to a friend
Or you've allowed people to take you for granted
You've been overlooked, and under appreciated
Do you need more inner strength?
Are you awake to what is in your life that does not serve you?
Are you paying attention to that feeling of bitterness?
Do you need to let go of toxic habits or relationships that are not serving your higher purpose?
Am I asking too many questions?
Bitters can help us find that strength. And I think that my bitter feelings are fortifying my spirit against that which does not serve me, and allowing me to let go of what I no longer need.
Yes, harboring bitterness can be toxic, but remember it's the dosage that makes bitterness a poison or a remedy. Catch your bitterness in small doses, act on it's message, eliminate what is not in your best interest.
Peace out my lovelies
Melanie Turner, Naturopath, mother, gardener, lover of wholesome food