Fire In The Belly: A Practical History of Bitter Herbs and Modern Applications

Sunday June 12, 3-5 pm

Online via Zoom

Digestive support is only the beginning of what bitter herbs can do!

Our sense of taste is the gatekeeper to the digestive system—and the rest of the body, as well. Our taste receptors prompt the cells on our tongues to send signals to our brain and throughout the body relaying important information about the nutritional value or potential toxicity of the foods we ingest. Of all of the taste buds, our bitter taste receptors are by far the most complex and can be found throughout our entire bodies: on our hearts, our lungs, in our sinus cavities and more. Over millions of years of human evolution, the bitter flavor has come to play an important role in both our digestive functioning and—as we are learning from recent research—our innate immune response.

In this two hour class, we’ll dive into the history of the coevolution of humans and bitter flavor and how bitter plants play a special role in preventive medicine, specifically when thinking about digestive and immune health. We’ll review the exciting current research around bitters and respiratory viruses and discuss what we know about the role of bitter taste receptors in COVID19 response. We’ll familiarize ourselves with the spectrum of common and accessible bitter herbs ranging from mild to intensely bitter in flavor, and come into deeper connection with bitter allies that can be incorporated into our everyday lives.

Arielle Bareket (she/her) is a clinical herbalist, registered nurse, gardener, and craftsperson with a deep reverence for the natural world. Like the interdependence of ecosystems around us, Arielle sees humans and their bodies as interwoven parts of a much greater whole. Arielle has been studying herbalism for over a decade and graduated from VCIH in 2020. She is based in central VT on unceded Abenaki land and sees clients in her private clinical practice. As a practitioner, she strives to create a healing space that is affirming, empowering, and rooted in harm reduction, trauma awareness and our relationship to the animate world. Learn more at or find her on Instagram at @goldenbonesbotanicals.

$50 general/$40 members/$25 BIPOC or low-income

Register here.