Bitter herbs have a well-deserved reputation as digestive aids in most systems of traditional medicine, and in many systems of cuisine. The ability of bitters to support balanced secretion and motility, especially in the gastric phase of digestion, relies on a few important mechanisms that are mediated through taste receptors (T2R family) and involve neuronal, hormonal, and vascular effectors.~ Guido Masé, from Herbal Bitters (2015) https://www.americanherbalistsguild.com/sites/default/files/bitters-mase-2015_1.pdf
Bitter herbs have a role in appetite regulation, blood glucose management, and obesity. This is something I’m only just now learning. They have been used medicinal for, pretty much, all of recorded history, and the more medical science looks the better things are looking. More recent traditions have added “bitters” to drinks (an Old Fashioned is a classic example) but—say it ain’t so western culture!—the bitters at your local bar are more for taste then for function.
Anyway. The linked PDF paper was an eye opener.
Also eye opening: We sat around our kitchen table this morning tasting various bitters—the same way you’d do beer, scotch, wine… or any other tasting. Tres interessant!