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bitters,various alcoholic beverages containing bitter principles, such as angostura bark, cascarilla, quassia, gentian, orange, quinine, and other flavoring agents, and prepared by infusion or distillation. They are used as appetizers, digestives, and flavoring for mixed drinks and frequently attain an alcoholic strength of 40%.
medicinal substances, predominantly of plant origin, which have a strongly bitter taste and are used for increasing the appetite and improving digestion. Used as bitters are preparations made from one medicinal plant (such as common wormwood, gentian, dandelion, centaury, or clover) or several (as in bitter infusion). The action of bitters consists of the reflexive intensification of gastric juice secretion as a result of stimulation of the endings of the taste nerves in the mouth. Bitters are prescribed in the form of decoctions, infusions, extracts, and liqueur.