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Bitter compounds are not a uniform group of chemical compounds with similar skeleton or biosynthesis. The bitter compounds include all substances which have a bitter taste. This may therefore come from other groups of substances such as bitter tasting alkaloids or glycosides. Due to their effect on the digestive system, they also have a medical benefit. They stimulate digestion and promote gastric secretion. The example of herbal liqueurs shows the wide and long known application.
Several plants contain bitter compounds. Important examples are listed in the following table: