A potent old herbal tonic that is truly a legend, Swedish Bitters is based on a recipe originally formulated by the 16th century Swiss German alchemist Paracaelcus, although it disappeared shortly after his death. While the formula was rediscovered in the eighteenth century by Swedish doctors Klaus Samst and Urban Hjarne, it wasn't until the early twentieth century that its startling health benefits became known to the wider public, due largely to the efforts of the Austrian herbalist Maria Treben and her famous book, Health Through God's Pharmacy.
The carline thistle is an important ingredient used in making Swedish Bitters. Image courtesy of Evelyn Simak/Wikimedia Commons
Swedish Bitters has been credited as a very effective treatment for a wide range of common maladies and health issues. While a health professional should always be consulted for serious conditions, a bottle of this miracle mixture is invaluable in the home medical cabinet, to be used both internally and externally. It's also a great general health tonic, so even if you don't have any outstanding issues, a small dose a day can be very effective for maintaining and enhancing wellbeing.
Black cohosh is also used to manufacture Swedish Bitters. Image courtesy of Schnobby/Wikimedia Commons
Amongst the many common health issues that benefit from Swedish Bitters are colds, flu, fever, arthritis, constipation, poor digestion, stomach cramps, hay fever, nausea, insomnia and circulatory problems. A teaspoon mixed with a cup of water, taken a few times a day is recommended. It's also a very potent blood purifier, when one teaspoon is added, three times a day, to a cup of stinging nettle tea. In addition, a cotton wool or compress soaked in Swedish Bitters can be applied externally, to treat rashes, cuts, warts, ulcers, scars, ear aches, fatigue and even sore eyes.
A dose of Swedish Bitters is not for the faint-hearted. As its name indicates, it's intensely bitter and some people, especially children, can find this to be off-putting. However, if you can overlook the taste and focus instead on its many health benefits, you'll soon find yourself reaping the benefits of this miraculous, extremely potent herbal concoction. As a general health tonic, I take one teaspoon daily, diluted in a glass of water. You can also add it to juice or herbal teas. To learn more about Swedish Bitters, take a look at this website, or purchase a copy of Herbs and Health with Hilde Hemmes from your local health food store or online.