Swedish bitters is said to have been formulated in a similar way to ancient bitters by Paracelsus and rediscovered by 18th century Swedish medics Dr. Klaus Samst and Dr. Urban Hjärne, though this appears to be mistaking the latter for his son, Kristian Henrik Hjärne, who himself invented a bitter.
In modern times, Swedish bitters have been popularized by Maria Treben, an Austrian herbalist. The tonic is claimed to cure a large number of ailments, and to aid digestion. These claims are presented with little in the way of scientific evidence to support them, though empirical evidence provides for a very large database of positive results.
The alcoholic Swedish bitters is purported to have a similar flavor to Angostura bitters, though perhaps drier. Nowadays, it is more common to prepare Swedish bitters from a dry herbs mixture
The following herbs are added to alcohol to make Swedish Bitters:
- aloe as active ingredient
- water extract of the following herbs:
- angelica root (Angelica archangelica)
- carline thistle root (Carlina acaulis)
- camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)
- manna (Fraxinus ornus)
- rhubarb root (Rheum palmatum)
- senna (Senna alexandrina)
- theriac venetian (theriac) (a mixture of many herbs and other substances)
- zedoary root (Curcuma zedoaria)
- Original Big Swedish Bitters that contain 22 herbs, here is the link to this perticular product(in French) Maria Treben, La Santé à la pharmacie du bon Dieu (original title: Gesundheit aus der Apotheke Gottes - Ratschläge und Erfahrungen mit Heilkräutern). Ed. Wilhelm Ennsthaler (http://www.ennsthaler.at/) , Austria. ISBN 3-85068-123-8. First edition : 1983.
- (in German) Origin of Swedish bitters "Herkunft des Schwedenbitters".
- Ingredients of the original Swedish bitters ″Zusammensetzung des Original Schwedenbitters″, german.