Swedish bitters

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Bottle label

Swedish bitters, also called Swedish tincture, is a bitter and a traditional herbal tonic, the use of which dates back to the 15th century.[1]


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.[2]

In modern times, Swedish bitters have been popularized by Maria Treben, an Austrian herbalist.[2] 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.[1][better source needed]


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:

There are variations on this recipe and herbal shops supply alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions of the drink.[3]

Maria Treben's book contains nine pages on this bitter, with a description of many ailments and their cures.[1]


  1. ^ a b c 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 Archived 8 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine (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.
  2. ^ a b (in German) Origin of Swedish bitters Archived 27 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine "Herkunft des Schwedenbitters".
  3. ^ Ingredients of the original Swedish bitters Archived 27 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine ″Zusammensetzung des Original Schwedenbitters″, german.