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Swedish bitter

Swedish bitter

Macerated preparation of several medicinal plants, useful in case of skin problems, from wounds to pimples, scars or blisters, helpful to treat stomach pain and poor digestion, rheumatism, gout, cold sores and sore throat, sinusitis, headache and tired eyes
The Swedish bitter is a preparation obtained by maceration of various medicinal herbs and characterized by several and interesting properties and applications. Its formulation is attributed to Paracelsus, a Swiss doctor, alchemist and astrologer of the sixteenth century who called this powerful and, for that time, truly portentous product, Elixir Ad Longam Vitam, or elixir for a long life. Nowadays we know this natural remedy thanks to the well-known Austrian herbalist Maria Treben who, in her famous work Health Through God's Pharmacy, offers the recipe and the different uses of the Swedish bitter according to the notes of a Swedish doctor, Dr. Samst, who lived in the seventeenth century and worked on the formulation of the Swedish bitter of Paracelsus. The peculiarity of the Swedish bitter is that it may be used to treat several diseases, as many as 46 according to Dr. Samst's notes. Let's see the main ones.

Properties and applications

Useful to treat wounds and crusts, also in the nose, blisters, fistula, hemorrhoids, skin rashes, insect bites, cracked skin, calluses or scars. In these cases, you can apply more times a day a gauze soaked in the Swedish bitter directly on the part. In case of toothache, sore throat or cold sores in the mouth you can add a tablespoon of Swedish bitter in a glass of water and rinse the mouth or use to gargle. Swedish bitter is also considered useful in case of poor digestion, stomach cramps, intestinal problems, fermentations and flatulence, colic and constipation. In these cases, according to the advice of Maria Treben, it is possible to take a tablespoon of Swedish bitter diluted in an herbal tea or a glass of water. In case of sinusitis, you can apply cotton disks soaked in Swedish bitter on the forehead, in the area above the eyebrows, nose and eyes. Maria Treben describes also cases of rheumatism and gout healed with a teaspoon of Swedish bitter added to a nettle tea drunk three times a day for three weeks.


Swedish bitter may be easily found in herbalist’s and chemist’s shops or you can prepare it by yourself. If you like the homemade preparation, here for you the recipe given by Maria Treben according to the original formulation of Paracelso. You need 10 grams of Aloe, alternatively powder of Wormwood, 5 grams of Myrrh, 0.2 grams of Saffron, 10 grams of Senna leaves, 10 grams of Camphor, 10 grams of Rhubarb root, 10 grams of Turmeric, 10 grams of Manna, 10 grams of Theriac venezian, 5 grams of Carline Thistle root, 10 grams of Angelica root and finally a liter and a half of 40% spirit. Pour the spirit in a wide-necked bottle and leave to macerate all the herbs for 15 days in the sun or near the stove or a radiator. You have to shake it every day, then, at the end of the two weeks, shake it again and filter the liquid in a small bottle. Close the bottle and store it in the fridge, in this way the homemade Swedish bitter can be preserved for many years.
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