What Are the Benefits of Swedish Bitters?

Updated July 19, 2017

In the 14th century, the Swedish physician Dr. Phillipus Paracelsus developed the formula for the herbal extract known as Swedish Bitters. In the 18th century, Dr. Claus Samst rediscovered the formula and wrote the "46 Points" detailing the bitters' professed healing properties. Much more recently, in the late 1970s, an Austrian herbalist named Maria Treben wrote a book entitled "Health Through God's Pharmacy," which reawakened interest in this herbal remedy.


Swedish Bitters are professed to have healing effects on skin disorders such as pustules, eczema, blisters, pockmarks, old wounds and scars, swellings and bruises, burns and insect and animal bites.

Women's Concerns

Swedish Bitters are said to help with morning sickness, and to promote birth as the due date approaches. For nursing mothers, they allegedly can help heal inflammation of the nipple. They also may help regulate blood flow during menstruation.

Internal Cures

Bitters are said to help people with epilepsy, hearing loss or tinnitus, eye diseases, dizziness or headaches, stomach cramps or colic, sore throats and fever, liver disease, haemorrhoids, and frostbite. Two tablespoonfuls, it has been claimed, can make a drunk person sober.


Combine 10g each of aloe, senna leaves, camphor, rhubarb root, zedvoary root, manna, theriac and angelica root; 5g each of myrrh and carline thistle root; and 0.2g saffron in a bottle. Cover with 70- to 80-proof rye or fruit-spirit liquor. Let stand in the sun or a warm place for 14 days.

How to Use

Dilute 1 to 3 teaspoonfuls of bitters in water or herbal tea. Drink half of the mixture half an hour before and an hour after each meal. For topical treatment, cover the affected area with vaseline or similar ointment, then apply the bitters with a cotton ball. Cover the area first with a piece of cling film to seal in moisture, and then with a cloth bandage. Leave it on for at least two to four hours.


All claims of benefits, as well as the recipe for bitters, come from the original "46 Points" of Claus Samst's "Old Manuscript," written in the 1700s. These claims are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration nor substantiated by modern medical research. Check with your doctor before ingesting or applying any form of this medicine.

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About the Author

Penelope Kendall is a professional graphic designer who has written articles and copy for newsletters, brochures and advertising materials. She covers dieting, nutrition, interior decor, nature and gardening.