Swedish Bitters: A Beginners Guide

The modern diet is often lacking in one of its four cornerstones – bitter foods. Bitter is not always the most popular taste for people to seek out. As a result, bitter foods are often lacking in our diets yet they’re so important to healthy digestion. Cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, dark cocoa, dark roasted coffee, dandelion greens, artichoke and some beers like stout and India Pale Ale are some examples where you’ll find the bitter taste. 

Swedish Bitters is a traditional herbal tonic, it’s recipe varies slightly depending on which country or company you’re getting it from. It has German roots and very strong historical ties with Austria and Sweden. 

In the 18th century, Swedish Bitters was rediscovered by Swedish medics Dr. Claus Samst and Dr. Urban Hjärne and in modern times it has been popularized by Maria Treben, an Austrian herbalist. Maria Treben helped pioneer a resurgence of interest in herbal medicine by perfecting her own bitters formula of local herbs and using it to heal a wide variety of ailments both internal and external. The formula gained tremendous popularity worldwide through her book Health through God’s Pharmacy.

Flora’s Swedish Bitters uses Maria Treben’s original formula but without alcohol, instead using a water extract, so more people can enjoy the benefits of bitters. 

How does it work?

One of the main functions of the Swedish Bitters is to promote secretion of pancreatic and gastric juices and soothe the digestive tract. Tonic stimulates liver functions and promotes secretion of bile from the liver that serves to emulsify or break down dietary fat and clear cholesterol out of our body.  Having a healthy liver will enhance the overall digestion process and prevent bloating and flatulence and ensure a smooth nutrient absorption.

Health Benefits

Swedish bitters is often called a natural detoxifier that can help the organs work in a synergistic manner. Although there is tons of anecdotal evidence about this purported miracle tonic.   

So why do we need bitters and what are their benefits? Bitters prime the upper digestive functions of the stomach, liver and pancreas via nerve reflex from the taste buds. They go to work as soon as you taste them, leading to a cascade of effects throughout the digestive system. Saliva increases, increasing bile production, stomach acid, and digestive enzymes, encouraging the intestines to start moving. Studies have shown that gastric secretion declines with age and is dramatically low in those 65 years and older. By stimulating the digestive system, bitters help with issues like indigestion, gas, bloating, constipation and nutrient absorption. 

Moreover, having bitter foods as a part of your daily diet can be very beneficial to your health.  Many studies confirmed that getting a proper amount of bitter flavor foods is a key benefit to your digestive health and many important health benefits. Swedish Bitters contain high level of bitterness and taking it diluted with water, tea or juice regularly can help you to:

  • Fight Sugar cravings
  • Relieves gas, bloating, flatulence, cramps and nausea
  • Sooth Occasional heartburn
  • Increase digestive enzymes, bile & HCL production
  • Calm upset stomach and nausea, soothes digestive tract 
  • Promote absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K
  • Help maintain healthy blood sugar levels
  • Balance appetite
  • Ease constipation and regulate bowel movements
  • Support liver function and healthy skin
  • Improve biliary, pancreatic and gastric secretion
  • Help with toxin elimination
  • Acts as a gentle laxative
  • Restore natural acid balance in the stomach
  • Stimulate blood circulation
  • Using Swedish Bitters externally will help alleviate inflammations of all kinds if applied to spots, wounds, bruises, scars and contusions

According to the “Old Manuscripts”, Swedish herbs help to fight pain and dizziness, smallpox and rashes of all types. Can be used when suffering from toothaches and blisters on the tongue. They also can relieve stomach cramps, colic and help when suffering from constipation

Flora’s Swedish Bitters

At Flora, a  long company history of working with herbal formulas made Maria’s Swedish Bitters a natural choice for product line. It’s a potent, comprehensive, synergistic formula that’s been tried and tested for decades now. There are 13 herbs in the formula: angelica root, zedoary root, aloe leaf, manna sap, rhubarb root, senna leaf, myrrh resin, carline thistle root, camphor wood, valerian root, cinnamon bark, cardamom seed, and saffron flower. Together, these provide bitter, digestive, laxative effects, anti-spasmodic effects, cooling anti-microbial actions, and warming, blood circulating effects for an overall, strengthening effect on digestive health.

The formula is made by a special, step by step process involving macerating and percolating herbs together in a water extract under low heat. 

The finished tincture is tested for certain marker compounds to guarantee potency and effectiveness. Prior to accepting the raw materials, the herbs are tested for identity and active ingredients, heavy metals, pesticides, and microbiological contamination.

Recommended Use: 

  • Shake the bottle well before using.
  • Take 5 ml (1 tsp) in water or herbal tea, 3-4 times daily.
  • Keep refrigerated and use within six weeks of opening.

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