Swedish Bitters is a 500 year old herbal created by Dr. Phillipus Paracelsus, a 16th century Swiss Physician. It got its name from Dr. Claus Samst, a Swedish Physician who lived in the 1800?s. The recipe he used was found in his office desk drawer, after his untimely death at 104 of a horseback riding accident.
Maria Treben, the reknowned Austrian herbalist, is credited with re-discovering Swedish Bitters shortly after WW II. Since then, it has become the most popular herbal in Europe, commonly known as the "Long Life Elixir". In fact, there is a small booklet written with that particular title, available for a free download or a hard copy. Maria Treben used Swedish Bitters as the vanguard of all her herbal works, which she documented in detail in her 10 million copy all-time European bestselling book, Health Through God's Pharmacy. Available in 18 languages.
Maria used the 11 herbs of Paracelsus' recipe, which is known as Swedish Bitters Lesser. There is another version called Swedish Bitters Greater, which has 15 herbs, and is known mainly in Europe. She had such great success with the 11 herb Swedish Bitters Lesser recipe, that she never needed or bothered to use the Swedish Bitters Greater. Her method for preparation was to macerate the 11 herbs in alcohol, then bottle it. This is how it is still done to this day, resulting in an herbal containing the Swedish Bitters extract with 38% alcohol and water.
However, there have been some innovations in this method in the last 15 years, which have proven to be just as effective in keeping the integrity of the product, yet much more attractive for those who do not want to ingest alcohol. The most effective innovation has been the development of Swedish Bitters Concentrate, which has had all the alcohol removed, leaving a concentrated, herbal mixture of the 11 herbs of the Swedish Bitters.