Riviera Pharma & Cosmetics GmbH - formerly known as Robert Schrenk Production of Chemical and Cosmetic Products - first registered the name and logo for “Original Swedish bitters” (“Original Schwedenbitter”) as a trademark back in 1981. Since then, the bitters have been held in high regard by pharmacists and enjoyed tremendous popularity with customers. Riviera Original Swedish bitters is made from 13 select herbs which soothe the stomach and bowel, aid digestion and help with bloating.
In 1980, Maria Treben published the book “Health from the Pharmacy” based on her personal experiences. Treben fell ill with abdominal typhus and was given a bottle filled with a strong smelling liquid from a stranger. She made a compress with the liquid and applied it to her stomach, regaining her health as a result. As a result of this experience, she made her own mixture of Swedish bitters and decided to help the general public. For example, she treated a young woman for pneumonia, restored a woman’s hearing and provided relief to a man’s intestinal cancer.
Dr Urban Hjärne was a follower of Paracelsus and set up a laboratory in Kungsholmen where he developed recipes, including his Swedish bitters recipe which he sold in pharmacies in 1692 as “Elexir amarum Hjaerneri ad longum vitae” (translation: Bitter remedy by Hjärne for a long life). This recipe was recommended for gout, fever, colic, paralysis, coughs and swollen legs.
Applying Swedish bitters externally even came into play during the 30-year war, when Dr Claus Samst treated injured troops with an elixir made from the herbs. He drafted an old manuscript detailing 46 problems which could be treated by using Swedish bitters. This manuscript was only published after his death.
People preserved or candied herbs and consumed them to aid digestion as far back as the Middle Ages. In the 16th century, Paracelsus developed one of the first recipes of the mixed herbs in Salzburg. Over the course of his life, he published an array of medical literature and was known as the “Luther of Medicine”.