Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Martha
Posted on: February 2, 1999

Have you heard of Swedish Bitters? It is suppose to be good for allergies. Yarrow tea also. I suffer with bronchitis and seasonal allergies. The medication from the doctor works for a while, and then it is changed. I get a cough and it last for ever. The cough makes me tired, and irritable. Also what is a good herb for the energy level?

Swedish Bitters is a mixture of herbs documented and used by a Swedish doctor who died at age 103 in a riding accident. Maria Treben has documented the recipe and its many uses in her book "Health from God’s Garden". Both the book and Swedish Bitters powder are available from Richters. For allergies, Maria Trebin recommends Stinging Nettle tea and Swedish Bitters: "3 to 4 cups of Stinging Nettle tea with three teaspoons of Swedish Bitters diluted with the tea, will bring relief in a relatively short time".

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) has a history of use as a blood tonic, circulatory stimulant and anti-allergy. Nettle tea can be made by steeping one teaspoon of dried nettles in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes.

Yarrow is anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, a digestive tonic, circulatory tonic and relaxant. It should be helpful for your symptoms.

For more information on herbs for allergies, please go to our website at, and then go to the "Q&A" area. Choose "Search Richters Q and A" then enter the word "allergies" for the search.

It is quite likely that your allergies and cough are related to a food allergy. Dairy products and gluten are the most common food allergens, and oranges, chocolate, food colourings, flavourings and preservatives are fairly common. When you start taking herbs, it is important to alter your diet to find and avoid food allergens. We usually recommend avoiding all dairy products in any form for a week or two. Even the smallest amount of a food you are allergic to will trigger your allergic symptoms. You can get ideas for substitute foods at a health food store.

With food allergies, your food is not properly absorbed. This results in low energy levels and susceptibility to infection.

To relieve your cough you could try Licorice (not if you have high blood pressure), which is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and soothing. Other herbs used for coughs and bronchitis are Mullein, Thyme and Wild Cherry Bark. Inhaling the steam of Chamomile or Peppermint tea or oil helps to relieve inflammation and irritation.

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