Swedish Bitters: A herbal tonic

Woman looking out over coastline

Swedish Bitters

Swedish Bitters is a 400 year-old European herbal formula made popular through the well-known Austrian herbalist Maria Treben in her book “Health through God’s Pharmacy”. It is well proven over the years to be an outstanding digestive, liver and gallbladder tonic and is capable of supporting a huge range of body systems.

The bitter taste has a very important part to play in the effectiveness of the formulation. The liver, the keeper of balance in the body, is stimulated by the bitters in Swedish Bitters and will then produce fluids required for proper and complete digestion and drive toxins out of your system. 

It is very important to cleanse your body of toxins and unwanted substances. This helps to revitalise the entire circulatory system, which may help to regulate blood sugar levels, improve blood pressure and strengthen the immune system.

Skybright Swedish Bitters. Woman and herbs.

What are Swedish Bitters?

Swedish Bitters is a herbal tonic made from medicinal herbs and alcohol which helps extract the benefits of these plants. This tincture has a bitter taste, and is taken in small doses.

Why the bitter taste?

Bitters are an important class of botanicals that help support efficient digestive, assimilative, and eliminative functions. The primary function of Swedish Bitters is to help with digestive complaints like bloating, flatulence, sluggish digestion and constipation. Bitters stimulate the flow of bile from the liver, which in turn stimulates intestinal peristalsis and promotes nutrient absorption. By enhancing digestion, Swedish Bitters are a great help in cases of bloating, flatulence and gas.

“These bitter substances have almost been completely eliminated from the modern diet. This has caused some disturbance with our digestive system.”

Austrian herbalist Maria Treben in her book “Health Through God’s Pharmacy

Bitters have the ability to improve kidney and liver function, reduce bloating and improve metabolism. They can encourage toxin elimination, restore natural acid balance in the stomach, stimulate circulation and act as a gentle laxative.

When used externally, it can alleviate inflammations of all kinds if applied to spots, wounds, bruises, and scars.

The ingredients in Swedish Bitters:

As the herbs in Skybright Swedish Bitters are sourced from different countries around the world, all herbs are tested in a pharmacy lab to make sure they are free from contamination before they are used in the formula. It is a gluten-free formula, and suitable for people with lactose intolerance.

Skybright Swedish Bitters – Aloe Vera plant & Carline Root
Aloe Vera (left) and Carline Root

Aloe Vera & Carline Root
Aloe Vera soothes and cleanses and helps decrease irritation in the stomach and intestines, aiding proper digestion. Carline Root supports healthy immune, respiratory, reproductive muscular systems, and normal bladder function.

Skybright Swedish Bitters – Myrrh and Saffron
Myrrh (left) & Saffron

Myrrh & Saffron
Myrrh helps to build up the body’s defence mechanisms and is effective in keeping the digestive, sinus and respiratory organs healthy. Aids in maintaining healthy skin. Saffron supports healthy sleep patterns. It’s also good for the health of the uterus and digestive tract.

Skybright Swedish Bitters Camphor and Rhubarb Root
Camphor (left) & Rhubarb Root

Camphor & Rhubarb Root
Camphor is a bitter herb that can reduce inflammation and help to ease pain and spasms by supporting joint mobility and normal muscle function. It can also enhance digestion and kill intestinal parasites. Rhubarb Root aids healthy intestinal motility, and assists the skin’s natural barrier.

Skybright Swedish Bitters – Zedoary & Angelica Root
Zedoary (left) & Angelica Root

Zedoary & Angelica Root
Zedoary supports healthy digestive organs and is commonly used for colic, spasms, loss of appetite, and indigestion. Angelica Root aids proper digestion by flushing out toxins and maintains the respiratory system. It supports a healthy bladder, joint mobility and helps the skin eliminate toxins.

Skybright Swedish Bitters – Gentian & Theriaca Venezian 
Gentian (left) & Theriaca Venezian 

Gentian, Manna & Theriaca Venezian 
Gentian is used for digestion problems such as loss of appetite, bloating and heartburn. Manna helps to maintain proper bowel movement. Theriaca Venezian has diuretic, digestive and antiseptic properties.

One teaspoon (5ml) contains:
Aloe Vera 33.3mg, Gentian 33.3mg, Camphor 33.3mg, Manna 33.3mg, Theriaca Venezian 33.3mg*, Rhubarb Root 33.3mg, Zedoary Root 33.3mg, Angelica Root 33.3mg, Carline Root 16.5mg, Myrrh 16.5mg, Saffron 0.7mg. In a base of 40% medicinal alcohol and purified water.

*Theriaca Venezian is a herbal blend that contains Angelica root, Diptam Root, Cardamom Seed, Cinnamon (Cassia), Bistort Root, Myrrh, Zedoary Root & Valerian Root.

How to take it

Shake bottle well, and take 1-2 teaspoons or 10ml in a shot glass after meals. May be taken in water, herbal tea or juice to dilute it. It will help soothe the stomach after eating, stimulate digestion and alleviate indigestion.

In Europe, bitters are taken in a shot glass before or after meals to stimulate digestion, settle the stomach before eating and neutralise the damages of alcohol. After a heavy meal, Swedish Bitters can be quite helpful against indigestion, as well as to relieve bloating and gas. 

Keep out of reach of children. Do not use if pregnant, breastfeeding, or if vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea or abdominal pains are present.

Skybright Swedish Bitters. All-natural, Vegan-friendly and Gluten-free.

Warning: Contains alcohol

Swedish Bitters is produced in a base of 40% alcohol. This helps extract as much as possible from the herbs, while also preserving the shelf life of the tincture. To evaporate the alcohol, add 5-10ml to a cup of hot water and allow to cool.

The alcohol used in Swedish Bitters is gluten free. It is sourced from whey protein and is made in New Zealand. It is medicinal alcohol.

Disclaimer:
The information in this article is not intended as a medical prescription for any disease or illness. Nothing stated here should be considered medical advice. Use as directed. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare professional. 

Deer Antler Velvet

Skybright Deer Antler Velvet to strengthen, protect and restore

Deer Antler Velvet to strengthen, protect and restore 

Deer Antler Velvet comes from the antlers of male deer, and is the name  given to the softer new growth that is covered in velvety hair. It’s been used in Chinese medicine for over two thousand years for its health giving properties. 

It is rich in amino acids, essential fatty acids, collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, omega 3 and omega 6, and many other important vitamins and minerals. These work together to help strengthen the immune system, support healthy blood pressure, boost energy levels, aid joint mobility, promote recovery, reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular health and function.

Deer antlers can grow up to 2cm per day.
Deer antlers can grow up to 2cm per day.

A renewable resource
The antlers regenerate swiftly every spring (up to 2cm per day), and because of this quick growth, they are a rich source of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. The antlers are removed before they harden into bone.

Made in New Zealand
This process is done by trained and accredited farmers and veterinarians here in New Zealand, who ensure minimum discomfort to the deer. The velvet is then freeze dried to preserve the nutrients and ground to a fine powder.

Traditional uses
The uses of Deer Antler Velvet are many and varied, but they tend to fall into the general categories of support for: body strengthening, blood cell production, the immune system, healthy joint function and cardiovascular health.

Our Deer Antler Velvet capsules are an authentic 100% natural, sustainable New Zealand product of the finest quality. 

Immune system support
Deer Antler Velvet has the ability to strengthen the body’s natural immune system, counter the effects of stress, and promote rapid recovery from illness. It is also used at the onset of winter to ward off infections.

Sore joints?
Deer Antler Velvet is a natural source of anti-inflammatories such as chondroitin and glucosamine sulphate. It helps inhibit the breakdown of cartilage, and supports healthy joint structure and function.

Recover faster
Widely used by athletes to support improved sports performance, Deer Antler Velvet is an excellent promoter of recovery after physical activity and aids injury recovery time along with also being an injury preventive.

“I’m 68 years young and have been taking this product for four years and I have not noticed any reduction in suppleness in my joints”

— John

Blood circulation
Research has shown that Deer Antler Velvet supports the oxygen carrying capacity of blood, facilitating healthy blood pressure and circulation. Blood pressure reduction is due to its ability to increase dilation of the peripheral blood vessels.

Back into balance
Men and women of all ages can benefit because it supports the body’s ability to adapt to and resist stress, diseases, degeneration and toxins. Deer Antler Velvet helps bring the body’s systems back into balance.

Are there any concerns?
As with all dietary supplements, you should not exceed the recommended daily dose and should consult your healthcare professional if you are on prescription medication.

Skybright Deer Antler Velvet 500mg capsules are Made in New Zealand from the finest grade Deer Antler Velvet.
Each capsule contains 500mg of pure, finest grade Deer Antler Velvet.

Directions: 

Take two high-strength 500mg capsules daily or as directed by your healthcare professional. All doses to be taken with food. Not for use in pregnancy. Use as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. Each jar contains 100 Capsules. Each capsule contains 500mg of pure, finest grade Deer Antler Velvet from New Zealand Red Deer.

Disclaimer:
The information in this article is not intended as a medical prescription for any disease or illness. Nothing stated here should be considered medical advice. Use as directed. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare professional. 

Effervescing Anti-Uric Salts

Man drinking Skybright Anti-Uric Salts from a glass of water

Effervescing Anti-Uric Salts

Effervescing Anti-Uric Salts can assist in balancing uric acid levels and support your body’s natural pH. It’s a popular blend of natural minerals that can assist joint mobility and reduce swelling and discomfort in the joints.

Uric acid is a naturally occurring chemical produced when the body breaks down purines – a type of protein found in the body, and in most foods. Increased levels of uric acid from excess purines may accumulate in your tissues, and form crystals. This can cause high uric acid levels in the blood. Purines are found in high concentrations in foods such as red meat, organ meats, seafood, game meats, and sugary and alcoholic drinks.

In normal quantities, uric acid is a natural and healthy antioxidant, helping to prevent damage to blood vessels. Although uric acid levels are mostly increased through diet, other factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, weight and genes can all play a part.

✔️ Helps eliminate uric acid

✔️ Assists with joint mobility

✔️ Supports your body’s natural pH

It can also assist with:

✔️ Arthritis

✔️ Rheumatism

✔️ Urinary tract infections

✔️ Indigestion & Heartburn

✔️ Inflammation of the joints

Hyperuricemia (High Uric Acid)

Hyperuricemia is an excess of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid passes through the liver, and enters your bloodstream. Most of it is excreted in your urine, or passed through your intestines to maintain normal levels. However, if your body produces excess uric acid or if it isn’t excreted it accumulates in your body in the form of urate crystals. 


X-ray showing high uric acid and urate crystals in the joints.

Uric acid and urate crystals in the joints
These needle sharp crystals irritate and inflame the cartilage around the joints. It occurs most often in the big toe but it can strike other joints such as the knees or the elbows. It is more commonly found in men than women by a factor of 10 to 1.


Avoid long-term damage to joints with Skybright Anti-Uric Salts

Avoid long-term damage
This inflammation can lead to excruciating pain, swelling, redness, heat and stiffness in the affected joint. If untreated, these crystals can form knobby, chalky lumps in the joints or under the skin called tophi and can cause long-term damage.

High uric acid levels are more commonly found in men than women by a factor of 10 to 1.

Supports your natural pH

An imbalance of pH in the body can interfere with uric acid balance, with levels may increasing causing considerable discomfort in the joints of the hands and feet. Anti-Uric Salts may assist by supporting an optimum pH level.

Man drinking water from water bottle.
Drink plenty of water to help reduce and remove uric acid from the body.

Drink plenty of water

In order to aid the elimination of uric acid in the body drink plenty of water, to dilute uric acid and flush it from your body. Try to decrease your intake of refined carbohydrates (grains, sugars, starches) and alcohol.

Man clutching knee with inflammation.

“Excellent stuff, it helped the swelling go down in my knees, I have told friends about it as they had swelling in the knuckles in their hands.”

— Vanessa

Directions for use:

Take 1 teaspoon (5g) in a glass of water in the morning. 1 x 165g Glass Pot = 33 Servings. Uric acid levels are at their highest in the morning so by taking them before breakfast, they are flushed out of the system before food intake. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help reduce and remove uric acid from the body.

Skybright Anti-Uric Salts next to a glass of water.
Take 1 teaspoon (5g) in a glass of water in the morning.

One teaspoon contains: 

Sodium bicarbonate 2.25g, Acid tartaric 2.25g, Potassium hydrogen tartrate 275mg, Magnesium sulphate 225mg. Store in a warm, dry place. People on medication should consult their doctor before using Anti-Uric Salts.

Sodium bicarbonate: Used as an antacid, for short-term relief of stomach upset, to correct acidosis in kidney disorders, to make the urine alkaline during bladder infections and to minimise uric acid crystallisation during gout treatment.

Acid tartaric: An antioxidant which occurs naturally in many plants, particularly grapes, bananas, and tamarinds, and is one of the main acids found in wine. 

Potassium hydrogen tartrate: A byproduct of wine making and an acid used to activate sodium bicarbonate.

Magnesium sulphate: A naturally occurring mineral. Magnesium is important for many systems in the body especially the muscles and nerves. 

Precautions:

People on medication, with high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, kidney disease or pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult their doctor or healthcare professional before using Anti-Uric Salts. Excess consumption may have a laxative effect.

Anti-Uric Salts has high sodium content per dose due to the sodium bicarbonate. This means it may be inappropriate for someone with high blood pressure, on a sodium restricted diet or concurrent use with antacids (also high in sodium).

Sodium bicarbonate inhibits folic acid absorption therefore supplementation with folic acid is advised for people taking Anti-Uric Salts long term. 

It may inhibit the absorption of iron supplements if taken at the same time. It should be taken more than 2 hours before of after iron supplementation.

Disclaimer:
The information in this article is not intended as a medical prescription for any disease or illness. Nothing stated here should be considered medical advice. Use as directed. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare professional. 

Why is Zinc essential?

Why is Zinc essential?

There are more roles for zinc than any other nutrient. It is one of the most important elements for our health, yet one of the most deficient in our diet, especially here in New Zealand.

The chronic lack of zinc in Aotearoa is due to the quality of our soils and the impact of the foods we eat, and the water we drink.

Here’s an overview of the critical roles this mineral plays in our bodies. Also see our handy guide: A to Zinc.

Zinc’s Role

Zinc is involved in hundreds of processes within the body, and it helps us absorb and utilise nutrients from our food.

It plays a role in immune function, helping repel and overcome bacterial and viral infections like the common cold. It assists with growth development, protein and DNA synthesis, and is effective in wound healing.

Zinc is essential for the brain and neurological function as well as the maintenance of vision, taste and smell. It nourishes the scalp and helps maintain strong and healthy gums, hair, skin and nails. It can help avoid hair loss, which can be a symptom that you may be deficient. Zinc can control the production of oil in the skin and help balance some of the hormones that can lead to acne. Many skin disorders can be attributed to insufficient zinc.

Zinc is important to our health and wellbeing throughout our life. It supports normal growth and physical development during pregnancy, and this support continues through childhood and adolescence.

There is almost no part of the body that zinc doesn’t benefit, either inside or out.

It is key to both male and female reproductive health and is vital as we grow older, as it helps maintain bone density and muscle bulk.

However, zinc can be harder to access through diet for both women and men as they age, as the body doesn’t have the ability to store minerals. New Zealand surveys have shown that 52% of middle-aged men aren’t getting enough zinc each day, and that figure increased to 90% for men aged over 70.

Zinc has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms.

Zinc and the Common Cold

Much research has been done around zinc and its capacity to combat the common cold. Although studies examining zinc treatment on cold symptoms have shown varied results over years, it appears to be beneficial under certain circumstances.

The Cochrane Report concluded that taking it within 24 hours of developing symptoms has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms in healthy people by up to a third. It does this by directly inhibiting the rhinovirus binding and replicating and suppressing inflammation.

More research is needed to determine the optimal dosage, formulation and duration of treatment before a recommendation for zinc in the treatment of the common cold can be made.

Some of us need zinc more than others.

Studies have shown that New Zealand men have lowered zinc status, especially as they age. Men require an RDI of 14mg just to prevent deficiency.

Several New Zealand studies have suggested that many adolescent girls aren’t getting enough zinc and this may be affecting their growth and development. This could be due to changing diets, less red meat and seafood being consumed, as well as the prevalence of processed foods, which are often refined and lacking minerals and other nutrients.

Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers also require bigger intakes, as there are high foetal requirements for zinc, and lactation can also rapidly deplete mineral stores. Breast milk provides enough zinc (RDI 2mg) for baby for the first six months, but zinc needs to be acquired from food sources as the child grows. Supplementation of zinc has been shown to improve the growth and development of some children who have exhibited a mineral deficiency.

Zinc has limited storage capacity with our body, so a deficiency can develop quickly if we’re not restoring and replenishing.

Diagnosing Deficiency

Blood tests are not a reliable method for detecting zinc deficiency as most of the zinc in our bodies is retained in our cells rather than in our blood. However, there is a simple test you can take to measure your zinc status, which can often be provided by your local health shop.

It involves taking a tiny amount of zinc sulphate, dissolving it in water and then tasting as little as a spoonful. This test works because zinc is required for your taste buds to function.

If you notice a bitter, astringent taste you are not deficient. If this bitter taste is delayed by more than a few seconds, you need more zinc in your diet. If there is a much longer delay or if you don’t notice the bitterness or it tastes like water, you may have a deficiency and will need to restore your zinc levels.

In this case, you may already be experiencing some common symptoms of a low zinc status such as frequent colds or infections, weak sense of smell and taste, hair loss, slow wound healing or skin disorders and inflammation.

You may be advised to supplement with zinc for a period and look to include more zinc-rich foods in your diet, such as lean red meat, dairy, seafood, poultry, or whole-grains, beans and legumes.

Getting Zinc into Your Daily Diet

The best source of zinc is rock oysters, which contain significantly more zinc than red meat and grains but are often not a regular part of our diet. Fats, which contain very little zinc, also tend to dilute zinc from the diet.

Lean red meat is an excellent dietary source, and it is also highly bioavailable, meaning your body can absorb it much more readily. Green leafy vegetables and fruits contain modest sources of zinc.

There is almost no part of the body that zinc doesn’t benefit, either inside or out.

Some animal-free options include whole-grain breads, cereals, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes, but these foods also contain phytates, which can bind zinc and therefore inhibit its absorption. While these plant-based options are good dietary sources, the bioavailability is often lower than animal- based products.

Vegetarians often require as much as 50% more of the RDI for zinc than non-vegetarians.

Note that techniques such as soaking beans and grains in water for several hours can reduce this binding of zinc by phytates and thus increase bioavailability.Vegetarians often require as much as 50% more of the RDI for zinc than non-vegetarians.

Studies from New Zealand nutrition surveys and overseas research suggest most of us are accessing only half of the daily zinc we require from our diet.

Zinc Deficiency Inhibits Absorption

Once you become zinc deficient, it can be very difficult to improve zinc levels purely through food alone, as your body’s absorption often depends on having enough zinc in the first place.

In addition, if you are recovering from an operation, have suffered emotional stress, or been over-exercising, your body will look to use all the available zinc on offer in an effort to heal. Zinc is one the few minerals lost rapidly in the urine after suffering acute psychological stress.

Gastrointestinal surgery and digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease can decrease zinc absorption. Other illnesses associated with zinc deficiency include chronic liver disease, alcoholic cirrhosis, anorexia nervosa, chronic renal disease, diabetes, malignancy and sickle cell disease. Diarrhoea can also lead to excessive loss.

Supplementation may then be required to achieve good zinc status and you will then be able to maximise your zinc from food sources once again.

Summary

While we should be getting our important vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the food we eat, there are often factors that prevent this from happening.

Soil depletion, the prevalence of processed food and bouts of illness can lead to mineral deficiencies that prevent the nutrients reaching the cells in our body and enabling the hundreds of processes that keep us healthy.

It is important to be aware of some simple things we can do to restore and replenish these minerals, to maintain optimal levels and supplement when needed to avoid larger health problems.

References:
Coory, David. Stay Healthy by supplying what’s lacking in your diet. 1992
Schauss, Alexander G. Minerals, Trace Elements, & Human Health. Life Sciences Press. 1995
Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper,
Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001
Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011
Prasad AS. Zinc deficiency: its characterization and treatment. Met Ions Biol Syst 2004