Its exact recipe is still not known, but today it is used both for medicinal purposes and as an aperitif or a pleasant and healthy addition to basic food and drinks. In this article, you will learn how to drink Riga Balsam correctly, about some of its components, as well as how it is used in medicinal wholes.
A bit of history
This drink was invented by a Riga pharmacist in the 18th century and presented it as a cure for colic to the Russian Empress Catherine 2. Then it was called “Kunze Balm” and had a simpler recipe and a slightly different composition than it is now. Then the composition became more complicated and the balm changed its usual taste and composition. Its main ingredients were an alcoholic tincture, several herbs such as lavender, sage, fennel seeds, and many other herbs.
In 1847, a factory for the production of this balm was established in Riga, the recipe of which was carefully kept secret until the beginning of the Second World War. And only in the 50s this recipe became known and the Riga Balsam went on sale again. But its exact recipe is still known only to its producers.
The modern composition of the balm
To date, it is known for certain that the Riga balsam consists of 24 components, among which there are purified and specially prepared water, ethyl alcohol of the highest standard, berries such as blueberries, raspberries and lingonberries, sugar, Peruvian balsam, ginger, honey and many useful herbs. On sale you can find the usual Riga balm in a brown bottle and black Riga balm with a rich blackcurrant aroma, which is stronger in concentration than the usual Riga balm.
Many components that make up the balm have a strong tonic effect. But since its composition is kept in the strictest confidence, it is difficult to understand whether it is possible to drink it for medicinal purposes for those who are allergic to herbs. Therefore, before using it, try to find out if you are allergic, for example, to raspberries or lime blossom, as well as to other herbs that make up the balm. Also, the traditional Riga balm has several varieties, such as:
- classic Riga balm. It is sold in a branded brown bottle, which has the traditional composition of the Riga Balsam. It is useful for both medicinal and culinary uses and is often bought for just such purposes.
- Black Riga Balsam. It is sold in a black bottle with a company logo and has a richer balsamic flavor and composition. In it, many clearly feel the taste of blackcurrant, so it is used more for culinary purposes than for medicinal purposes. Such a balm is often added to coffee or drinks in small doses, as it has a very rich taste and bright aroma.
- black butter balm. This is a cocktail version of Black Riga Balsam with a pronounced creamy taste. It, like the black Riga balsam with pronounced notes of blackcurrant, is used for culinary purposes, although it can have a pronounced anti-cold effect. It is also added to various cocktails, coffee, ice cream and desserts, both homemade and restaurant cooking. There are other types of Riga Balsam that are rarely found on sale or are produced in limited versions.
How to use for medicinal purposes
Initially, it was used to improve the overall tone of the body, so in the old days, Riga balm was prescribed to patients with anemia, loss of appetite, as well as for some colic or colds. Since the Riga balm has a composition with many herbs, it also helps with some inflammatory skin diseases, but before using it externally, you need to consult a doctor.
Riga Balsam has a pronounced anti-cold effect, only the balm should be applied immediately, as soon as you feel unwell. To do this, simply add a tablespoon of the balm to hot coffee or tea with lemon, or even better, to a hot blackcurrant drink. To do this, mix a tablespoon of balm with blackcurrant jam, then pour boiling water over everything and take it in slow sips. This drink helps fight the first signs of a cold.
Tonic effect. If you take the Riga balsam in a tablespoon before meals, it not only helps to cheer up, but also significantly improves the absorption of food, and also increases vitality. Some people who suffer from anemia and experience lethargy note cheerfulness and a surge of strength after taking Riga Balsam, therefore, to raise vitality, Riga Balsam is added to morning coffee, ice cream or juice. Only such a drink should not be taken before classes or work, since the balm has a pronounced smell of alcohol, so experts advise taking it in small quantities or not at all.
Against a hangover. If you mix Riga Balsam with cranberry juice, you get a tonic drink that will help you not only relieve a hangover, but also increase your body tone. Therefore, such a drink is very full to take after the holiday.
Antidepressant. Recently, scientists have proven that Riga Balsam helps with depression, which is confirmed by many buyers who regularly take Riga Balsam. It not only allows you to relieve fatigue, but also apathy, which is often characteristic of people suffering from depression, both organic and situational. But it should be used only if you are not taking medication or antidepressant drugs in an apathetic state, since the balm contains a high degree of alcohol.
To improve appetite and improve intestinal tone. At the very beginning, when the Riga balsam had a more simplified composition, it was used for medical purposes, including for the treatment of intestinal atony and the normalization of its condition. Then, when herbs and other useful substances began to be added to the balm, they began to use it as an aperitif before meals. But if you have bowel problems, colic, mild bowel infections, as well as loss of appetite after surgical interventions, then you need to take a little Riga balm on an empty stomach as a medicine to tone the intestines. But, before use, you should consult a doctor.
Any Riga balsam, especially with various aromatic additives, can be added to ready-made dishes. Most often, it is added to cocktails and low-alcohol drinks, to various creams and dessert fillings, to ice cream and cake fillings, as well as to various dressings for exotic salads.