Miracle Tonic


The Back of the Packaging of a Bottle of Klosterfrau Melissengeist

Austrians seem to believe in the restorative and medicinal power of strong alcohol. A common “elixir” to buy in pharmacies, supermarkets, and drugstores is called Klosterfrau Melissengeist, a tonic consisting of strong alcohol (80% – or 160-proof) with 13 healing herbs. According to the company’s German website, 94% of all Germans [I am assuming the same applies to Austrians] know and recognize the brand: http://www.klosterfrau.de/marken/klosterfrau.html

The tonic is supposed to help against more or less anything; the box claims the elixir helps if everyday stress gets to you, promotes healthy sleep, keeps a healthy stomach, lets one bear cold and rough weather, supports a relaxing journey, and relieves physical strain from sport or work. The box does warn not to drink the liquid pure because of its high concentration [of alcohol]. For me, it is also a sign of a quite different attitude towards alcohol in Austria/Europe.