Dr. Kilmer's Swamp Root

Dr. Kilmer's Swamp Root

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Usage conditions apply
The indications or uses for this product as provided by the manufacturer are: A diuretic for the kidneys and a mild laxative. "Swamp-Root" tends to promote the flow of urine thereby aiding the kidneys in their necessary work of eliminating waste matter.
Currently not on view
Object Name
otc preparation
Other Terms
Patent Medicines; Drugs; Liquid
Date made
after 1963
Kilmer & Co., Inc.
Place Made
United States: New York, Plainview
Physical Description
alcohol 10% (drug active ingredients)
buchu leaves (drug active ingredients)
scullcap leaves (drug active ingredients)
golden seal root (drug active ingredients)
colombo root (drug active ingredients)
valerian root (drug active ingredients)
cinnamon (drug active ingredients)
oil of juniper (drug active ingredients)
oil of birch (drug active ingredients)
balsam copaiba (drug active ingredients)
balsam tolu (drug active ingredients)
venice turpentine (drug active ingredients)
peppermint herb (drug active ingredients)
rhubarb root (drug active ingredients)
mandrake root (drug active ingredients)
sassafras (drug active ingredients)
cape aloes (drug active ingredients)
box: 7 3/8 in x 2 1/2 in x 1 1/2 in; 18.7325 cm x 6.35 cm x 3.81 cm
bottle: 7 1/4 in x 2 1/4 in x 1 3/8 in; 18.415 cm x 5.715 cm x 3.4925 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Gary P. and Sandra Baden
Kidney & Urinary Drugs
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Balm of America
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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We have a bottle of Dr. Kilmer's Swamp Root Kidney, Liver & Bladder Pure Specific in raised glass lettering along with a few other bottles of other "remedies" . I used to enjoy going bottle "hunting" with my dad and his good friend when I was a kid. We'd dig through piles of dirt at old homesteads etc.
Back in the early 1980s while working on the Wilmington & Western Railroad I found a piece of a light green bottle that has, Dr. Kilmer's Lotion molded around the edge and Swamp Root Kidney, Liver and Bladder Cure in the center. I dug around the area a bit but could only find this one piece. Thought it was interesting so I still have it. Didn't have the internet then so I kind of forgot about it. Found it the other day and thought I'd check. Thanks for having the site and historical information. Sure filled in some blanks for me.
I am reading “Fools Paradise” by Paul Malo and Dr. Kilmer and his “Kilmer’s Swamp Root” medication is mentioned on page 213. He apparently raced boats. The book is part of a series of three about the glorious history of The Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River in the north country of New York at the turn of the last century.
I am an herbalist and have worked selling herbal products for years in retail locations so I just started collecting the old remedy bottles. I saw the Swamp root bottle at a country roadside antique shop in Robeline, LA. I went back to buy it 4 weeks later for $12 because I wanted to display it with my 1895 "The People's Common Sense Medical Advisor" antique book. But then I also saw Dr. R.V. Piece's remedy bottle & bought it too (author of book). So these two bottles I think make a good start to a display.
Just found in antique store the 1917 swamp root almanac which is a combination of almanac detail for that year and many varied content on the product and other product they made and the facility they report to make it at.
We have a Swamp-Root almanac from 1942.
Kimler's Swamp Root was produced by a snake-oil salesman named Willis Sharpe Kilmer. More on him at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willis_Sharpe_Kilmer
Would like to have background of Dr. Kilmer...where is he from before NY? Any info please about this man. Thank you.
I am a distant relative and have a lengthy newspaper article my grandmother had saved since December 1946. “The Kilmer story”. He had horse farm, won the kentucky derby with exterminator, married three times (I have a copy of his will that is very interesting). He paid $9000 for exterminator (nickname old bag of bones” . The article is most interesting along with the will.
Just wanted to say hi! I don't know much more than can already be found online but he's my great great great grandfather! We're probably related somehow, hope you're well wherever you are.
Willis was a great uncle to me. My grandparents were part of the will. I recently toured The Kilmer Mansion in Binghamton NY. I have collected swamp root for years and have researched much of the history. I also ate at Remlik’s (Kilmer spelled backwards) which is located in the Kilmer building in Binghamton. Fortunately it was the 100 year anniversary of Exterminator and I was able to see the large display at the Binghamton Library. Great history, there is a slew of information on line.
I grew up living in a house built by who I believe was a Kilmer son, on Beethoven Street. He left behind multiple swamp root artifacts, old ad signs, etc. I have swamp root bottles now in my home. Just ate at Remilks in December while visiting relatives in Binghamton. I remember the Kilmer race track on Riverside Drive and my father telling me about the horse that won the Kentucky Derby.
My daddy found a bottle on an island he was working on when he worked at the Naval Air Station (NAS) that was desserted at least 40 years ago. It is a greenish blue bottle and says, Dr. Kilmer's Swamp-Root Kidney Liver & Bladder Remedy. On the side it says, Binghamton, N.Y. and on the bottom has 19 B. I would love to know the history of this bottle and would very much appreciate some information.
"My 9-year-old grandson unearthed a small clear intact bottle with wording on it that says: Sample bottle Dr. Kilmer's Swamp Root Kidney Remedy. It also has Binghampton, NY on it, and there's a IA on the bottom. He found the bottle near the site of an old general store that used to stand on their property. I would appreciate any info you can give, Thanks!"
i have the old order sheet for this from the 1800's
I've got one blue in color dr kilmers swamp root medicine, and also one clear of same, with partial label.
Thanks for info. Have one bottle with swamp root medicine.

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