What is Swamp-Root good for? Dr. Kilmer blended the fifteen herbal ingredients of Swamp-Root, coming from South Africa, North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Tibet, and North-west China, into a balanced formula that benefits the digestive, respiratory, and nervous systems. Here are these herbs listed in order of relative percentage.
XV : Balsam of Tolu or American Balsam (Myrospermum Toluiferum) is derived from several South American balsam-yielding trees. The appearance of the above variety is said to differ but slightly from the Peruvian, but the method of gathering the balsam is quite different. V-shaped cuts are made in the tree, and the liquid is received into calabash cups placed at an angle; these are emptied into flasks of raw hide, conveyed by donkeys to the depots, and finally shipped in tin or earthen vessels, which occasionally contain large pieces of red brick. On arrival the balsam is soft and sticky, but exposure to the air makes it hard and brittle, more like resin, with a crystalline appearance. In color it is pale, yellowish red or brown. It has a sweet, aromatic, resinous taste - becoming soft again when chewed - with an odor resembling vanilla or benzoin, especially fragrant when the balsam is burned, but completely changing and resembling the clove-pink if dissolved in a minute portion of liquor potassa. As the balsam solidifies, its odor becomes more feeble, but the quantity of cinnamic acid increases, and it thus becomes valuable to perfumers as a fixative, an ounce added to a pound of volatile perfume making it much more permanent. Tolu Balsam consists of about 80 per cent amorphous resin, with cinnamic acid, a volatile oil, and a little vanillin, benzyl benzoate and benzyl cinnamate. It is freely soluble in chloroform, glacial acetic acid, acetone, ether, alcohol and liquor potassa. The medicinal action and uses are as a stimulant and expectorant, much used as the basis of cough mixtures. Balsam of Peru has been in the U.S. Pharmacopeia since 1820, with documented uses for bronchitis, laryngitis, dysmenorrhea, diarrhea, dysentery, and leucorrhea. Today, it is used extensively in topical preparations for the treatment of wounds, ulcers, and scabies. The vapor from the balsam dissolved in ether when inhaled, is beneficial in chronic catarrh and other noninflammatory chest complaints. The best form is that of an emulsion, made by titurating the balsam with mucilage and loaf sugar, and adding water.