This week the FDA enforced a recall of Hyland’s homeopathic teething tablets, a product which has been manufactured and used by parents for over 85 years in the USA.
I’ve observed this situation argument grow arms and legs and also watched the misinformation grow at the same rate. The first link I noticed came from another mommy blog site, and several mom sites have posted this because they’re worried of course. The first post said that there was a botulism scare, since the Chammomilla (chamomile) present in the tablets had been infected with botulism – just like the recent scares with tomatoes, spinach and eggs being infected with salmonella and other substances. This line of thought was related to some moms in the PA/NJ area who’s babies are suffering with botulism and may have taken the teething tablets. I can as yet find no full reports to validate these findings.
The second line of thought came from the FDA themselves, who through various agencies have reported that a toxic substance, Belladonna, has been ‘found’ in Hyland’s teething tablets. In large quantities, Belladonna is toxic and historically has been used as a poison (if applied in large amounts) but as Julie Igel, a Homeopathic Clinician and author of the Homeopathic Soulutions Blog says:
“There is one other thing that is very important when using homeopathic remedies, especially for the needs of babies, and that is potency. Homeopathic remedies come from all aspects of nature. Toxic substances being one of them. However, in the process of creating the homeopathic equivalent of these toxins, they are diluted many many times. The higher the number the more dilute it is. The lower the number, the closer it is to the original crude substance. The potencies used in the Hylands Teething tablets are of the 3x potency. Which means they are closer to the original crude substance. It is always a good idea to check with a homeopathic professional before giving any remedy, regardless of the potency to babies. Now having said that, it can be very frightening for parents to see their children go through a proving state. Their regular pediatrician is not trained in homeopathy, and only see Belladonna on the label and justifiably panic. They tell their young mothers, that they are poisoning their infants by using this product. Please be assured this is not the case, and that these symptoms will subside and leave no side effects. The symptoms will stop with in a 24-36 hour period of the discontinuation of the remedy or product. Homeopathy is a very safe and effective way to treat all kinds of ailments. However, I would like to truly emphasize the need for professional homeopathic care. It can be very frustrating for a young parent going it alone and in the end turn them off to homeopathy completely.”
Julie makes a great point about potency. Experience with my children has shown me that 6c or 30c remedies work great for them. I have a lower vibration (less energy, older person!!) and I often need a 200c remedy to get the same result, or as good a result if the issue is chronic.
Julie also mentions the homeopathic term ‘proving state’ in her article. A proving, or proving state in homeopathy was defined in the early 19th century when homeopaths studied the use of quinine to cure malaria. It had been observed that quinine given to a healthy person causes the same symptoms that malaria does in a person suffering from that disease; therefore quinine became the preferred treatment in malaria. When a substance was found to produce the same symptoms as did a certain disease, it was then used in very small doses to reverse the process of that disease. So, taken in full amounts, the substance ‘proved’ the disease by it becoming present in the person, hence the name. Homeopaths ‘proved’ these substances by taking the substances to make themselves sick. A pure example of ‘healer, heal thyself’!
I have used Hyland’s teething tablets with my 8 year old when she was a baby. The Chamomilla in the tablets was perfect for her constitution because she fit the definition of Julie’s Chammomilla description.
“Chammomilla~ This baby is very angry and not so much fun to be around! They are irritable, fussy, whining and moaning. Capricious. The child may want many things, which are then refused. Discontented and demanding. They do not know what they want. This baby wants to be carried and held.”
I’ve also used Belladonna as a remedy for my 8 year old in the 6c and 30c potencies. When she gets sick, she often runs a very high fever. She’s a ‘hot’ person anyway, only needing a light blanket even in the winter and finds the hot Kansas summers a trial sometimes. She is very relieved that fall is now here and that it is cooler for her. So with a fever on top of that constitutional type, she whizzes up into to over 100 degrees very quickly. Her cheeks flush bright red and I watch her very carefully and give her the Belladonna regularly. It works very quickly and she’s never had an issue with febrile seizures. I am aware that higher fevers can be life threatening and a cause to take a child to the ER, hence the careful watching!
So why it’s not 100% clear to me as to why this recall has been enforced, moms, dads and carers - you might have to do without the Hylands tablets for a while. Chamomile tea also works very well for teething youngsters, plus homeopathic Chammomilla remedies in the lower doses are also available in health food stores.
I think the main lesson to be learnt here is to check our sources, hold our ground, and go with what works as long as we understand the information fully and have taken the time and trouble to become informed consumers as parents. Misinformation is damaging to everyone concerned – in this case to Hyland’s in particular, who have given us 85 years of great service so far.
Sarah Lawrence Hinson firstname.lastname@example.org