Mother's across the United States are enraged as Hyland's Teething Tablets are pulled from the shelves everywhere. Some mother's are even seeking the remaining boxes before they are untraceable. This recall does not come as a surprise considering the many accusations they have encountered in regards to the safety of their product. This homeopathic remedy for a fussy teething baby actually works due to it's active herbal ingredients. But, do the benefits outweigh the risks?
Let's look at the accusations in regards to the safety of these teething tablets. A video is circulating the internet of a small child whose nervous system is clearly not working normally, as she leans her head down involuntarily. There have not only been neurological symptoms such as seizures, but this homeopathic remedy has been linked to 10 deaths. In an attempt to defend Hyland's homeopathic remedy, mothers are claiming that some parents don't follow the directions or claiming that the FDA is just out to get this product because it works.
Unfortunately, the FDA's decision to recall this product comes justly. Atropa Belladonna also known as deadly nightshade is a solanaceae plant that is highly toxic due to it's active constituents: atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine. According to David Hoffman a clinical phytotherapist, "a prominant feature of the tropane alkaloids is their ability to produce hallucinations and delirium" (Hoffman D., 2003). Atropine toxicity involves symptoms such as dry mouth, dizziness, and even a skin rash. Hyoscyamine toxicity may be apparent with symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and blurred vision. The Alfred Hospital in Victoria, Australia found that "the range of toxicity with respect to oral scopolamine is variable and unpredictable" (Corallo C., 2009). Perhaps because the genetic makeup of each individual is different. One individual may experience a reaction to an active constituent within an herb, while another individual may not react till they reach a much higher dosage. Electron flow within the body strongly influences a persons adverse reaction. Those with high a antioxidant status will be able to tolerate much higher levels of toxins. A child with low antioxidant status will experience adverse reactions to pyrrolidine-piperidine alkaloids at lower doses. Vitamin c has the potential to negate adverse reactions to the alkaloids within the belladonna herb, but there is still no telling how much is enough. The safest option is to avoid them unless under the care of a certified herbalist.
So how does a parent go about easing the pain associated with teething? Tylenol is never a good option as it is toxic to the body. With high enough concentrations of vitamin c in the body a child will feel no teething pain. This can be achieved by supplementation of oral ascorbate. The difference between vitamin c and belladonna is vitamin c has no toxic dosage. If mother is breastfeeding she can take what is known as bowel tolerance doses to achieve high levels for her and her child. If mother is bottle feeding, 250mg can be added to each bottle, if necessary that dosage can go up as baby gets older. If loose stools occur it is good to lower the dose. If the tooth is just breaking through the skin sodium ascorbate can be mixed with a drop of water. After fizzing has stopped apply the paste directly to babies painful gums.
Many parents are disappointed to see Hyland's teething tablets go. But, there are other ways to manage your babies discomfort that are even more natural and safe than the tablets. Unfortunately, the safety of tropane alkaloids are unstable and parents are better off finding safer natural remedies.
Hoffmann D., (2003) Medical Herbalism: Tropane Alkaloid's. Healing Arts Press: Richmond, VT.
Corallo C., (2009). Anticholinergic syndrome following an unintentional overdose of scopolamine. Department of Pharmacy, The Alfred, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: Pubmed.