The Hyland’s Recall & Homeopathics

Written by NPN Guest on October 25th, 2010

This entry was posted in Alternative Medicine, Holistic Health and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Teething babyThis weekend the FDA and Hyland’s Homeopathic Remedies both issued press releases regarding the voluntary recall of Hyland’s Teething Tablets. Neither of the releases actually specifies something is wrong with the remedy, or that any harm can come from them. In light of this recall, it’s important to give information about what homeopathics are, how they work, and how the FDA regulates them. We should all be familiar with this information for any product we give to our children.

Homeopathics, in a nutshell, use energy to heal and relieve symptoms by activating the vital force, also called Chi or Prana, that exists in each one of us. While this sounds like a lot of hocus pocus and one of the reasons homeopathy is debunked or dismissed as quackery, consider how our bodies function every day. If we get a cut, our body heals it. No medicine or procedures needed. Sometimes though, we get sick and our body can use some nudging to help with some symptoms, and this is where homeopathics can help. Their formulations, in either a pill, tablet, or liquid, contains substances that start our body to do its own healing. A full explanation can be found here. Some of these formulations are more intuitive than others. For instance, many hay fever and cold remedies use dilutions from a type of onion, using the laws of similars. Onions cause running nose and itching eyes, so those properties can be used to prevent the same symptoms for other reasons. Sometimes there’s no explanation for how they work. Even trained homeopaths don’t fully understand how each remedy heals, as explained here.

At this point you may wonder if homeopathics actually work. Like many other non-pharmaceutical remedies, the jury is out. Some studies show they are more effective than a placebo, and some don’t. In general, if they work for you, then they work. If they don’t, well then, they don’t. For some people they work very well. In my family, we’ve had success with the Hyland’s teething tablets, but not so much with the Hyland’s hayfever remedy. With other brands of homeopathics, I’ve had similar success. Some remedies work for me (for allergies, for instance), and some didn’t.

When evaluating this particular recall, it’s important to understand how homeopathics are prepared. Here’s the Wikipedia explanation, which explains that homepathic preparations only contain minute dilutions of the original substances, sometimes even just a few molecules. This article explains how taking more than recommended of a homeopathic remedy actually cases it to be less potent. This is interesting, because the complaints to the FDA that prompted the investigation into Hyland’s were thought to be related to taking too many tablets and potentially overdosing on belladonna, a member of the toxic nightshade family. However, according to Wikipedia, “Homeopathic belladonna preparations have been sold as treatments for various conditions, although there is no scientific evidence to support their efficacy. Clinically and in research trials, the most common preparation is diluted to the 30C level in homeopathic notation. This level of dilution does not contain any of the original plant, although preparations with lesser dilutions which statistically contain trace amounts of the plant are advertised for sale”. The recalled Hyland’s Teething Tablets were diluted to 30c level.

I’m waiting on more information about this recall before I pass judgement on Hyland’s and Standard Homeopathic Company regarding this recall. At this point it sounds the FDA was simply acting on complaints and perhaps found non-standard manufacturing processes, which could be anything, even missing paperwork or a misunderstanding. I think it’s good to know what’s going on with a company that manufactures something I give to my child to ingest, but this particular recall isn’t going to cause me any alarm even though I just gave some tablets to my son yesterday. It’s certainly a situation I will watch and follow, though, and I hope more information will be released about what the problem is. For those who want to use non-pharmaceutical therapies for teething, other homeopathic teething remedies are available, as well as amber teething necklaces that have analgesic properties.

If anyone else has alternative remedies to use until the matter is cleared up, please share!


Suchada is a blogger, former Army officer and aerospace engineer, and stay at home mama to two energetic and hilarious boys. At she writes about natural birth, breastfeeding, and green living, among other natural parenting topics, and she is an advocate for the same in her community. Her views on raising children are strongly influenced by growing up in Southeast Asia and observing parents around the world.

Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with your health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician. Nothing you read here should be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or courses of treatment.

15 Responses to The Hyland’s Recall & Homeopathics

  1. Casey  

    I don’t have any teething children right now, but we have used Hylands in the past. At this point, I’m not convinced that this recall is much to worry about. When Baby #3 gets to the teething stage, I’m considering an amber necklace as a first step. If we need other remedies after that, I’ll keep Hylands in mind. We have had good results with them in the past.

  2. Momma Jorje

    Egad, I hadn’t heard about the recall at all! While I will certainly stop offering them to my daughter (she doesn’t use them often right now, thankfully!), I don’t want to lose these altogether. The teething tablets have been our one relief for her. Thanks so much for passing this info along, as well as SO much more about homeopathic choices!

  3. Kat@Loving {Almost} Every Moment

    I agree that I don’t feel concerned about the tablets containing belladona. I used them for both of my kiddos and I found they really helped them. I feel much safer using homeopathics for run of the mill teething crankiness than OTC meds like Ibuprofen and/or tylenol (although these have their uses too), which as we may all recall actually had a serious recall earlier this year. I think more people just need to understand the principles behind homeopathy and how formulations are prepared. Thanks for this article!

  4. Dagmar Bleasdale  

    I used these teething tables for my son, but he didn’t have that hard of a time while teething, so he didn’t get many. I go for homeopathy before considering any other remedies, I really believe in it.

    Dagmar’s momsense

  5. Ashley  

    My son teethed hard, and while the teething tablets rarely did the job alone, usually they helped calm him down while the medication kicked in. It did cut out dependence on Orajel completely.

    I mean to try the amber teething necklaces next time around; I’d never heard of them until most of my son’s teeth were already in!

  6. Trevor @ Tootlee  

    Thanks for the run down on the topic. We used the homeopathic teething medicine with at least two of our kids and I think with all three.

    Based on your description if the issue it doesn’t sound like much of an issue. If the material being released about the recall doesn’t even say why it’s being recalled, I have to wonder what the real story is.

  7. Earth Mama

    I don’t use a prepared teething remedy for my babies because using a homeopathic remedy individually is much more effective. The most common teething ‘remedy picture’ is a red cheek, general distress and green stools – this indicates the need for the remedy Chamomilla (made from the chamomile plant).

    I would never stop using the remedy Belladonna. It is the first remedy to use for high, hot fevers. It is absolutely NOT toxic in homeopathic form and is IMPOSSIBLE to overdose.

    Also, Homeopathy does in fact work with more than the body’s meridians. Homeopathy works by cueing the immune system to fight specific symptoms. When homeopathy proves unsuccessful it is because the wrong remedy has been used not because it works for some people and not others:-)

    Also, it is impossible to conduct conclusive and honest surveys on the efficacy of homeopathy because each individual person may require different remedies for what appears to be the same ailment.

    What a great topic though to get us all thinking about homeopathy!!

  8. Susan  

    What a great article! While I had known that belladonna is in the teething tablets, I had read the Hyland’s article about that, and wasn’t concerned. I’m still not!

    I have a teething 6 month old and have been giving him the tablets (as I gave them to my 3 year old the entire time he was teething as well), as well as using an amber necklace. I think they are fantastic.

    Since the recall I have heard many parents criticizing users of the tablets, and when I ask them what they use for their children, some of the answers are horrifying! I’ve heard a range from Tylenol/Motrin (not horrifying, but I only like to use pain-killers of that sort when absolutely necessary) to WHISKEY! I’ll stick with Hyland’s, tyvm.

  9. Melissa  

    Thanks for the great explanation!
    I’m not terribly worried about the recall, and the situation has not caused me to stop using the tablets, but I still use other remedies first, as I always have.

    The most effective one for us when the teething gets really bad is a bit of clove oil. I mix a few drops with a bit of organic olive oil and rub it on my daughter’s gums. It is a natural numbing agent that I definitely prefer to something like orajel!

  10. Pam

    I’m surprised that this is such a problem. I’m sure that the numbing gel is not good for our babies, but you don’t see that being recalled. And then, there’s tylenol, motrin, do people really think that these things are better for their babies? I’m more concerned that these other products are deemed acceptable for consumption.

  11. Jessica Lang @ Cloth Diapering Mama  

    I agree with Earth Mama, single remedies are actually more effective. I am somewhat trained in homeopathy as a holistic health practitioner and I know it can be confusing, but if you just do a tiny bit of research online or in a basic book you can avoid multi-ingredient remedies all together…although belladonna is an amazing remedy for so many things (including fevers and difficult menstruation-dismenorhea). I just the other day wrote an article on my blog about single remedies for teething. Check it out if you want more info.

    great write up!

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  13. Lori Arkin-Diem

    Back in November, I paid $7 to ship back 3 bottles of teething tablets. I asked for a refund.

    Two months later, I received 1 coupon in the mail. I called them to ask what happened and the person I spoke to said this was a mistake. I would receive a check in the mail soon.

    It is now March. I left 4 messages in various places and cannot get anyone to return my calls.

    I am now out the cost of shipping as well as the 3 bottles. My child is still teething. I was planning on buying more bottles once the problem was solved.

    With this lack of response and customer service, I will not be giving this company any money.

  14. Amy Rozen

    From what I read on the Hyland’s website, the potency of the Belladonna was a 3x, not 30c. I still think they are safe and effective, but I just wanted to make a note of this.