It's cold and flu season! I'm sure your kids have brought home their fair share of sniffles in the last few weeks; I know mine certainly have! I am confident that I can kill a flu virus with a baby-safe disinfectant. But how can I help that baby feel better faster? Desperate times call for desperate measures! When my kid is sick, I'd try just about anything to help them feel healthy again. Sometimes it can be hard to know which medicine is baby-safe, so the natural baby products might seem like the safer option. Do homeopathic remedies even work? What makes something "homeopathic" instead of "natural"? Is one better than the other? Trust me, I've wondered the same things.
After spending my own hard-earned money on baby cough syrups that don't work, teething tablets that got pulled from the shelves, and too many bottles of gas drops, I had had enough. Don't waste your time and money - keep reading to find out which homeopathic children's remedies really work!
What Is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine. The father of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, came up with the concept of “like cures like”. In short, Hahnemann felt that the substance that induced similar symptoms in healthy people could be used to treat the sick. Modern homeopathic cures often refer to the “energy” or “charge” of certain particles, claiming that these charges can magnify even if the number of particles reduces.
Homeopathic remedies are often dilutions of certain substances. Those who promote these remedies claim that you can increase a substance’s curative properties by diluting it. Seriously. Many homeopathic remedies contain a minuscule amount of the substance in question. One critic noted: “Imagine putting a single drop of Tylenol in a swimming pool of water and thinking that would make the Tylenol more effective.”
In short: homeopathy is a pseudoscience, a belief not backed by scientific evidence. At best, homeopathic remedies create a placebo effect in patients. The FDA does not evaluate homeopathic products for safety. Poison Control even has an entire webpage dedicated to homeopathic medicines for children!
“Some homeopathic products have caused toxicity, adverse reactions, and allergic reactions. Others don't contain any active ingredients and may not be appropriate treatment for a condition.” - Poison Control
Hyland’s Baby Teething Tablet
What it treats - These teething tablets dissolve instantly in a baby’s mouth, providing pain relief for sore gums.
What it has - Active ingredients include arnica, oyster shell, and coffee beans.
Is it safe? - From my research, each ingredient is safe for babies over three months. That being said, Hyland’s previous formula used belladonna - a seriously dangerous ingredient that can cause respiratory distress and even death.
Colic Calm Homeopathic Gripe Water
What it treats - Gripe water is specifically designed to treat colic. Some parents swear by Colic Calm as it has helped soothe their babies. Colic is NOT easy for parents (and probably not very fun for the baby, either)!
What it has - plant-based charcoal, fennel, chamomile, peppermint, and ginger.
Is it safe? Peppermint essential oil is an absolute NO for children age 12 and under. It’s unsafe to be diffused and definitely unsafe for consumption. If Colic Calm uses peppermint essential oil, I would not use it on my own children. Otherwise, no ingredients seem problematic.
Cold Bee Gone Homeopathic Remedy
What it treats - Cold Bee Gone is a homeopathic nasal swab ointment. It claims to support your body’s immune system as it fights a cold, while treating some of the less pleasant cold symptoms like post-nasal drip and stuffiness.
What it has - Manuka honey, lime and lavender essential oils, luffa seed oil, and an active ingredient in Head On (that headache remedy with the insane and insanely catchy commercials).
Is it safe? - Regardless of where you stand on essential oils, any doctor and most parents know that honey is unsafe before the age of one. Again, essential oils are questionable around children. The real kicker is the Kali Bichromium, the ingredient also found in Head On. This is described as a “corrosive, caustic compound used in the manufacture of dye, photography, and batteries.” Homeopathy relies on the dilution of this ingredient - but, really? Do you want to trust that a business NOT monitored by the FDA is going to properly dilute a caustic chemical before you feed it to your kid?
The Placebo Effect Really Works
Earlier, I noted that most doctors consider homeopathy to mostly “work” through the placebo effect. Let me be clear: the placebo effect is a REAL effect. That means that patients stop suffering symptoms when they believe it’s been treated, even if the actual treatment itself was ineffective. And that relief? It’s just as real as the discomfort of the symptom! Instead of calling the placebo effect a “fake”, let’s call it what it is: mind over matter, played out in reality. If homeopathy works exclusively through the placebo effect, it’s worthwhile to investigate and use it! However, be careful to include only ingredients that are proven safe, regardless of the claimed dilution.
Homeopathic remedies for children aren’t new, and they certainly seem to be gaining in popularity! While science doesn’t back the claims of homeopathy, the brain and body are astoundingly powerful on their own. The placebo effect gives homeopathy real might and provides actual relief! The real question is: is it safe for your kids? And the answer is: some of them might be. Read your labels. Google those weird words. Treat these remedies just like you would treat a prescription medicine.
Share your favorite baby-safe homeopathic remedies with me on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3 with #Homeopathy.