FDA Confirms Elevated Levels of Belladonna in Certain Homeopathic Teething Products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that its laboratory analysis found inconsistent amounts of belladonna, a toxic substance, in certain homeopathic teething tablets, sometimes far exceeding the amount claimed on the label. The agency is warning consumers that homeopathic teething tablets containing belladonna pose an unnecessary risk to infants and children and urges consumers not to use these products.

In light of these findings, the FDA contacted Standard Homeopathic Company in Los Angeles, the manufacturer of Hyland’s homeopathic teething products, regarding a recall of its homeopathic teething tablet products labeled as containing belladonna, in order to protect consumers from inconsistent levels of belladonna. At this time, the company has not agreed to conduct a recall. The FDA recommends that consumers stop using these products marketed by Hyland’s immediately and dispose of any in their possession. In November 2016, Raritan Pharmaceuticals (East Brunswick, New Jersey) recalled three belladonna-containing homeopathic products, two of which were marketed by CVS.

“The body’s response to belladonna in children under two years of age is unpredictable and puts them at unnecessary risk,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “We recommend that parents and caregivers not give these homeopathic teething tablets to children and seek advice from their health care professional for safe alternatives.”

Homeopathic teething products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safety or effectiveness. The agency is unaware of any proven health benefit of the products, which are labeled to relieve teething symptoms in children. In September 2016, the FDA warned against the use of these products after receiving adverse event reports.

Consumers should seek medical care immediately if their child experiences seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation after using homeopathic teething products.

The FDA encourages health care professionals and consumers to report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of homeopathic teething products to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program:

Teething

The process of developing and cutting teeth is something we all go through. For many children that process can be painful and disruptive. Some children suffer from sleeplessness, some pain, others diarrhea, vomiting, fever and/or skin rashes. A homeopathy is a great tool for parents to use to alleviate the suffering of the littlest among us.

Here are some of the remedies you can consider for your teething son or daughter:

  • Aconite:  When the child has much pain with restlessness and biting of fingers, sleeplessness, crying, fever and heat of the head
  • Belladonna: Much moaning. Awakens from sleep and looks frightened.  Staring eyes.  Face and eyes red with dilated pupils and a hot head. Violent starting and jumping while sleeping and at other times.
  • Calcarea carbonica: The head perspires greatly during sleep – wetting the pillow far around. Stools can be hard and chalky. The child tends to be fair skinned and plump.
  • Chamomilla: The child starts and jumps in sleep. It is very cross and insists on being carried everywhere – and only carrying the child seems to relieve him or her. One cheek may be red and the other pale. Can have diarrhea that is watery, slimy and green.
  • Cina: The child rubs its nose a great deal and is restless in sleep. Can also be very hungry. If teeth have already cut through – they may grind these during sleep.
  • Coffea crudum: The child is very excitable and sleepless. It cries and laughs easily. A child can be in a state of exhaustion.
  • Magnesia carb: Green, frothy and foul smelling diarrhea during teething – diarrhea lasts a long time.
  • Magnesia mur: Teeth are slow to cut through. The child may have distended abdomen and be constipated.  The stools are often large and crumble.
  • Mercurius solubilis: Copious salivation with slimy diarrhea or green stools with much straining on the toilet.
  • Podophyllum: Painful diarrhea with screaming; stools often green. A child can grind whatever teeth have already cut through.
  • Silicea: Weak children with profuse salivation. Frequent or almost continued grasping at gums. Fever towards evening and heat in the head. Often has feet that perspire profusely – the perspiration can have a strong odor. Also, sweat from the head during sleep.

Common Illnesses 101

Common Cold
The common cold (or upper respiratory infection or URI) is a viral infection involving the upper air passages, usually the nose and throat. A runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, and low-grade fever are the usual symptoms, but a cough, sore throat, red and watery eyes, and a decreased appetite may also be present. All children catch colds, and those under 2 commonly have six to eight each year. Colds usually last 1 to 2 weeks, which results in many days of illness for most normal children.

The cold is caused by a virus. There are no medications, including any antibiotic, that can kill a cold virus or shorten the length of a URI illness. The goal is to make your child comfortable and observe for complications such as ear infections or pneumonia and other lung infections.

Treatment
1. Give plenty of fluids. Your child may not eat; fluids are more important.
2. If your child has a fever, you may give him acetaminophen (Tylenol). Refer to “Fever,/Treatment” in this booklet for dosages. Tylenol, Tempra, and Panadol are brand names of acetaminophen. Generic acetaminophen is acceptable.
3. A cool-mist vaporizer may help him breathe more easily by humidifying the air. A cool-mist vaporizer is just as effective as a “steamer” and does not run the risk of burns to your child either from the steam itself or by the water spilling. Also, raise the head of the bed (a pillow under the mattress works well) to promote drainage of the secretions and therefore, keep the child more comfortable.
4. A child will limit his own activity – you do not need to force him to stay in bed.
5. If he is an infant, suctioning his nose periodically will help. When our nose is stuffed up, we can blow our nose, but infants cannot. A bulb syringe is used to suction the nose and is available at drugstores if you did not receive one from the hospital when your baby was born. If the mucous doesn’t come out easily, then you may thin the mucous with the use of salt water or saline drops (Ocean Mist) or make your own (½ teaspoon of table salt to 1 cup warm water. Keep in a clean, covered jar, and make fresh drops every day). Put 2 to 3 drops of saline into each side of the nose while your baby is on his back. After a few minutes, proceed with suctioning. Remember to wash out the bulb syringe with hot soapy water and rinse well after using.
6. Over-the-counter cold medicines do not cure a cold but may be used for older children and teenagers. These medications may reduce some symptoms, such as congestion or a cough, however, studies have not proven any benefit for children under the age of 6 years. We strongly recommend that these medications not be given to children under 4 years of age because of side effects such as irritability and poor sleep. (In October of 2007 all infant cold medicines sold in the United States were voluntarily recalled and are no longer manufactured. In October of 2008 this recall was expanded to include all cold medicines for those under 4 years of age.)

Call the Office if:
1. Your child develops a fever of 102 degrees or more, or
2. Other symptoms appear such as ear pain, sore throat, pulling at the ears, difficulty in breathing, fast breathing, excessive crying or irritability, decreased alertness, or poor feeding.

 

Cough
Many coughs are due to drainage or irritation from a cold. It may be a dry, hacky cough that can last 2 to 3 weeks or a loose productive cough. The purpose of a cough is to clear the lungs and prevent pneumonia and therefore should not be suppressed unless your child is uncomfortable or unable to sleep.

Treatment
1. Encourage fluids which will loosen the mucous and therefore make it easier to cough up.
2. A vaporizer will moisten the air and soothe a cough.
3. Elevate the head of the bed so that the nasal secretions drain without always triggering a cough.
4. Since the purpose of a cough is to bring up mucus that is present, we normally do not routinely recommend a cough suppressant. If your child is uncomfortable, or a cough is keeping him, awake, there are several over-the-counter medications you can try that contain dextromethorphan.

Call the Office if:
1. There is difficulty breathing or chest pain associated with a cough.
2. There is fever which lasts more than 2 days.
3. Your child is less than 3 months of age.
4. A cough frequently awakens your child (not just you) from sleep.
5. Your child is becoming less alert and/or less responsive, or
6. Your child or infant is breathing fast or hard. Look for this by taking off his shirt to observe the ribs and chest.

 

Croup
Croup is a viral infection in the windpipe. It usually starts with a mild sore throat that progresses to a tight, “barky” (sounds like a seal) a cough. It often is worse at night or early morning, and the child often has a “raspy” sound when he breathes in. It usually worsens for 2 to 3 days and then resolves with typical cold symptoms.

Treatment
1. Encourage clear liquids as much as possible.
2. Run a cool mist vaporizer in your child’s room.
3. If your child is working hard at breathing, go into the bathroom and run the hot water in the shower to create a steamy room. This thins the mucus lining the airway. Another effective measure is to dress him warmly and go out into the cool, night air. This helps decrease swelling in the airway lining. Relax your child by rocking, reading, singing, etc. Crying only worsens the “symptoms”. If there is no improvement in 10 to 20 minutes, call the office or pediatrician on call. Your child may need special breathing treatments, steroid medications, and/or oxygen.

Call the Office or Urgent Care Immediately if:

1. Your child is becoming less alert or responsive,
2. Your child can’t lie down because his breathing becomes increasingly difficult,
3. Your child becomes very agitated or panicky, struggling to breathe.
4. Your child’s lips become blue, or
5. The raspy breathing noise doesn’t clear after 10 to 20 minutes of a “steam” treatment or cold air.

 

Diarrhea
Children with diarrhea will have frequent loose or watery stools. Diarrhea is most often caused by a virus. Children may not show any other symptoms, but there may be vomiting, fever, or fussiness.

Treatment
The purpose of the following recommendations is to replace the fluids lost from the multiple, watery stools. Choosing liquids and food carefully for a few days will help decrease diarrhea and prevent dehydration. We no longer recommend children’s Kaopectate.

General Rules
1. Do not give any diarrhea medications unless instructed to do so.
2. If your infant is breast-fed, continue to nurse.
3. If there is no vomiting and only mild diarrhea, you may continue to give his regular diet with additional fluids. For moderate or severe diarrhea, we recommend limiting milk products and limiting juice.
4. Monitor your child’s urine output closely.

Infants (Under I year)
Give Pedialyte® or a similar electrolyte solution for several feedings especially if any vomiting accompanies diarrhea. These products are available at the grocery store or pharmacy near the infant formulas. Isomil® DF (DF stands for diarrhea formula) is helpful in infants with moderate or severe diarrhea. If the diarrhea is severe or prolonged (lasting longer than seven days), call our office for an appointment. Your infant will need to be weighed and examined.

Toddler and Older Children
An electrolyte solution is still recommended for this age group up to age 2. If it is not available or your child refuses to drink it, then ½ strength Gatorade may be used. (NOTE: Juices or anything sweet will often make diarrhea worse!) Foods such as rice, chicken rice soup, crackers, Rice Krispies, and yogurt, are especially helpful as part of a “diarrhea recovery diet.” Limit non-yogurt dairy and fruit juices until stools are back to normal.

Call the Office for an appointment if:
1. Your child is less than 3 months.
2. Your child is less alert or less responsive than normal.
3. Your child seems dehydrated . . . . . . he is not urinating as much as usual (Normally an infant will urinate 6 or more times in 24 hours and children will urinate four or more times in 24 hours.)
4. . . . his lips and/or mouth are dry
5. The stools contain any blood.
6. There is frequent vomiting along with diarrhea.
7. Your child has a fever which lasts for more than 2 days.
8. The stools are not normal after 7-10 days.
9. You have recently traveled to areas with uncertain water and sanitary standards.

 

Earache
There are different causes for earaches, but the most common, especially in young children and infants, is a middle ear infection. Most often, the child has a cold for a few days, and then develops ear pain (babies may tug at their ears, become fussy, and may refuse to suck). If an earache occurs at night, give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen to decrease the pain and/or numbing ear drops. The proper dosages for Tylenol and Ibuprofen can be found at the back of this booklet.

Children can also develop “swimmer’s ear” which is an outer ear infection. An appointment is necessary to visualize the ear drum and ear canal to prescribe the correct treatment.

If your child does indeed have an ear infection, he will be put on antibiotics. It is very important to complete the entire course of medication as directed and to have the child’s ears re-checked as instructed by your pediatrician to assure that the infection is cleared

 

Fever
Fever is a natural and healthy response to infection, either viral or bacterial. Fever helps the baby’s immune system fight an infection. It is part of the body’s defense against infection. Most viral infections have no specific treatment and do not respond to antibiotics. Many bacterial infections need an antibiotic to resolve.

It is important to keep several things in mind when thinking about fever:

1. A high fever does not cause damage to the brain except in extremely rare cases when the temperature reaches 107 degrees.
2. The height of the fever is not always an indication of the severity of the illness. Children tend to respond to many infections with higher temperatures than adults.
3. The temperature will normally fluctuate during the course of the illness and tends to be highest in late afternoon or night. Fluctuation does not mean your child is getting better or worse.
4. Teething is not a cause of a fever.
5. A child’s symptoms are much more important than the height of the fever. The context of a fever–associated symptoms–helps determine how serious the illness is.
6. Though uncommon, it is possible for your child, when sick with a fever, to experience a brief febrile convulsion or seizure. It is caused by the brain reacting to a sudden rise in temperature. If your child does have one, it is frightening to witness but rarely harmful. Remain calm and protect the child from injury — protect him from falling or place him on the floor, for instance. If your child experiences a seizure, call our office right away. If the seizure does not stop after 5 minutes, call 911.
7. We do not recommend ear thermometers. In our experience, they tend to overestimate fevers. A quality digital thermometer for under the arm or in the mouth is recommended.
8. Normal body temperature is 98.6 by mouth, 99.6 rectum and 97.6 under the arm.

Treatment of Fever
The main goal of treatment is to make your child more comfortable. Remember, most fevers will not harm your child. In fact, it helps fight the infection.

1. Use of fever-reducing medications: Acetaminophen (one brand name is Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (2 brand names are Advil and Motrin) can be used to help reduce fever. Do not use aspirin. Aspirin has been associated with a life-threatening illness called Reyes’Syndrome in children with chicken pox and the flu.

• Both acetaminophen and ibuprofen come in drops for infants, liquid (syrup or elixir) for toddlers, and chewable tablets for older children. Acetaminophen also comes in rectal suppositories (Feverall) if your child is vomiting and can’t keep down medicine taken by mouth.

• Keep in mind that infant drops are stronger than syrup for toddlers. For example, there is significantly more medicine in 1 tsp (5 mL) of infant drops than in 1 tsp (5 mL) of syrup for toddlers. Never give the same amount of infant drops as you would syrup. For this reason, several manufacturers announced in 2011 that they will no longer produce infant strength fever reducers. Always look carefully at the label on the drug and follow the directions. Each type of drug has different directions based upon the weight of a child.

• Acetaminophen (Tylenol) doses can be given every 4 to 6 hours, and should not exceed 5 doses in 24 hours. The correct dose for your child should always be based on his/her weight.

 

Rash
There are many different rashes with many different causes. If you are uncertain of the cause or if there are other symptoms associated with the rash, call our office for an appointment. It is difficult to diagnose rashes over the phone. If the rash itches, you may try Benadryl (diphenhydramine) to decrease the itching sensation.

 

Sore Throat
Many sore throats are caused by a virus, and as with any virus, there is no medicine or antibiotic which can cure the infection. Viral sore throats usually last 3 to 4 days and are associated with cold symptoms.

Strep throat is caused by a bacteria and therefore is treated with an antibiotic. If your child’s sore throat is not improving in 2 to 3 days, or he has a high fever, or he has been exposed to someone who has strep throat, call our office for an appointment.

If your child does indeed have strep throat, he will be put on an antibiotic. It is very important that you complete the whole course of antibiotic as directed in order to prevent a more serious complicating condition known as rheumatic fever.

 

Vomiting
Vomiting and diarrhea illnesses are most often caused by a stomach/intestine virus and are mild and self-limited. However, if the vomiting or diarrhea are moderate or severe, and your child is not able to take enough liquids, a child may lose too much body water and become dehydrated. In dehydration, the eyes look sunken, the skin loses its tone, the tongue is dry and urination or wetting is decreased. This situation might require hospitalization so that fluids can be given by vein. Special watching and care should be given to small babies with vomiting and diarrhea because they can become dehydrated much faster than older children.

Treatment
1. When vomiting occurs, you may offer your child small amounts (½ ounce) of a clear liquid (Pedialyte®, for infants, and Kaolectrolyte, half-strength Gatorade, or water for children) every few minutes. Offering large amounts all at once often distends the stomach and may result in further vomiting.
2. Gradually increase the amounts of clear liquid offered until your child is drinking as much as he wants.
3. If vomiting does reoccur go back to Step 1.
4. When the vomiting stops and as your child desires, you may progress to his regular diet. Refer to the “Diarrhea/Treatment” section in this booklet for suggested foods.
5. Keep track of how often your infant or child urinates. This is one of the most accurate means of determining if your child is dehydrated. The most accurate way to determine dehydration is to compare current weight to an accurate previous weight.
6. Do not give your child medications for vomiting unless directed to do so by your pediatrician after evaluation.

Call the Office if:
1. Your child is becoming less alert or less responsive.
2. He does not stop vomiting or refuses liquids.
3. There is blood or dark green material in the vomitus.
4. He is showing signs of dehydration such as less urination.
5. He has severe stomach pains or excessive crying along with the vomiting.
6. There is fever which does not go away in 2 to 3 days.
7. There are urinary symptoms such as pain with urination.

Natural Balms for Cuts, Stings, and Bruises

Though there are a variety of ointments available for treating minor wounds, many of them are made of synthetic compounds that can irritate the skin or provoke allergic reactions in people with chemical sensitivities. Fortunately, there are simple natural remedies that often prove themselves effective against painful stings, cuts, bruises and infections without producing side effects.

St. John’s Wort, a herb widely used as a natural alternative for combating depression, can be made into medicinal oil that works well for various skin conditions. Soaking its crushed flowers in olive oil for several weeks in the sun – until the oil turns a reddish color – produces a natural ointment that can either be ingested or else applied directly on the skin to treat cuts and bruises and relieve inflammation.

Chamomile flowers can help promote the healing of minor wounds; they also work as a natural antiseptic. Make a compress by steeping 2 tablespoons of Chamomile in 1½ cups of hot water for 15 minutes and then straining out the flowers. Soak a cloth in the water (once it’s lukewarm) and apply it to affected skin a few times throughout the day.

Soaking in English Oak (sometimes referred to as Tanner’s Bark) is another good remedy for skin inflammation. This herb is available either finely cut or as a coarse powder. A quart of boiling water poured over 2 teaspoons of English Oak will create a soothing bath additive.

Arnica has antiseptic and pain-killing properties, but it should always be applied externally. This herb is available whole, cut, crushed, and powdered, and can be applied to bruises and sprains. Because its potency can vary in different commercially available forms, always follow the suggested dosage written on the package or bulk container that it comes from.

Another proven remedy for skin irritations comes in the form of a time-honored breakfast cereal: oatmeal. Oats can soothe skin inflammation and have even been used to treat warts. In addition, oat straw can be boiled in water (about 3½ ounces of chopped straw to 3 quarts water) for twenty minutes to make a bath additive that helps relieve itching.

Natural skin applications often require more time and forethought to prepare, but they are generally less expensive than commercial balms and healthier, as a rule, because they’re made of substances that the body is more accustomed to than synthetics.

Vitamin D and Children: A Good Idea?

The “sunshine” vitamin is vitally important to adults and to children in developing healthy bones and maintaining a healthy immune system.

— Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.

It’s well established that vitamin D is paramount to bone development, bone fracture resistance, and mood regulation. This “sunshine” vitamin also supports our immune and cardiovascular systems, and endocrine function, so it’s vitally important that we maintain adequate blood levels. Children especially need vitamin D to develop strong, healthy bones.

In a nation struggling with obesity, it’s hard to believe that we are once again seeing borderline deficiencies. Though rickets, scurvy, and pellagra seem like stories from the days of pirates and early settlers, modern science shows that we are now seeing borderline and frank deficiencies of many vitamins and minerals in the American population. It is clear that though we are overfed, we are undernourished. Furthermore, our messages regarding low-salt and skin-cancer awareness have decreased consumption of iodine and significantly impacted vitamin D levels.

Perhaps the most concerning take away from modern nutritional data is that children, particularly obese, minority children, seem to be heavily impacted. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) study found that a large number of children 6-18 years of age are deficient in vitamin D.  The deficiency percentage goes way up in children who are overweight, and amongst obese kids – one-third of white, 50% of Latino, and 87% of African American children – were deficient in vitamin D.

 

Why are we lacking?

With so many fortified foods in our grocery stores and the ability of our body to make vitamin D with exposure to sunlight, why are so many kids lacking?

The most obvious answer is probably the fact that all of us, including our kids, are spending more and more of our lives indoors and engaged in sedentary pursuits, such as watching TV and working/playing on our computers and smartphones. Not only are we spending less time outdoors, we are also much more aggressive about using sunscreen to protect our skin, which dramatically decreases our ability to make vitamin D.

While vitamin D is found in some foods, it is not easy to get adequate amounts in our diet. For example, to get just 600 IU of vitamin D in your diet you would need to eat one of the following every day:

* 3–4 ounces sockeye salmon, cooked
* 11.4 ounces water-packed tuna
* 26 oil-packed sardines
* 15 large eggs
* 5 cups fortified milk OR
* 30-45 ounces yogurt

In the case of vitamin D, the best bet to ensure adequate intake is probably through the use of supplements, which are readily available at pharmacies and natural foods stores. In general, breastfed infants should be given 400 IU per day; older children 1000 IU per day, while obese children probably need closer to 2000 IU per day. Talk to your pediatrician to know what is best for your child. When choosing a vitamin D supplement, look for those that contain D3 (cholecalciferol), the most bioactive form, and take with dinner for optimal absorption.

 

More is not better

While you want to make sure you and your kids are getting adequate vitamin D – more is not better. The Institute of Medicine has set the following upper limits for vitamin D, meaning you should NOT exceed these amounts unless under the supervision of your health care provider.

* 1,000 IU/day for infants to age 6 months
* 1,500 IU/day for ages 6 months to 1 year
* 2,500 IU/day ages 1 to 3 years
* 3,000 IU/day for ages 4 to 8 years
* 4,000 IU/day anyone older than 8 years

Vitamin D, like most nutrients, does best when it is taken with its partner nutrients. Vitamin D partners well with calcium and vitamin K2. Vitamin D allows calcium to be absorbed and vitamin K2 directs it to the bone.

 

Sources

http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2436596

http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/vitamin-d/background/hrb-20060400

Turer CB, et al. Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among overweight and obese US children. Pediatrics 2013; 131(1):e152-61

Rose Water Hydrosol

Winter in Utah/Oregon means a lot of time indoors and, we hope, a lot of time for projects. I have a penchant for all things floral, so it’s only natural that one of my projects would be to bottle a favorite scent.

For an easy-to-make winter refresher, I turn to rose hydrosol, also known as rose water. Rose is known to be very good for your skin–both moisturizing and full of antioxidants–and a rose hydrosol makes a delightful facial spray.

I use essential oils as a way to relax and decompress. Sometimes this means using a few drops in the shower (pretending I have an aromatherapy steam shower) or sometimes it means lighting a candle. Many doctors working with integrative medicine view aromatherapy as complementary to other alternative healing methods, and I subscribe to the theory. I know this: a drop of essential oil can help me relax and feel refreshed.

For full step-by-step instructions for making your own rose hydrosol, see below.

flower-water-health-7-sophia-moreno-bunge-gardenistaAbove: Rose is good for cleansing and hydrating and is useful for headaches and tired eyes.

You can make your own floral hydrosol with any scented flower or herb of your choice. Lavender, jasmine, orange blossom are a few of my other favorites.

flower-water-health-2-sophia-moreno-bunge-gardenistaAbove: Fresh rose petals and ice cubes for making a hydrosol.

A hydrosol is designed to be sprayed on your skin; use flowers from your garden or those purchased from a local organic farmer that you know have not been sprayed with chemicals. The best floral hydrosols are made with flowers that are in season when they are most fragrant. Fear not: you can also make floral hydrosols from dried flowers using this same process.

What you’ll need:

  • Rose petals from about six very fragrant roses (or roughly five or six handfuls of petals).  If you are using dried flowers, you’ll need three handfuls.
  • Large cooking pot and a lid that fits snugly.
  • 2 small, heat-safe glass or ceramic bowls.
  • Plenty of ice.
  • Ziploc bags for ice (so it can be easily replaced after it melts).
  • 6 cups of distilled water.
  • A small spray bottle.

 

Step 1: Place a heat-safe bowl upside down in a pot. Next, drop your rose petals around the bowl, but not on top of the bowl. If you want an extra-fragrant rose water, use more plant material. You also can mix in herbs of your choice.

Step 2: Pour distilled water carefully over the petals until the water level reaches a height of about 1 inch below the lip of the bowl.  Place your second heat-safe bowl in the pot so that it rests on top of the overturned bowl.

Step 3: Place the pot lid on the pot (upside down, so the lid creates a concave space where you will place your ice cubes). When the steam from the water containing the plant material hits the bottom of the icy cold lid, it will create condensation and drip back into the empty bowl. This is your flower water.

Step 4: After your pot has finished simmering, turn off the heat and let it cool (with the lid still on so you don’t lose any hydrosol from evaporation). After it cools, remove the bowl with your hydrosol and pour it into a bottle or jar to store. I decided to make my hydrosol extra aromatic and therapeutic by adding a couple of drops of rose essential oil.

Your hydrosol should last for about six months and should be kept in a cool, dark place (a refrigerator works best).

If you’re interested in trying your hand at making another kind of hydrosol (or stocking up on a few new essential oils), I did some research into ailments and their corresponding aromatherapy treatments, and this is what I found:

  • Muscle soreness (for the gardeners!): bay, caraway, chamomile, eucalyptus, frankincense, ginger, geranium, juniper, lemongrass, lemon verbena, rosemary, sandalwood, patchouli, and myrtle.
  • Fatigue: basil, angelica, cedarwood, clove, eucalyptus, jasmine, frankincense, lemon, neroli, marjoram, peppermint, patchouli, and vanilla.
  • Anxiety: lavender, melissa, myrrh, bergamot, cardamom, chamomile, cypress, frankincense, rose, pine, vanilla, marjoram, neroli, nutmeg, patchouli, and orange/lime.
  • Headaches: basil, chamomile, cinnamon, ginger, eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, melissa, marjoram, peppermint, thyme, ylang-ylang, and clary sage.

Rose, Cardamom, and Ginger Body Soak

A DIY recipe for making a healing tub soak of your own.

A Warming Winter Body Soak:

In the following order, blend together in a mortar and pestle:

  • A small handful of whole green cardamom pods
  • A handful of dried rose petals
  • About 1 cup of your favorite bathing salt (Ashley loves Himalayan pink salt for this)
  • A teaspoon or two of your favorite carrier oil (Ashley suggests apricot kernel, sesame, melted coconut, or jojoba)
  • A few drops of essential oil { Start with just a couple drops and then smell the blend for balance, keeping in mind that the scent of the oils will bloom in the warm water of your bath and gently scent the surrounding air}
  • A small spoonful of dried, powdered ginger { “Very warming for this time of year, and it complements the scent of the rose and the cardamom”}

After the mixture is blended, spoon it into a small fabric/muslin bag. As an alternative to using a mortar and pestle, cardamom pods also can be crushed with a rolling pin and the remaining items blended together in a bowl. But, “There is something so nice about the ritual of blending everything to release the scents with the mortar and pestle.”

marble-and-milkweed-bath-soak-2-erin-boyle-gardenistaAshley spoons her salt blend into a muslin bag. Rather than sprinkling her tub with the blended ingredients, she places her filled bag underneath the running tap of the bathtub to infuse the water and dissolve the salt. The extra step saves her from having to scrub the tub post-soak.

Breastfeeding

Over 70% of all women with newborns in the U.S. currently breastfeed their babies and that percentage is growing- and for good reason. There is a tremendous amount of evidence that breastfeeding improves immune function in infants. According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2011 report, compared with breastfed infants, babies who drink formula are more prone to ear infections and diarrhea in the first six months and face a higher lifetime risk of asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes and other health problems.

However, breastfeeding often presents challenges for new moms, such as nipple pain/cracking, engorgement (swelling and discomfort with soreness of the nipples), mastitis, and/or inadequate or excessive milk supply. These challenges can be incredibly frustrating and even result in new moms discontinuing breastfeeding entirely. Introducing homeopathy to breastfeeding moms can be tremendously helpful in addressing these challenges and help to make the breastfeeding experience more enjoyable for all. Plus, homeopathic remedies are safe for breastfeeding moms and infants, without a risk of negative or dangerous side effects.

When choosing a remedy one should examine the breasts to see if there is any discoloration or visible swelling or anything unusual about the nipples. The texture and appearance of the milk produced should also be examined. Finally, observe whether the child has any problems with feeding.

Here are a few of the breastfeeding challenges new moms may struggle with and some of the common remedies to consider for them:

Cracked/Sore Nipples

  • Graphites: the cracks are itchy; may be oozing a honey-like discharge.
  • Nitricum Acidum: for bleeding and painful cracks.
  • Phytolacca: For sore, cracked nipples, which hurt when the baby nurses. One of the most commonly used remedies for mastitis, especially where the pains radiate from the affected area and the breast is hard and lumpy.  The patient may feel heavy with flu-like symptoms or may have a breast abscess threatening.

Mastitis/Painful Breasts/Clogged Ducts

  • Belladonna: Sudden onset of intense symptoms. Worse on the right side. Breast(s) is red, hot and hard and can be marked by red streaks. The patient is very uncomfortable being touched or jarred and may have a craving for lemons or lemonade.
  • Bryonia: Breasts are very painful with motion and the patient is quite irritable. While the breasts are hot and painful as well as hard they are not as red as with Belladonna. The problem can be worse around 9:00 PM. Mucous membranes of the patient may also be dry (lips, etc.) and they may complain of pains and aches all over. They are worse from any motion and better from pressure to the breast. They also tend to be very thirsty.
  • Calcarea carb: Breasts can be hot and swollen but pale in color. The patient will complain of being chilly with a tendency to perspire in fact they can perspire even when cold. There may be the production of excess watery milk or deficiency of milk. The milk may also disagree with the child. The woman is worse from exertion or a cold room and has a strong craving for eggs and a strong desire for dairy including cheese. Warmth makes the patient feel better.
  • Phytolacca: For sore, cracked nipples, which hurt when the baby nurses. One of the most commonly used remedies for mastitis, especially where the pains radiate from the affected area and the breast is hard and lumpy.  The patient may feel heavy with flu-like symptoms or may have a breast abscess threatening.
  • Pulsatilla: Breast milk can be watery, suppressed or blocked or flow profusely. The flow may also be quite variable. The patient tends to have symptoms that change often. They also tend to be yielding in nature and easily brought to tears with a warm personality. They can cry while nursing the baby. The patient is worse in a warm room and much better in open air. They are also thirstless.
  • Urtica urens: No breast milk is produced at all and there does not seem to be a cause for the problem. Breasts can be swollen with stinging pains like the sting of a bee. The breasts may also itch. The patient can also experience a stinging or itching rash. There is an aggravation from cold and cold bathing.

Milk Supply Problems

  • Calcarea carb: Breasts can be hot and swollen but pale in color. The patient will complain of being chilly with a tendency to perspire in fact they can perspire even when cold. There may be the production of excess watery milk or deficiency of milk. The milk may also disagree with the child. The woman is worse from exertion or a cold room and has a strong craving for eggs and a strong desire for dairy including cheese. Warmth makes the patient feel better.
  • Lac caninum: will address milk flow issues that switch from side to side.  The patient may feel a conflict between nursing and the sexuality of her breasts.
  • Pulsatilla: Breast milk can be watery, suppressed or blocked or flow profusely. The flow may also be quite variable. The patient tends to have symptoms that change often. They also tend to be yielding in nature and easily brought to tears with a warm personality. They can cry while nursing the baby. The patient is worse in a warm room and much better in open air. They are also thirstless.
  • Ricinus communis: can help increase milk secretion. Make sure to use in the right potency because of different potencies of Ricinus act differently in the body – 6C improves milk secretion while 30C reduces milk supply and is used for weaning.
  • Urtica urens: No breast milk is produced at all and there does not seem to be a cause for the problem. Breasts can be swollen with stinging pains like the sting of a bee. The breasts may also itch. The patient can also experience a stinging or itching rash. There is an aggravation from cold and cold bathing.

Weaning

When to wean is a personal decision. To allow both mom and baby to adjust physically and emotionally to the change, weaning should be a gradual process. Weaning is easier and painless if you take homeopathic medicines. They decrease the milk supply, thus relieving the swelling of the breasts and the pain. The most commonly used homeopathic medicines for weaning include:

  • Lac caninum: use a 30C potency.
  • Pulsatilla: use a 30C potency.
  • Ricinus communis: Use a 30C potency. Make sure to use in the right potency because different potencies of Ricinus exert a different action – 6C improves milk secretion while 30C reduces milk supply and is used for weaning.

What Is Neroli Oil and What Is It Used For?

Neroli oil is a pale yellow essential oil derived from the blossoms of the bitter orange tree (citrus Aurantium). Extracted via steam distillation, neroli oil has a sweet, distinctive citrus scent and is widely used in perfumery and aromatherapy. According to legend, neroli oil is named for Anna-Marie de Nerola, an Italian aristocrat who popularized the oil in 17th century Europe.

Related Essential Oils

Orange trees produce a wide variety of essential oils. The bitter orange tree also yields petitgrain essential oil. While neroli oil is extracted from the flowers, petitgrain oil is derived from the leaves and young twigs. Petitgrain is chemically distinct from neroli and possesses a woodier aroma. Bergamot orange (citrus bergamia) is a closely related cultivar. The peel of the bergamot orange fruit is used to produce bergamot essential oil, which is used to flavor Earl Grey tea, Turkish delight, and marmalade. Orange oil extracted from the peel of the sweet orange fruit (Citrus sinensis) is used in an assortment of beauty products, cleaners, and flavorings.

Uses of Neroli Oil

Neroli Oil In Beauty Products

Neroli essential oil is prized for its aroma and is one of the most commonly used essential oils in perfumery. Although many people think of “cologne” as a generic term that may refer to any cosmetic fragrance, Eau de Cologne is actually the name of a specific fragrance formula and neroli (along with bergamot, lavender, lemon, and rosemary) is an ingredient.

When used properly, neroli oil is nontoxic, won’t irritate, and is safe for sensitive skin. It moisturizes dry skin and may reduce the appearance of scarring and stretch marks. Neroli oil can be blended with other essential oils and used to relieve occasional itchiness and irritation that comes with psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.

Therapeutic Applications

The benefits of neroli oil extend well beyond its pleasant fragrance and ability to support skin health. It has a strong action against harmful organisms. It offers benefits as a digestive aid and can help relieve bloating, gas, and diarrhea.Neroli oil can even promote normal sleep.

Due to its relaxing properties, neroli oil is frequently used in aromatherapy. Although viewed with skepticism by some, aromatherapy has real, scientifically proven benefits, especially for stress management. Inhaling an essential oil blend that includes neroli has been found to significantly reduce blood pressure, lower stress levels, and improve mood. Because of its mild sedative effects, neroli is a relaxing massage oil.

Neroli oil can positively affect women’s health. One study found that aromatherapy with neroli oil is a safe, simple, natural, and effective way to reduce labor anxiety. Another study tested the effects of neroli oil on menopausal women and found that inhalation reduced stress and blood pressure, improved pulse rate, and increased sexual desire. As an added bonus, the study concluded that neroli oil may also support the endocrine system.

Chemical Composition of Neroli Oil

Neroli oil has a unique chemical composition. The oil is composed of over thirty distinct compounds including nerolidol, alpha-terpineol, alpha-terpinyl acetate, and farnesol.Limonene, which is the most abundant compound in neroli oil, is used as a remedy for heartburn and acid reflux. Limonene, alpha-terpineol, and farnesol have also been evaluated for possible anticarcinogenic effects.

Neroli Oil Blends

Many essential oils must be diluted with other oils before they are safe to use on human skin. Neroli oil should be diluted but not because it’s unsafe—because it’s expensive!

Pure neroli oil can cost $100 per ounce! Beware of retailers who charge significantly less—it is likely a fake or a blend. There’s nothing wrong with an essential oil blend… as long as it’s not being passed off as 100% pure neroli oil. Exercise caution and read ingredient labels and reviews before purchasing any neroli oil product.

Why is neroli oil so expensive? Because neroli oil is costly to produce. It takes one ton of bitter orange blossoms to make one quart of oil. Fortunately, a little neroli oil goes a long way and it blends well with other essential oils. Oils frequently blended with neroli include benzoin oil, geranium oil, lavender oil, jasmine oil, and rosemary oil. Neroli also blends well with other citrus oils.

Spa~At~Home Parties

Spa-at-Home parties offer an excellent alternative venue to offer your pampering bath and body products for sale. Opportunities to offer the spa experience within the comfort of the home abound – from traditional home-party style evenings to bachelorette bashes, tween birthday parties, and sleepovers – the potential to leverage your products is limited only by your imagination, and motivation!

Setting the Stage

Theme your presentation around the type of event the hostess is having. For example, if your hostess is having a bachelorette party, you’d want to theme the products and demonstrations around items that the bride and her attendants could use in preparing for the big day – items like facial masks, body scrubs, or relaxing bath salts and soaks. For a tween birthday party, you might instead opt for things like fragranced body splashes and lotions, shower gels and bubble bath.

It isn’t necessary to change your product packaging for these types of events, but you can inject fun into the process by creating themed gift sets, baskets or gift bags in non-traditional types of containers. Some great examples include take-out boxes, cosmetic bags, inexpensive totes or purses, teacups, or martini glasses.

Keeping it Simple

The key to success in putting on these types of events is to keep it simple. Limit your product offering to your best sellers, or those that best fit the group. If you plan to offer demonstrations of items such as scrubs or masks, be sure to instruct your hostess to have extra hand towels, tissues, and other necessities ready for her guests.

Handy Spa-at-Home Party Checklist:

  • Pre-printed order forms
  • Business Cards
  • Brochures or flyers
  • Calendar (to book additional parties!)
  • Party games
  • Inexpensive prizes (pumice stones, nail files, cuticle kits, etc.)
  • Plenty of Sample Products
  • Full-size items for sale
  • Party favors (items such as samples, business card magnets, notepads, etc.)
  • Bags to package purchases
  • Cash bag to make change

Offering spa-at-home parties is a creative way to supplement your income, and introduce your products to new prospects. Focus on sharing your passion for the products, and the benefits that they impart, and sales will surely follow.

To your success with spa products!