Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor
To the Editor: Dr Lawrence1 did not discuss the broader implications of her patient's choice to use herbal medications. Her search for a healthier way to feed her infant, including avoidance of any unnecessary exposure to antibiotics, makes sense at a time when antibiotic resistance is a commonplace phenomenon. We applaud her use of herbal Echinacea to boost her immune system. We especially commend her well-chosen use of 2 homeopathic remedies, belladonna and Phytolacca.2,3 Homeopathic belladonna is frequently used for acute infections characterized by pain, redness, and inflammation, especially if "burning, dry, flushed, and throbbing" in appearance.2(p416), 3(pp86,212-213) The potentially toxic effects of belladonna and Phytolacca have been removed by the progressive dilutions of homeopathic preparation. However, because of their specificity, these and other homeopathic remedies are best used under the guidance of an experienced practitioner. When further diluted by the mother's body into the milk, there would be even less reason for concern. Her rapid recovery reflects the excellent care she received, not that she was incorrectly diagnosed. Herbal preparations of belladonna and Phytolacca would not have achieved this result because they do not have the same indications.
Pillai S, Catellani C. A Woman Experiencing Difficulty With Breastfeeding. JAMA. 2001;285(12):1575-1576. doi:10.1001/jama.285.12.1575