It is a homeopathic product that, according to its manufacturer, relieves flu symptoms, for which there is no objective evidence.
In recent years, Oscillococcinum has secured a place as one of the best over-the-counter supplements to treat and reduce flu symptoms.
However, its effectiveness has been questioned by researchers and healthcare professionals alike.
This article explains if Oscillococcinum can treat the flu.
What is Oscillococcinum?
Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic preparation that is generally used to relieve flu symptoms.
It was created during the 1920s by the French physician Joseph Roy, who believed he had discovered a type of “oscillating” bacteria in people with the Spanish flu.
He also claimed to have observed the same strain of bacteria in the blood of people with other conditions, such as:
Oscillococcinum was formulated using an active ingredient extracted from the heart and liver of a specific type of duck and has been diluted several times.
The preparation is believed to contain specific compounds that can help fight flu symptoms. However, it is not yet clear how it works.
Although the effectiveness of Oscillococcinum remains highly controversial, it is widely used around the world as a natural remedy to treat flu-like symptoms such as body aches, headaches, chills, fever, and fatigue.
Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic preparation made from an ingredient extracted from the heart and liver of a specific type of duck. It is believed to help treat flu symptoms.
It is highly diluted.
One of the main concerns surrounding Oscillococcinum is the way it is produced.
The preparation is diluted at 200C, a commonly used measure in homeopathy.
This means that the mixture is diluted with one part of the duck organ to 100 parts of water.
The dilution process is repeated 200 times until just a trace of the active ingredient remains in the final product.
Dilution in homeopathy is believed to increase the potency of a preparation.
Unfortunately, research is still limited on the effectiveness of these ultra-dilute substances and if they have any health benefits.
Oscillococcinum must be highly diluted until hardly a trace of the active ingredient remains in the final product.
Bacteria do not cause the flu.
Another problem with Oscillococcinum is that it was created based on the belief that a specific strain of bacteria causes influenza.
This strain was also supposedly identified within the heart and liver of a duck species, which is why they are used in the formulation of Oscillococcinum.
The doctor credited with creating Oscillococcinum also believed that this type of bacteria could be beneficial in treating many other conditions, including cancer, herpes, measles, and chickenpox.
However, scientists are now aware that viruses and not bacteria cause influenza.
Also, none of the other conditions believed to be treated by Oscillococcinum are caused by bacterial strains.
For this reason, it is not clear how effective Oscillococcinum can be, given that it is based on theories that have since been proven false.
Oscillococcinum was created based on the idea that a particular strain of bacteria causes influenza. However, it is known that viral infections and not bacteria cause influenza today.
More research is needed on its effectiveness.
Studies on the effectiveness of Oscillococcinum have yielded mixed results.
For example, a study of 455 people showed that Oscillococcinum was able to reduce the frequency of respiratory tract infections.
However, other research found that it may not be particularly effective when improving flu symptoms significantly.
A review of six studies reported no significant difference between Oscillococcinum and placebo in preventing influenza.
Another review of seven studies had similar findings and showed that Oscillococcinum was ineffective in preventing influenza.
The results suggested that Oscillococcinum was able to decrease the duration of influenza but only on average by less than seven hours.
Research on the effects of this homeopathic preparation is still limited, and most studies are considered low quality with a high risk of bias.
High-quality studies with a large sample size are needed to determine how Oscillococcinum can affect flu symptoms.
One study found that Oscillococcinum reduced the frequency of respiratory tract infections, but extensive reviews show minimal benefit in treating influenza.
It May have a placebo effect.
Although research on the effectiveness of Oscillococcinum has yielded mixed results, some studies suggest that it may provide a placebo effect.
For example, in a review of seven studies, no evidence suggests that Oscillococcinum can effectively prevent or treat influenza.
However, the researchers noted that people who took Oscillococcinum were more likely to find an effective treatment.
Other research suggests that many of the benefits of homeopathic preparations like Oscillococcinum can be attributed to a placebo effect rather than the medication itself.
But due to the conflicting findings on the effectiveness of Oscillococcinum, more research is required to determine if it may have a placebo effect.
Some research suggests that Oscillococcinum and other homeopathic preparations may have a placebo effect.
It is safe with minimal risk of side effects.
Although it is unclear whether Oscillococcinum can help relieve flu symptoms, studies have confirmed that it is generally safe and can be used with minimal risk of side effects.
In fact, according to one review, Oscillococcinum has been on the market for over 80 years and has an excellent safety profile due to the lack of reported adverse health effects.
Some reports of patients experiencing angioedema, a type of severe inflammation, after taking Oscillococcinum. However, it is not clear if the preparation caused it or if other factors may have been involved.
Also, remember that Oscillococcinum is sold as a dietary supplement rather than a drug in many areas, including the US.
Therefore, it is not regulated by the FDA and does not meet the same standards as conventional drugs regarding safety, quality, and effectiveness.
Oscillococcinum is generally considered safe and has been associated with very few adverse effects.
However, it is sold as a dietary supplement in most places, which is not as regulated as other medications.
The bottom line
- Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic preparation used to treat flu symptoms.
- Due to the questionable science behind the product and the lack of high-quality research, its effectiveness remains controversial.
- It may offer a placebo effect rather than actual medicinal properties.
- It is considered safe with minimal side effects.
- If you find that it works for you, you can safely take Oscillococcinum when the flu hits you.