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What is Oscillococcinum&Reg;?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
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Oscillococcinum® is a very popular natural health flu medicine that is widely available in places like Europe and the US. The medicine, manufactured by the company, Boiron®, is based on the principals of homeopathy, where a substance that could initially cause illness is diluted many times over to give the body a trace element of it, which may promote healing instead of causing it. In the case of Oscillococcinum® the substance diluted is the livers and hearts of ducks, which are said to be a good natural source of various flu viruses.

The statement that Oscillococcinum® will cure flu goes a little far. Scant studies exist that prove its worth. From current evidence gathered in legitimate studies, the best that this homeopathic medicine might accomplish is slightly reducing the duration of the flu. Yet even when reduction is achieved, the amount of time sickness is reduced can be significantly less than a day. On the other hand, many people feel that six to twelve hours less of illness is certainly worthwhile.

People may wonder about the safety of taking Oscillococcinum®, and it’s thought to be safe for consumption by most. It’s no more harmful than consuming duck heart or liver, and the dilution process reduces any concerns that these high fat parts of the duck would raise cholesterol. There are lactose and sucrose as inactive ingredients, and people with milk intolerance might have trouble taking the medicine.

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In places like the US, the US Food and Drug Administration or FDA does regulate the sale of this remedy, which is untrue of many other homeopathic remedies. This means people can be assured ingredients meet the standards the FDA sets, but the FDA does not guarantee that the product actually works.

Recommendations by Boiron® for using Oscillococcinum® suggest taking three tubes of the product in a twenty-four hour period, preferably spaced six hours apart, just at the onset of flu symptoms. It’s also suggested that the remedy be taken right before or after meals. The product is suggested for use for children over the age of two and for any age thereafter. Boiron® recommends having a doctor consult prior to giving Oscillococcinum® to children under the age of two.

This homeopathic remedy has been studied with small samples of people where study outcome suggested much more favorable results. Particularly in the late 1990s, this remedy appeared to be a potentially miraculous cure for the flu, and from anecdotal standpoint it is still viewed this way. Continued investigations into the medicine suggest it may have very limited benefit over placebo.

One finding that supports claims of a medicine’s efficacy is being able to reproduce research results and to do so in increasingly larger studies. This has not been achieved with Oscillococcinum®, and despite grandiose claims on the company’s website, present research simply isn’t that encouraging. Nevertheless, enthusiasm for the product remains, and many people who take it are happy to testify to its positive results. Those interested in trying the medicine can find it at local drug and health food stores.

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