When cold and flu season approaches, we do everything in our power to take cover. Some pile on the scarves, others load up on vitamin C. But despite our best efforts, most of us still fall prey to that same ol’ aching, coughing, and sneezing at some point over the winter.
While rest and hydration are essential when you’ve got cold- and flu-like symptoms, many swear by a homeopathic product called Oscillococcinum (oscillo-what?) to move recovery along quicker.
Despite its intimidating name—for the record, it’s pronounced oh-sill-oh-cox-see-num—the over-the-counter item has developed a cult-like following, especially among people who prefer a homeopathic route to health.
Quick lesson: Homeopathy is an alternative medical system developed in Germany more than 200 years ago. The FDA regulates these products, but doesn’t rate their efficacy. Oscillo’s active ingredient is called Anas Barbariae Hepatis et Cordis Extractum, which is an extremely diluted extract of duck liver and heart.
According to Dr. Elena Klimenko, MD, who is both board certified in internal medicine and licensed in medical acupuncture and homeopathy, Oscillo is a very commonly used product, sold in over 50 countries throughout the world—especially in France, where it is made and is the bestselling over-the-counter product for flu-like symptoms.
Some of Oscillo’s perks? “It does not cause drowsiness or a foggy feeling, does not interact with other medications, herbs, or supplements, and is not contraindicated with pre-existing conditions,” Klimenko says.
When taking Oscillo, you’ll put the entire contents of one tube under the tongue every six hours, up to three times a day—and time is of the essence, says Klimenko, who recommends taking it at the first sign of symptoms. It’s recommended for children two years and older, whereas decongestants and antihistamines aren’t recommended for anyone under the age of four.
The Bottom Line
A study published in British Homeopathy showed that Oscillo not only shortened the severity of flu symptoms, but the duration of them as well. In the study, 63 percent of participants who took the medicine within 24 hours of the onset of flu symptoms reported either a “clear improvement” or “complete resolution” of the symptoms within 48 hours.
When it comes to prevention, Dr. Klimenko stresses washing your hands often, eating well, and taking a multivitamin each day. But if that doesn’t work—and unfortunately it often doesn’t—she recommends Oscillo.