I’ve been asked a lot lately abou the use of oscillococcinum with common colds, and I have done a lot of research into it. I cannot stand those colds that you feel creeping on slowly throughout the day, you try to brush it off, and not pay too much attention to it. You drink fluids, get a good nights sleep, yet the very next day you wake up and feel like the living dead. Your head is stuffy, can’t concentrate, perhaps a sore throat, and a possible fever…as it goes on, it may move into your chest, leaving a hacking cough that makes people stare at you, as if you are streamlining your virus directly at them with every cough. Yup, I have been there, as recently as two weeks ago. It is my nightmare. Especially with day light savings now in effect, I tend to feel more tired anyway, so never mind a long drawn out cold to make you feel that much worse. I am all about anything that will stave that off!!
What is Oscillococcinum?
Oscillococcinum, also known as Oscillo, is an over the counter supplement, that is supposed to relieve cold and flu symptoms. It is widely used in the EU, France specifically, where it has been used for years as a homeopathic treatment. It is a dilution of cells from duck liver and heart, that contain the oscillococcus bacteria. In the 1920’s a French scientist thought that he had found, in the blood of people sick with the flu, this bacteria, and thought that if it was diluted, then given to people with the active disease, it would then end the flu early. In homeopathic medicine, there is a theory that “like treats like”, in that a small diluted amount of the same bacteria administered, should offset the active bacteria. So, this scientist, found a way to dilute the bacteria from duck livers and hearts, and….oscillococcinum was made!
What’s the deal?
Oscillo then became one of the most highly sought after supplements in the EU and in the 1990’s it hit the media in the US and now consumers purchase approximately $15million in Oscillo a year. So, tons of people are using this supplement whenever they get sick or feel like they are getting sick. So, does it work? In a word, no. Every form of oscillococcinum on the market has been tested and they found that the dilution of the product is so minimal, that there is nothing other than sucrose and lactose, sugars which are used as fillers, present. Basically, people are paying a premium for sugar pills. There have been numerous studies that have shown the effects are no different from a placebo pill (interestingly, they are normally sugar pills). Most likely, by the time people start taking the Oscillo, their virus has already started it’s course, and the pills don’t shorten the diration or how bad the cold is, but it truly can become mind over matter for people. And with colds, so many people feel like taking a supplement is being proactive to get rid of it sooner, but really the virus needs to run its course. There is actually a very large class action suit against Borion, the maker of Oscillo, for the company making false statements about the effects of the “medication” (i.e. that it can cure colds and flu within 48 hours) and for having no actual medicinal ingredients.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the only thing to help with colds are plenty of fluids, lots of rest, and time. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for anything that will kick colds faster, but for now, the old fashioned way is best. But, if you do happen to use Oscillo and it works for you, then I have some magic beans for you too!
Yours in Good Health