How Does Oscillococcinum work?

Consider taking the homeopathic preparation Oscillococcinum next time you start feeling achy, with fever and chills. An alternative medicine especially made for treating symptoms of flu, Oscillococcinum is made by Boiron, the well-respected, FDA-approved French homeopathic pharmacy. This medicine with the funny name, (o-sill-o-cox-see-num) is a natural product and easy to take. Sometimes referred to as Oscillo, this alternative remedy is believed to reduce symptoms of the flu, shorten the duration of the illness, and if taken early enough, when symptoms have not fully formed, it may abort a full-blown case of flu, according to and

Sick woman lying in bed with fever. Credit: AlexRaths/iStock/Getty Images

What Is Ossilococcinum?

Ossilococcinum's active ingredient is an extract from duck liver and heart and is listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopia of the United States (HPUS) as anas barbariae hepatis et cordis extractum 200K. (And you thought Ossilococcinum was hard to pronounce!) Homeopathy is based on the theory of the "law of similars," that "like treats like." In the "Organon of the Medical Art" by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, founder of homeopathy, he explains that homeopathic treatment utilizes a very tiny dose of a substance that produces characteristic symptoms of the disease being treated to cure the same disease in the patient. Waterfowl, chickens and various other fowl are a natural source of the flu virus.

How Does It Work? explains that Oscillococcinum, like other homeopathic remedies, stimulates the person's own immune system to produce a reaction, thus calling up the body's own defenses. It should be taken at the first sign of symptoms and used as a first line of defense against flu.


Ossilococcinum comes in packages of three or six vials and is available at pharmacies, health-food and grocery stores. Package inserts recommend taking one complete vial and dissolving in the mouth, repeating every six hours. points out that there is no evidence that this is a correct dose for this medicine. The appropriate dose is based on several factors, including the user's age, overall health and other conditions. Contacting a homeopathic practitioner for guidance regarding dosage is recommendedr.


Because Ossilococcinum is a homeopathic medicine, it is believed to be safe, with no known side effects, according to

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