What is it?
Homeopathic products are extreme dilutions of some active ingredient. They are often so diluted that they don't contain any active medicine. Homeopathic products are permitted for sale in the U.S. due to legislation passed in 1938 sponsored by a homeopathic physician who was also a senator. The law still requires that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allow the sale of products listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States. However, homeopathic preparations are not held to the same safety and effectiveness standards as conventional medicines.
Oscillococcinum is used for symptoms of influenza infections ("the flu") and H1N1 (swine) flu.
How effective is it?
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for OSCILLOCOCCINUM are as follows:
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...
- Flu (influenza) and H1N1 (swine) flu. There is no reliable evidence that taking oscillococcinum can prevent the flu. However, in people with flu symptoms, there is some evidence that oscillococcinum might help people get over the flu faster, but only by 6 or 7 hours. This may not be of much importance. The reliability of this finding is also questionable due to flaws in the study design. More evidence is needed to rate oscillococcinum for this use.
How does it work?
A French physician discovered oscillococcinum while investigating the Spanish flu in 1917. But he was mistaken that his "oscillococci" were the cause of the flu.
Practitioners of homeopathy believe that more dilute preparations are more potent. Many homeopathic preparations are so diluted that they contain little or no active ingredient. Therefore, most homeopathic products are not expected to act like drugs, or have drug interactions or other harmful effects. Any beneficial effects are controversial and cannot be explained by current scientific methods.
Dilutions of 1 to 10 are designated by an "X." So a 1X dilution = 1:10 or 1 part of an active ingredient in 10 parts of water; 3X = 1:1000; 6X = 1:1,000,000. Dilutions of 1 to 100 are designated by a "C." So a 1C dilution = 1:100; 3C = 1:1,000,000. Dilutions of 24X or 12C or more contain zero molecules of the original active ingredient. Oscillococcinum is diluted to 200C.
Are there safety concerns?
Special precautions & warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: This product has not been studied in women who are pregnant or breast-feeding. However, it is a homeopathic product and contains no measurable amount of active ingredient. Therefore this product is not expected to cause any beneficial or harmful effect.
Are there interactions with medications?
- It is not known if this product interacts with any medicines.
Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.
Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?
- There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.
Are there interactions with foods?
- There are no known interactions with foods.
What dose is used?
To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.
- Rottey, E. E., Verleye, G. B., and Liagre, R. L. The effects of a homeopathic remedy made of micro-organisms in the prevention of flu. A randomised double-blind trial in GP practices [Het effect van een homeopathische bereiding van micro-organismen bij de preventie van griepsymptomen. Een gerandomiseerd dubbel-blind onderzoek in de huisartspraktijk]. Tijdschrift voor Integrale Geneeskunde 1995;11:54-58.
- Nollevaux, M. A. Clinical study of Mucococcinum 200K as a preventative treatment against flu: a double blind trial versus placebo [Klinische studie van Mucococcinum 200K als preventieve behandeling van griepachtige aandoeningen: een dubbelblinde test tegenover placebo]. 1990;
- Casanova, P. Homeopathy, flu syndrome and double blinding [Homeopathie, syndrome grippal et double insu]. Tonus 1984;:26.
- Casanova, P. and Gerard, R. Results of three years of randomised, multicentre studies on Oscillococcinum/placebo [Bilan de 3 annees d'etudes randomisees multicentriques Oscillococcinum/placebo]. 1992;
- Papp, R., Schuback, G., Beck, E., Burkard G., and Lehrl S. Oscillococcinum in patients with influenza-like syndromes: a placebo-controlled double-blind evaluation. British Homoeopathic Journal 1998;87:69-76.
- Vickers, A. and Smith, C. WITHDRAWN: Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for preventing and treating influenza and influenza-like syndromes. Cochrane.Database.Syst.Rev. 2009;:CD001957. View abstract.
- Vickers, A. J. and Smith, C. Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for preventing and treating influenza and influenza-like syndromes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2004;:CD001957. View abstract.
- Mathie RT, Frye J, Fisher P. Homeopathic Oscillococcinum for preventing and treating influenza and influenza-like illness. Cochrane Database Sys Rev 2012;:CD001957. View abstract.
- Guo R, Pittler MH, Ernst E. Complementary medicine for treating or preventing influenza or influenza-like illness. Am J Med 2007;120:923-9. View abstract.
- van der Wouden JC, Bueving HJ, Poole P. Preventing influenza: an overview of systematic reviews. Respir Med 2005;99:1341-9. View abstract.
- Ernst, E. A systematic review of systematic reviews of homeopathy. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2002;54:577-82. View abstract.
- Ferley JP, Zmirou D, D'Adhemar D, et al. A controlled evaluation of a homoeopathic preparation in the treatment of influenza-like syndromes. Br J Clin Pharmacol 1989;27:329-35. View abstract.
- Papp R, Schuback G, Beck E, et al. Oscillococcinum in patients with influenza-like syndromes: a placebo-controlled double-blind evaluation. British Homoeopathic Journal 1998;87:69-76.
- Attena F, Toscano G, Agozzino E, Del Giudice Net al. A randomized trial in the prevention of influenza-like syndromes by homeopathic management. Rev Epidemiol Sante Publique 1995;43:380-2. View abstract.
- Linde K, Hondras M, Vickers A, et al. Systematic reviews of complementary therapies - an annotated bibliography. Part 3: homeopathy. BMC Complement Altern Med 2001;1:4. View abstract.
- Vickers AJ, Smith C. Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for preventing and treating influenza and influenza-like syndromes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2006;:CD001957. View abstract.
- Neinhuys JW. The True Story of Oscillococcinum. HomeoWatch 2003. http://www.homeowatch.org/history/oscillo.html (Accessed 21 April 2004).
- Vickers AJ, Smith C. Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for preventing and treating influenza and influenza-like syndromes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2000;:CD001957. View abstract.
- Jaber R. Respiratory and allergic diseases: from upper respiratory tract infections to asthma. Prim Care 2002;29:231-61. View abstract.