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Elderberry and Oscillococcinum to Treat the Flu

Have you heard of using Elderberry syrup and Oscillococcinum to treat the flu?

How about taking high-dose Elderberry syrup as part of your post-flu vaccination care plan?

Or taking Elderberry syrup and Oscillococcinum as part of a flu prevention protocol?

Do Elderberry syrup and Oscillococcinum Treat the Flu?

Do you think that Oscillococcinum can really treat flu symptoms?
Do you think that Oscillococcinum can really treat flu symptoms?

Even if you have heard of Elderberry syrup and Oscillococcinum, you may not know what they really are or what they really do…

Elderberry syrup (Sambucol) is supposed to help you get over cold and flu symptoms quicker. Maybe it does, at least in mice with the flu.

Not surprisingly, there is no strong evidence that elderberry works.

What about Oscillococcinum?

As much as Oscillococcinum costs, it must work, right?


What Is Elderberry syrup and Oscillococcinum?

Surprisingly, these natural “flu fighters” are sold in most pharmacies, so the average person has no idea that they aren’t real medicine.

Not real medicine?

Does that make them alternative medicine?

“…there’s no such thing as conventional or alternative or complementary or integrative or holistic medicine. There’s only medicine that works and medicine that doesn’t. And the best way to sort it out is by carefully evaluating scientific studies – not by visiting Internet chat rooms, reading magazine articles, or talking to friends.”

Paul Offit, MD on Do You Believe in Magic?

So Elderberry syrup and Oscillococcinum fall into the category of medicine that doesn’t work.

That still doesn’t help you understand what they are though…

Elderberry syrup is made from the berries of the European elder tree (and lots of sugar to make it taste sweet). While it is sold like a traditional cough and cold medicine, it is just another herbal remedy.

What’s in Oscillococcinum?

Active Ingredients:
Anas Barbariae Hepatis Et Cordis Extractum 200 CK HPUS

No berries or herbs in Oscillococcinum.

And not much of anything else either.

“Since 1925, Oscillococcinum has been prepared as follows. Into a one litre bottle, a mixture of pancreatic juice and glucose is poured. Next a Canard de Barbarie is decapitated and 35 grams of its liver and 15 grams of its heart are put into the bottle. Why liver? Doctor Roy writes: “The Ancients considered the liver as the seat of suffering, even more important than the heart, which is a very profound insight, because it is on the level of the liver that the pathological modifications of the blood happen, and also there the quality of the energy of our heart muscle changes in a durable manner.” Maybe the French tendency to call any form of not well-being a “crise de foie” (“bilious attack”) had also something to do with it. After 40 days in the sterile bottle, liver and heart autolyse (disintegrate) into a kind of goo, which is then “potentized” with the Korsakov method.”

Jan Willem Nienhuys on The True Story of Oscillococcinum


Whose pancreatic juice do they use? The ducks?

While all of that sounds gross, if you have taken Oscillococcinum, you can rest assured that you haven’t eaten any duck heart, duck liver, or pancreatic juice.

Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic medicine and so that mixture is diluted so much, it is impossible that any of the original “medicine” is still in those little sugar pills.

Why People Buy Elderberry syrup and Oscillococcinum

So if they don’t work, why do so many people buy these products?

As I said, many people don’t know that they are anything different than all of the other traditional cold and flu treatments on store shelves. After all, most pharmacies don’t have a section or shelf for medicine that doesn’t work.

We see the same thing when parents buy homeopathic teething medicines, colic tablets, pain and fever reducers, pinkeye drops, and cough syrup.

Unfortunately,  since there are few good options to treat cold and flu symptoms, especially in younger kids, they buy Elderberry syrup and Oscillococcinum. It is also the remedy that is pushed on many anti-vaccine websites and by holistic pediatricians.

What to Know About Elderberry syrup and Oscillococcinum

Elderberry syrup and Oscillococcinum have not been shown to work to treat the flu or flu symptoms and are mainly pushed by alternative medical providers.

More on Elderberry syrup and Oscillococcinum

21 thoughts on “Elderberry and Oscillococcinum to Treat the Flu”

  1. soo sad to see such ill information ( please pardon pun) ,,,,,,,….DO they work? NOPE is your answer….??????? says the pharmaceutical company sponsoring this….YES THEY DO work, without harmful Cancer causing ingredients by strengthening your own immune system….. All I ask is PEOPLE….DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH…..LOTS! not just here or my Opinion ,,But several CREDIBLE sites ..

  2. There have been clinical trials on Occillo that say it does help. Sorry. I’ve been using it for 15 years with great relief, including for a confirmed case of H3N2! Wonderful placebo. Will keep using till I die in the hospital! Can you show us a case where someone took it right away, as directed, for flu and ended up in hospital or dead?

  3. Let me add my vote for Oscillo. This most certainly DOES work, as well as several other homeopathic flu remedies. I pray that other readers here won’t believe the above claptrap. Do your own research on the history of homeopathy. You will discover several deadly plagues, both in Europe and the USA in the 1800s and 1900s, including the deadly flu of 1918.. Those were the days when there were homeopathic colleges and homeopathic physicians in the USA. The deaths among those treated with homeopathy during all recorded plagues were drastically lower than those under regular medical treatment. Big Pharma would never allow widespread use of homeopathy because it would eventually put them out of business, or darn close to it. Their little partnership with the medical profession would be on shaky ground because all doctors have to offer are drugs and surgery. I just thank God that I found out about them many years ago!!! I have saved a fortune on doctor and vet bills. Don’t believe anybody who tells you that homeopathy is quackery. Do your own research and try a remedy for yourself, and you will be convinced that homeopathy works!! The remedies are inexpensive and many times one single dose will get rid of your symptoms.

      1. Vincent Lannellii,
        A simple course in Homeopathy will guide You in how the remedies trigger the body’s own immune system to activate effectively.
        There philosophy is using “The Law of Similars” not the Allopathic Philosophy You were guided in Your courses.
        And anyway, no biologist nor medical Ph.D research expert can actually tell You or anyone how any medicines the pharmaceutical companies produce work either. As We all know, the system of organic chemistry is still not well enough developed, thus biology is less systematically developed, and more so animal and more than this human.
        So, do not pretend You have ANY expertise in the subject matter of healing, remedies and such. You just have Your limited experience, knowledge and basis. When You will expand Your knowledge, then maybe You can expand Your view, perspective and perception.
        Perhaps You can figure out why Harvard Medical School has the largest database of herbal medicine and remedies in the world, and why NIH also has wide information, studies and knowledge in other than Allopathic medicine too?!
        Get With It, Physician and be Good for Your patients. Start providing a more Holistic approach as many have and are expanding to. Additionally, Physicians need to be more involved in Health, promoting Good Health instead of focusing upon just disease and apparent fixes or such after the fact.
        As for any and all Virus, flu and colds, the Allopathic medicine only treat symptoms not the disease. Only when there is a bacterial infection are there medicines that treat the infection.
        Please get off You ‘High Horse’ attitude and face the facts.
        The statements here about the remedy Oscillococcinum are inaccurate. They are not made through the process described here. The method described may have been for a natural or potion [similar to herbal] remedy. The homeopathy method of producing a remedy uses a method of either 1 part substance in 10 parts solution or 1 part in 100 solution then the result repeated. A 1X or 1D is 1 in 10 while a 1 C is 1 in 100. So, a 10X or 10D is 1 part in 10^10 or 1 part in 10 billion. A 10C is 1 part in 100^10 = 10^20.
        Another advantage of homeopathy, is the remedy can never harm nor hurt the patient unlike Allopathic medicines or Herbal remedies since the amount of substance is infinitesimal. The substance is there just to trigger the immune system to activate.
        My personal experience with using either Oscilloccinum or Influenza 200C during the past couple of decades is, often just one nights use [over night often the best results] triggers the body’s immune system to combat any common virus or flu. Sometimes a second day has been needed. Children often respond much quicker since there immune system has had less tampering with or adults that have maintained their immune system over their lifetime.
        Be aware and Beware of the effects of the chemicals released from polymers like plastics, polystyrene, polyurethane and such, which are hormone blockers. Hormone are essential for all of Our body systems to function properly including immune, mental and sleep.

        All of the claims here about Homeopathic remedies are actually unfounded, baseless and false.
        There are actual factual basis for using Homeopathy including clinical evidence.
        The statement regarding “… pushing …” a remedy by holistic pediatricians who oppose immunization is actually a valid claim about Allopathic physicians who “push” immunizations upon their patients whether children or adults. They also fail to give complete information about the dangers of their immunizations including the additional ingredients which are harmful to every human, and the warning on the bottle’s label stating if the bottle should fall an break it results in a “Biological Hazard”. Why would i want to allow any “Biological Hazard” potential to be injected into my body?!! Also, the “pushing” of the flu vaccinations is just a pharmaceutical ‘gimmick’, since everyone with knowledge is aware, the immunity of a virus occurs after invasion and successful development by the immune system and any common virus mutates so easily and rapidly during the transfer from one to another that it can be transferred back to the same person and not protected. Thus, the immunization only is effective for the exact form of the viruses in the serum, and not any variations nor mutations. Thus, actually ineffective. They do not strengthen the immune system either. So, rather the person accepting the serum into the body is introducing forms of virus which for some, become actually infected, sick and ill. Oh, and there is an effective homeopathic remedy which counteracts the negative effects of all immunizations [exclusive of the other harmful ingredients] called Thuja Occidentalis, which have used effectively for each of my children before and after any immunization [when we elected to accept them]. Now that am more aware from the organization P.E.A.C.H. about the immunizations, am much more concerned, weary and hesitant about accepting any immunizations.
        The more recent “push” for adults to get a vaccination against “Shingles”, should be examined very carefully with all the warnings and information P.E.A.C.H. has compared with the limited information the physicians and pharmaceutical companies give in limited amounts [compared with the total actual information]. Also beware of all forms of Hepatitis vaccinations especially the type B, C, D, etc. since these forms are chronic, thus if a person actually contracts these forms of the disease that person will then have lifelong affects periodically which only homeopathic, herbal, Chinese and others have any possible aids.
        Actually contracted Hepatitis A and it took me years to regain my physical energy again. In the interim also contracted Mono [EBV] which added to my fatigue, then later Pericarditis. After several years of recurrences, [Allopaths have no know effective treatments for any of these either], my body finally regained strength through stress management, which am still using for more than a decade successfully. Stress is another huge, important, essential factor that affects us all.
        So, those viewing here can learn from others how limited, narrow minded, narrow viewed many if not most Allopathic Physicians are. The key indicator of a good physician is diagnostics and an open view of the many disciplines and philosophies in medicine. One who has a limited, narrow view is limited and lacking. When a person bashes all other types of disciplines and philosophies, especially claiming their medicine is the only valid one and not accepting others, is a clear indicator of arrogance, haughtiness and fallacy. My suggestion is to stay far away from such people and practitioners, since such a person lacks balance. The best experts in any discipline, especially medicine, have balance. The few excellent physicians that have had good experience with all have balance.
        All The Best including Health

  4. Flu and cold free in Michigan.

    I used it this year when I felt symptoms and it worked for hubby and I. First time in 4 years we’ve had no colds or flu this season. Placebo? Maybe. Folks who got flu shots died. So I say why not try. I have asthma and have not had bronchitis either. First time in 15 years. Luck, fluke, or this combo. Don’t know. Don’t care.

  5. I read your article with interest as i do a lot of researc .Firstly id make my own and would not use sugar but raw honey ,secondly id not knock it untill i tried it i prfer every time to use alternative naturel medicine that has served people well in past generations .Ive used prescription medicines that have caused all manner of problems for digestive conditions suffered for years i turned to l9cal health food shop that advised me to take probiotic along with digestive enzyme as i have no gall bladder along with psyllium and ive not looked back .There are many hundreds of testimonies to support naturel medicines with far less adverse side effects if any as opposed to prescription medication the results of which can be troubl8ng catastropic in some cases and some pain killers highly addictive . so give me naturel medicine where possible every time ..

  6. I read your article with interest as i do a lot of researc .Firstly id make my own and would not use sugar but raw honey ,secondly id not knock it untill i tried it i prfer every time to use alternative naturel medicine that has served people well in past generations .Ive used prescription medicines that have caused all manner of problems for digestive conditions suffered for years i turned to l9cal health food shop that advised me to take probiotic along with digestive enzyme as i have no gall bladder along with psyllium and ive not looked back .There are many hundreds of testimonies to support naturel medicines with far less adverse side effects if any as opposed to prescription medication the results of which can be troubl8ng catastropic in some cases and some pain killers highly addictive . so give me naturel medicine where possible every time ..

  7. Perhaps you should try running a search on PubMed under its real name: Sambucus Nigra. Elderberry and Chinese Star Anise both have higher concentrations of Shikimic acid, which is the base for Tamiflu.
    Why are you so opposed to plant based medicine?

  8. What a BS article. What piece of trash writes this crap? God awful. People buy it cuz it works and they dont depend on your toxic pharmaceuticals. Aa far as no clinical studies proving they work? Also a lie. Try again. You write MD like we’re supposed to trust that. The same MD’s that got america hooked on opiates with false lies and advertising. Pshh.

  9. Why don’t you Google the side effects of tamiflu? It’s awful!!!! Would much rather take something natural than the crap doctors prescribe!

  10. My 7yr old was diagnosed with flu type a on a Saturday. That’s when fever started. I started with elderberry and Oscillococcinum that evening. She was back to school by Wednesday. No more fevers. And felt good enough to go back.

    I chose to not treat with Tamiflu when her pediatrician said she could have mental episodes where she zones out, has flippant crazy attitudes or moods. Frankly that scared me.

  11. All I know is my son(9) woke up with a terrible cough and fever of 101.4 I rushed to the store and picked up these 2 items. I did give my son his asthma medications as well but by the afternoon his fever had broken. It’s usually a couple of days before this happens.

  12. As someone who started feeling symptoms of the flu on Friday night and is now better on Sunday night. I attest that the combination does work amazingly. I had heard about the combination but hadn’t tried it before now. I stumbled across this post when trying to find more information on how it works. Was very saddened that the article in no way talks mentions people who actually took it and how they were effected.

  13. I feel like these studies are incorrect . I am now suffering influenza A I have been taking both these for 2 days I feel much better so far the only thing it don’t help is the temperature . My husband has the flu as well and he is taking tamiflu . I can honestly say I feel a lot better then him.

  14. My son was tested and diagnosed with influenza type A, yesterday. He was running about 102 temp. and was having a hard time keeping his temp down. We began mega dosing Elderberry and, last night, started Oscillococcinum. Today he is fever free with only mild symptoms. Fever for only about 36 hours. That is far from typical of the flu, especially type A.
    I would say it works. Proof is in the recovery.

  15. Ran out and got these at first sign as my husband was getting the flu, fever, chills, stomach, etc (mainly bc it was late at night) and he was better the next day and completely great on day 3, he noticed that the severe pain he has had in his shoulder (disc we think, and his work makes pain worse to where he can barely raise his arm) anyways he noticed the pain severely diminished while taking these, I told him to split them up and try one and then the other to see which one is giving the relief, he did but didn’t really give same relief unless taken together. So now we are wondering is this safe to take daily? He’s finally able to have enough pain relief to sleep through the night with both of these and would like to keep taking them.

  16. Really sad to see an MD dismiss the possibility that something natural can help someone. Then again, it’s no surprise. You doctors do get kick backs for your prescription writing so that would make sense. Medicine that works and medicine that pays the doctors. I get it now. Smh

  17. Appalling ignorance of an article. For goodness sake do some unbiased research before you spout your big pharma codswallop.

    Numerous scientific studies have shown elder to be a neuraminidase inhibitor. Neuraminidase is the enzyme the flu virus uses to gain access to cells by catalyzing the sialic acid linkages on their surface.

    The reason Tamiflu or oseltamivir are effective in early treatment of flu is because, like elder, they are neuraminidase inhibitors.

    The flu virus also stimulates the release of cytokines during infection. The virus uses a protein (NS1) to block IFN-a and IFN-b during the early stages of infection until it is established. In addition the virus inhibits dendritic cell maturation and activation, lowering T cell response. Increasing T cell counts has been shown to reduce flu severity. Licorice and elder increase T cell counts.

    Scientists have demonstrated that mice unable to produce the cytokine TNF-a consistently show decreased mortality, reduced symptoms and a less severe course from flu infection. In replicating the 1918 pandemic strain, which was contracted by one third of the world population and killed 500 million people, scientists have shown the above still holds true in mice. Elder inhibits TNF-a.

    The flu virus also inhibits the production of macrophages. Macrophages are responsible for IL-4 and IL-10 anti-inflammatory cytokines. Prolonged flu is in part a result of depleted macrophages unable to reduce the virus induced inflammation. Elder has been shown to induce IL-4 and IL-10 cytokines, rather than waiting for the macrophages to do this naturally over time as their response to flu.

    Elder may generally best be taken at the beginning of a flu infection. Because of the above, it acts to inhibit viral replication. It may protect against infection as a prophylactic (taken before infection).

  18. Your an idiot…not sure when you last edited this sad excuse for an article but numerous studies have come showing the mechanisms by which elderberry deactivates the various flu strains. At least do a little research.

  19. This article proves brainwashing against natural healing for the benefit of Pharma profit in my opinion. People are supposed to just trust what is written and trust that it was actually researched. I’ve used Elderberry and Oscillococcinum with great success. Please do your own research from reliable studies and don’t just believe what “they” say to be true.

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