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?
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?
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 have 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
- CDC – Flu Treatment
- Beyond the flu shot: A closer look at the “alternatives”
- The horrible consequences of seeking “natural” immunity: Naturopathy and Whooping Cough
- The New Cough and Cold Products for Children: Evidence is Optional and Science is Marketing
- The True Story of Oscillococcinum
- Debunking Homeopathy. Again.
- FDA – Have a Baby or Young Child With a Cold? Most Don’t Need Medicines
- FDA – Use Caution When Giving Cough and Cold Products to Kids
- Can medicines relieve coughing?
- Cough and cold medicines don’t work
- Can Homeopathy (Oscillococcinum, Dolivaxil, Influenzinum) Help With The Flu?
- Class Action Lawsuit Filed against Homeopathy Manufacturer Boiron and Shoppers Drug Mart
- It’s time for pharmacies to stop selling sugar pills
- Caring for Sick Kids: Know the Difference Between “Natural Remedy” Facts and Fallacies
- Common cold treatments – what works, what is just plain nonsense
- Book – Do You Believe in Magic?