Good for: Relieving flu symptoms
Because: This homeopathic flu remedy contains a highly diluted concentration of the virus (so diluted, in fact, that no clinically testable trace of the flu is in the final formula), which sparks the body’s immune system to fight off the bug. Several studies have shown that oscillococcinum not only lessens the severity of flu symptoms but also shortens their duration. The latest research, published in the British Homeopathic Journal, found that nearly 63 percent of people who took oscillococcinum within 24 hours of flu onset showed either “clear improvement” or “complete resolution” within 48 hours.
Homeopathy works on a different set of principles than conventional medicine — its basic approach is that “like treats like” — therefore, randomized-controlled trials (the gold standard of Western medicine) are difficult to design. “Even though the remedy only contains an energetic imprint of the flu,” says Wallace, “the body summons the immune system to respond to the virus to fight it off.”
Farfetched though it may seem, some doctors are keeping a more open mind about homeopathic remedies these days. Mehmet Oz, MD, appeared on Oprah a few years ago and touted energy medicine (which includes homeopathy) as the next big frontier in modern medicine.
How to: Like any flu-preventative, oscillococcinum works best if taken early, preferably within 24 hours of experiencing bodywide aches, fever and runny nose. Again, follow instructions on the label.
Tip: Substances such as caffeine, chocolate, mint and menthol are thought to dampen the power of homeopathic remedies, so try to avoid them while using oscillococcinum.