Has anyone else had that cold that lasts about three or four weeks? It's going around out here and I'm finally starting to get over it. Too bad I didn't know about the wonder flu cure Oscillococcinum, or as everyone chatting online about herbal remedies likes to mispell it, occicillium.
What is Oscillococcinum, you ask? As one completely uniformed consumer opined, "Basically Occicillium is some kind of antibiotic, or something like that, in a granular form." Wrong, my easily-duped e-friend.
Marketed by Boiron as Oscillo, the homeopathic remedy is held up alongside Airborne and other supplements to cure the flu or cold. First of all, you can't cure the flu or cold!! You can treat the symptoms. If people actually took the time to read the box or the Web site, they'd see that all Boiron claims it can do is "reduce the severity and duration of flu symptoms."
And what is in Oscillo? Antibiotics or vitamins of some sort? Nope. Extract of Muscovy Duck liver and heart.
I do take slight issue with the wording on the site - although technically correct, I think they prey on unsuspecting consumers. Perhaps not intentionally, but still...
As soon as you start feeling run-down or have other flu-like symptoms, take Oscillococcinum. Oscillo is regulated as a drug by the FDA and is supported by published clinical studies as well as more than 65 years of use throughout the world.Yes, Oscillo is regulated by FDA - regulated because it falls under the category of food, drug or cosmetic. But FDA bears no responsiblity for approving it - it's an over-the-counter drug, which has vastly different standards and regulations and oversight. The agency doesn't regulate vitamins or Airborne the way it regulates prescription heart medication. So to bring in FDA and clinical studies - with no mention of the rigor of study - is to imply (in my opinion) that this drug has been deemed safe and is on par with the scrutinized prescriptions in your cabinet. Again, technically their wording is accurate but I still think you can be truthful while misleading people.
Then again, if Denis Leary, Morgan Fairchild, Dan Castellanetta, Jane Krakowski, Alan Tudyk, Tara Summers and a trio from the Sopranos (Jeff Marchetti, Carl Capotorto and Matt Servitto) swear by it, well then it's good enough for me.
In "real" science news, an article in PNAS this week describes a sphingosine analogue, AAL-R, that helped mitigate the cytokine response when administered directly into the lungs of mice infected with the flu virus.