Oscillococcinum. Ah-sill-o-cox-i-num. There. That wasn't so hard (but, yes, it took me a few days).
It's flu season, which a few of us have been reminded the hard way. Last week the flu took me down. Granted, it was only 24 hours, but it was a long 24 hours. I'll spare you most of the gory details (and gory they are) but the worst part of it probably was the crippling stomach pain, as if someone were squeezing my stomach in their hands and trying to rip it from my intestines. I would have to stop in my tracks, breathe, and wait for it to pass, much like I imagine a woman in labor experiences.
I was lucky enough to have someone attending to my every tear-filled whim – from massaging my aching calves to getting me a cold washcloth for my forehead and drawing me a bath. After the bath and shower, I experienced that brief honeymoon phase all sick people experience. Where you're able to tell yourself for a good half hour that maybe the shower fixed you and you're all better now.
I knew that feeling was fleeting and off we went in search of remedies and something – anything – that I could get into my stomach. So I loaded up on lentil soup from
And on the advice of a friend who works at Foods for Living in Okemos, I went to Whole Foods to seek out a French homeopathic flu remedy – Oscillococcinum. He told me, "Just start spelling it and they'll say, 'Oh – we have it right here. It's on sale right now.'" He was right. I got a three-dose pack of the tiny magic pellets, made by the company Boiron, its sole manufacturer.
According to Wikipedia, the name Oscillococcinum was coined by a French physician in the 1920s who had studied the blood of victims of the Spanish Flu epidemic during the previous decade. He reported finding a vibrating bacteria he believed was responsible for not only the flu but many other diseases including cancer and measles and eczema (which obviously since have been disproved).
Because it is homeopathic, my friend advised me not to touch the tiny pellets in the single dose-sized vials. Open it, pour it in your mouth, let the pellets dissolve and I'll be feeling better in about 20 minutes. Having spent the day too nauseous to knit or even look at the TV as I tried to watch movies, I certainly didn't believe it. By the time I stood in the checkout lane at Whole Foods, I was back on struggle street – the post-bath honeymoon period was over. But I felt so sick I didn't dare take a dose until I was back at home.
I chewed some ginger, cracked open a ginger beer, managed to get down about half a cup of soup and went for it. It tasted like candy. Twenty minutes later I was, in fact, knitting and watching a movie. I may have even cracked a smile here and there for the first time in a day. Holy crap. This stuff really works.
So, I wanted to share my newfound flu miracle with any of you who never have heard of it. If you're skeptical, I say, it's worth a shot. Maybe it's all b.s. Maybe it should totally disgust me that it's somehow made from something extracted from duck liver and heart. But maybe I don't care if I'm doubled over in pain like I was last Thursday and yet was able to party with many of you at the Manor on Friday.