Everyone, it seems, has a personal recipe for beating the flu: chicken soup, chrysanthemum tea, cayenne pepper, raw garlic...you name it, someone is taking it.
I even know someone who swears by beer -- and lots of it.
Since it's unlikely that anyone will bankroll a major trial on garlic, soup or beer vs. flu, I can't say whether they really will cure you -- but I can say this: Any of those folk remedies are better options than Tamiflu.
This drug has become the frontline treatment for flu -- it's even on the World Health Organization's list of essential meds -- despite studies showing it barely works, if at all.
That's what's been published, anyway.
But what hasn't been published could be even worse, as researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration say the drug's maker, Roche, has never released data on a full 60 percent of the patients who took Tamiflu in its clinical trials. Even though Roche claims they have made all of the necessary data available to regulatory agencies.
Makes you wonder just what they're hiding.
Here's what we do know: The drug may cut your flu duration by a little less than a day, from roughly seven days down to six, according to the newest Cochrane review.
On top of that, the review found no evidence that the drug does anything for flu complications like pneumonia and hospitalization, despite company claims to the contrary.
Maybe that evidence is hidden in the missing data. Maybe, but I doubt it.
Even worse, the Cochrane team raised serious questions over everything from the makeup of the placebo in Tamiflu trials to differences between the control and treatment groups that could have altered the outcomes.
Those questions can't be answered without the rest of the data -- which, of course, the company has locked away in a basement vault.
If that's not enough to keep you away from Tamiflu, consider the side effects: headaches, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and more.
Since those come free with every case of the flu, why even bother with Tamiflu?
And along with those side effects, Tamiflu has also been linked to serious psychological problems -- including delirium, bizarre behavior and even suicide.
Despite all that, docs prescribe Tamiflu every day -- and, thanks to the WHO's recommendation, nations are actually stockpiling this garbage. The United States is one of those nations, wasting $1.5 billion on anti-influenza meds such as Tamiflu.
That's great for Roche investors -- but not so great for patients and taxpayers.
If you want your own flu survival kit, forget meds. Stockpile beer, chicken soup and garlic instead -- or at least some vitamin D and a box of tissues.