SO, WHAT IS A HANGOVER?
The term hangover has been defined as:
“A collection of unpleasant and painful symptoms, which can develop after drinking too much alcohol. Those symptoms can range from mild discomfort to more severe symptoms.” Of course, there’s no fixed amount of alcohol that will cause a hangover, as each individual reacts to alcohol differently, but generally it’s thought the more you drink, the worse your symptoms will be.
Okay, so you had fun with your friends last night and drank a bucketful of alcohol. However, this morning you found it hard to wake, your head was pounding like a pneumatic drill and you were feeling more than a little nauseous.
And what was wrong with you? A hangover that’s what!
The term ‘hangover’ may not be familiar to everyone, but for many of us, it’s a word that brings a chill to the very thought of waking up in the morning, still tired with an aching body, a headache, feeling nauseous and with a mouth dryer than the sole of an Afghanistani’s flip-flop. Yet, most people don’t even think about the consequences while out partying with friends and family.
“No Nay Never – No Nay Never No More!”
It’s a claim many of us have made the morning after the night before, while suffering with a skull-pounding hangover. Unfortunately, this vow is often short-lived and is particularly hard to maintain during the festive and holiday season. (People tend to increase their alcohol consumption during the holidays when there are more parties). The most important message of course is that people shouldn’t drink too much in the first place, because a hangover is just one negative consequence of excessive alcohol intake.
There are numerous other downsides, which can be very serious, such as loss of control over emotions, anger or moroseness and poor decision-making. Drinking too much in a single night can result in fatal alcohol poisoning. In other words, you can literally drink yourself to death.
Why do we get hangovers?
How we can avoid them?
How bad it can get?
And what we can do when we have one?
Plus, a few ill-advised cures from around the globe…
We’ll try to answer all these questions in an unreserved, clear-cut manner and hopefully, without falling off the bar stool!
THE SYMPTOMS OF A HANGOVER…
When you consume alcohol, your body breaks it down into acetaldehyde (CH3CHO – a volatile compound found in alcohol), before converting it into less harmful substances. The acetaldehyde messes with your brain causing adverse affects to your nervous system, lowers your blood sugar and cause headache and dry mouth symptoms. This results in symptoms like nausea, twitchy nerves, unpleasantness, pessimism, brain ache and a temporary suspension of the laws of gravity. The severity of a hangover depends upon following things. . .
The amount you’ve guzzled
Your own natural enzymatic capacity to deal with the poisons
This means the more you drink in a short span of time, the more you’ll feel the adverse affects of alcohol.
Most of the disagreeable symptoms experienced during a hangover are caused by two major factors:
1 – The diuretic effect of alcohol that causes dehydration in the drinker
2 – The toxic effects of alcohol poisoning in many systems of the body
It’s well known that excess of anything can be dangerous. Similarly, excessive amounts of alcohol can severely affect the liver, brain, gastrointestinal system, central nervous system and not least, your sensory perception. It can also disturb your sleep; badly affect your mood, your attention span and concentration.
Most of the symptoms experienced during a hangover are the result of the direct effect of alcohol on the body’s systems, but there are several other factors that can contribute to the unpleasantness of a hangover.
Hangover symptoms can also be caused by…
- The withdrawal of alcohol from the body
- The effects of metabolites produced during alcohol consumption
- Other chemicals found in alcoholic beverages
- Drinking behavior
- Personal characteristics of the drinker
Coming up are a few of the symptoms of a hangover. If you’re suffering from most of the symptoms in the list below, simply tell everyone to sod off and leave you alone, because you’re dying. Then, just go back to bed and sleep it off for a while. However, if your symptoms persist or get more severe, you should immediately consult your GP or risk dropping dead.
- Dry mouth
- Bad breath
- Lack of concentration
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Trouble sleeping
- Suspension of the laws of gravity
- Loss of the will to live
THE CAUSES OF A HANGOVER…
There are several factors that play an important role in whether or not you’ll have a hangover after getting absolutely sh*t-faced. Many of the causes are obvious and most of the time we know what our own limitations are, but still we go on drinking more and more without thinking of the possible outcome.
We can divide the causes of hangovers into 2 main categories…
Direct Alcohol effects on body systems
Effects of factors other than alcohol
THE DIRECT EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL…
The direct effect on the body of excessive alcohol consumption seems to produce the most unpleasantness. Here are several ways that alcohol directly contributes to hangover symptoms…
Dehydration & Electrolyte Imbalance
Alcohol consumption increases urine production, which causes dehydration in the body leading to many common hangover symptoms including weakness, thirst, dizziness, dryness of the mucous membranes and light-headedness. And lest we forget, sweating, vomiting and diarrhea can also occur as a result of excessive drinking resulting in more losses of fluids and electrolytes from the body.
Excessive alcohol intake will irritate the stomach and intestines causing inflammation of the stomach lining and delayed stomach emptying. Alcohol can also produce gastric acid, a fatty liver, pancreatic and intestinal secretions. All of them can cause abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
Low Blood Sugar
Alcohol consumption can slow down the glucose production in the body and badly affect the reserves of glucose in the liver. As glucose is the main energy source of the brain, low blood sugar can result in fatigue, weakness and mood swings during hangovers.
Sleep Disruption and other Biological Rhythms
Compared to normal sleep, alcohol-induced sleep is usually of poor quality and short. This can cause the fatigue experienced during a hangover. Alcohol can also interrupt the body’s temperature rhythm, nighttime secretion of growth hormones and cortisol release in the body. All of these factors can produce jet lag type feelings during hangovers.
Alcohol intoxication can result in the widening of blood vessels resulting in severe headache. Alcohol consumption also affects several hormones like histamine, serotonin and prostaglandins contributing in headaches.
Heavy drinking depresses the central nervous system. When alcohol is withdrawn, the central nervous system can go into an unbalanced, hyperactive state. This can cause the tremors and rapid heartbeat associated with hangovers. Many of the signs and symptoms of hangovers overlap with the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
Other symptoms of hangovers can result from the withdrawal of alcohol from the body, the effects of metabolites produced during alcohol consumption, chemicals in alcoholic beverages, drinking behaviors and personal characteristics of the drinker. We’ll discuss them in detail… Most alcoholic beverages contain chemical compounds known as congeners. These chemicals contribute to the taste, smell and appearance of the drink. These compounds can play a role in aggravating the symptoms of a hangover. Research has shown that beverages which contain pure alcohol such as gin or vodka, cause fewer hangover effects. Beverages that contain more congeners, such as whiskey, brandy and red wine are more likely to cause hangover symptoms.
People who drink heavily often use other drugs and cigarettes. These substances can cause their own set of hangover type symptoms. Although the use of drugs like marijuana and cocaine can contribute to conditions leading to a hangover, their exact effects on alcohol hangovers is still unknown.
People who have a family history of alcoholism have a tendency for increased hangover symptoms, as compared to drinkers with no family history of alcoholism.
HOW TO CURE A HANGOVER…
You’ve enjoyed the whole evening sloshing about in alcohol and now in the morning, you’ve got a hangover. So, now what… ? Prevention is the best cure. Simply avoid alcohol and you’ll never ever get a hangover. Drinking in modration also helps. Mix alcohol with fruit juice or tonics and drink slowly. Drink alcohol with a meal, as it reduces the concentration of alcohol in your stomach. When people drink and eat simultaneously, less alcohol is absorbed into their blood stream. Therefore, more of it gets metabolized by the liver and the stomach before it reaches the blood.
There are many traditional methods to cure a hangover. Many of them will help you cope with the condition by replenishing the vitamins and water you lost overnight. There isn’t a one size fits all kind of cure. You may need to try different remedies before you know which works best for you, sort of trial and error.
To be perfectly honest there are few options that actually bring relief. Time is truly the only cure for a hangover. If no more alcohol is consumed, hangover symptoms normally decrease between 8-24 hours.
But wait, all is not lost, there are things you can do to relieve some of the most severe symptoms.
MARY BLOODY MARY
You’ve more than likely heard the phrase, ‘hair of the dog’. You might even believe it’s just an old wives’ tale, apart from the shot of whiskey you left in the bottle next to your bed! Unfortunately, it’s only temporary. Try a good old fashioned ‘Bloody Mary’ instead. It works, because whilst your blood’s dealing with the new intake of alcohol, it’s ignoring the old stuff. And in the meantime, the tomato juice and celery are full of vitamins and they help you gain energy.
Here’s how to fix yourself a lifesaver:
1 1/2 – 2 ounces vodka
4 ounces tomato juice
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco and black pepper to taste.
Over ice in a tall glass, add the spices, then vodka. Fill with tomato juice and stir. Garnish with a celery stick and a lime wedge. And then, knock it back in one shot.
A variation on a theme… Bloody Mary 2
5oz Tomato Juice
3oz Light Beer
Lots and lots of lime juice
Dash of Tabasco sauce
Mix as before and enjoy…
GET DOWN & GET WITH IT!
Let’s get moving! A little workout can help flush out toxins. It also gets you to drink more fluids and goes some way to distracting you from the incessant pounding in your head. Okay, it’s hard to even think about working out after a night of heavy drinking, so it’s suggested you find out a ‘workout buddy’. This way, you’ll be able to workout with a little more encouragement and enthusiasm.
You don’t have to go to a gym for workout, you could try your hand at mountain climbing, swimming, cycling or just about anything that makes you sweat. It takes a lot of willpower to move like that, especially when standing up even feels like a challenge, but in the end you’ll thoroughly enjoy it.
WATER or SPORTS DRINKS
Dehydration is the major side effect of alcohol intake. This causes some of the most common symptoms associated with hangovers – like headache, dizziness and lightheadedness. The quickest, easiest and cheapest way to relieve these symptoms, is to drink lots and lots of water. It’s also suggested that when you finish a drink of alcohol, you should drink a glass of water, before your next round. This will dilute the concentration of alcohol in your blood and helps prevent dehydration. If you don’t feel like drinking water, try Sports drinks, such as Lucozade or Gatorade instead. This not only relieves dehydration, but also replaces those much-needed electrolytes (which contrary to popular belief, are not a sixties Motown band).
Now, since many hangover symptoms are the result of dehydration, water is perhaps one of the most effective hangover cures. When your body’s breaking down alcohol, it pumps out lactic acid and other byproducts that hinder the production of glucose, electrolytes, salts and other minerals that keep your body in perfect condition. This results in the weak, dizzy feeling you get when you’re suffering from hangover. Sports drinks replenish those lost minerals and electrolytes and provide you with instant energy.
Most people use medicines or pills during a hangover. Aspirin and Ibuprofen may reduce headache and muscular pain, but they shouldn’t be used if you’re experiencing abdominal pain or nausea. These medicines are gastric irritants and can compound gastrointestinal hangover symptoms. In addition, Tylenol should not be taken for a hangover, because alcohol’s metabolism only enhances the acetaminophen’s toxicity. By all means, use an over-the-counter painkiller such as Aspirin or Ibuprofen to help ease the headache, but keep one thing in mind – take the pills on the morning after and not before going to bed when the alcohol is still in high volume in your system.
HOW’D YOU LIKE YOUR EGGS, FRIED OR BOILED?
Yes that’s right, eggs! Eggs are a good source of protein and energy, so if you’re suffering from a hangover – eat eggs. Eggs contain cysteine, which breaks down acetaldehyde in the body, so eating eggs the morning after a drinking binge can help the symptoms of a hangover by removing alcohol metabolite toxin from the body. If you’re stomach’s not in the mood for fried eggs, you can always make scrambled eggs using the following method:
Salt & Pepper
Heat a frying pan on the stove (where else). Beat three eggs in a bowl and blend in grated cheddar cheese as per your taste. Scramble and cook, then eat straight away, with a couple of doorsteps of dry bread, if you’re really famished.
BANANA MILK SHAKE & HONEY
Alcohol is diuretic in nature and depletes the body of potassium. Therefore, eating bananas or any other fruit that’s high in potassium, can replenish the potassium and lost electrolytes during a hangover. Believe it or not, eating bananas is one of the quickest ways to cure a hangover. You can eat raw bananas or make a banana milkshake with honey. A banana helps soothe your stomach while honey builds up depleted blood sugar levels. The milk soothes the stomach and re-hydrates your system. Bananas are also a rich source of important electrolytes, magnesium and potassium, which are severely depleted during heavy alcohol intake. Magnesium can help relax those thumping blood vessels that are the cause of that hangover headache. Bananas are also a natural antacid, which stops you feeling nauseous.
Here’s how you can prepare a banana smoothie for an instant energy boost:
1 frozen Banana
1 cup Orange Juice
1 can Tomato Juice
1-2 cups Soy Milk
2 teaspoons Honey
Nutmeg or Cinnamon to taste
Take all the ingredients (except nutmeg or cinnamon) and put them in a blender. Mix them completely, then pour into a glass and sprinkle nutmeg or cinnamon on top. Now enjoy your lip-smacking smoothie.
GET YOUR BOUILLON ON
If you’re suffering from acute hangover symptoms and you can’t handle the idea of eating anything solid, then it’s advisable to try some bouillon soup. This soup will help to replace the salt and potassium lost during a drinking session. It proves to be beneficial in curing a hangover.
FRUITY FRUIT or FRUIT JUICE
Natural remedies are always better than taking medicines. So, consuming fruit or fruit juice during a hangover can boost your energy levels, replace vitamins and nutrients and has proved to speed up the body’s process of getting rid of toxins. Therefore, we can say wholeheartedly that fruits and their juices can help decrease the intensity of hangover symptoms. You can use fresh or tinned fruits, but it’s best to use fresh, as they replace lost vitamins quicker. The sugar in fruit boosts your energy levels and helps your body get rid of toxins. If raw fruit tastes too acidic (lemon, lime, orange), why not add it to a smoothie with banana and yoghurt?
Try some other juices that are high in vitamin B and C or come up with a mixture of both. For instance, the Chinese are known for drinking fresh tangerine juice while eating strawberries to get rid of a hangover. Try and mix oranges, grapefruit, guava and strawberries. Beans are also high in vitamin B, so you may want to try something with beans.
Here we’ll share a cocktail cure for a hangover:
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1 tablespoon Vitamin B enriched yeast
1 tablespoon honey
Mix all the above mentioned ingredients in a blender, (mix well). Your nutritional and tasty fruit cocktail is ready. Drink it and feel an instant energy boost. Here’s another recipe for you, only this time we’re using a blend of different vegetables:
8 ounces of carrot juice
1 ounce of beet juice
4 ounces of celery juice
1 ounce of parsley juice
Simply blend all these ingredients and your healthy vegetable shake is ready.
HONEY, I’VE DRUNK THE FRIDGE!
Honey is beneficial for your body no matter what, but it’s also widely believed to cure hangover symptoms. Try a couple of teaspoons of plain honey. If you don’t like plain honey, then simply add it to your glass of water or cup of tea, as it helps soothe the dryness in your throat. Upon waking, you can ingest 2-6 teaspoonfuls of honey every 20-30 minutes depending on the severity of your hangover (that’ll be 6 then). Continue the honey intake until you start to feel better and then take four teaspoons with your first meal. The potassium in honey helps counteract the effects of the alcohol and ultimately decreases future cravings for alcohol. Alcoholic drinks are acidic in reaction and are thought to satisfy your natural desire for an acid taste. If however you have an alcohol problem, check your body chemistry and make changes to your diet accordingly. Honey contains fructose, a type of sugar that’s helpful in metabolizing alcohol more quickly.
A TOAST TO YOUR RECOVERY
After a night full of revelry and binge drinking, you may wake up with heavy head and nausea (amongst other things). To assist in your self-inflicted predicament, knock up a couple of slices of plain toast, but avoid putting jam or butter on them.
If you don’t feel like eating or drinking anything, try taking Vitamin C. Re-hydrating your body as soon as possible is the key to recovering quickly from a hangover and this cannot be stressed enough. If you don’t have any vitamin C tablets available, you can put some lemon in a drink of water, as it helps soothe your stomach. Vitamin C helps relieve hangover symptoms, as it stimulates the liver to break down the alcohol. It’s advised to take 2-10 gm per day in divided doses. For example: Start with 1,000 mg per hour and build up your bowel tolerance. Bear in mind that an excess of vitamin C can cause diarrhea. So be very careful…
SIMPLY SLEEP IT OFF
Sleep, sleep and more sleep is an effective way to fight hangover symptoms. When you wake up, take any of the remedial measures we’ve already discussed and then go back to bed. This is assuming you have the luxury of sleeping in for the whole day. Anyway, try to get as much sleep as possible. Your body’s already working extremely hard to cope with the mess you’ve made of your internal organs due to heavy drinking. It will make you lethargic and if your banging headache isn’t keeping you awake, then go back to sleep, so your exhausted body can have a break.
A HEARTY GRILL
Your digestive system’s already under a lot of stress, due to excessive alcohol intake, so don’t put even more strain on your stomach by wolfing down fried bacon and sausages, as this may cause indigestion. Grill your meat and eat your meal slowly. Fat contains lots of calories, so you’ll get a much-needed energy boost if you consume eggs and meat. These foods are rich in amino acid and cysteine, which is thought to be good at clearing out those toxins. Don’t forget to grill not fry!
DRINK MORE ALE
If you’re fed up of drinking plain water, you could always opt for a glass of flat ginger ale, since it helps to soothe your stomach. You can take 500mg of ginger capsules every few hours, or make some ginger tea. This will also help soothe your stomach. Ginger has been used as a stomach soothing remedy for centuries by the erudite Chinese. They tackle hangovers with stomach-settling ginger, which has been proven to be a remedy for nausea and even morning sickness. Ginger tea is easily available in most supermarkets and health food shops these days. You can also make tasty ginger tea yourself. Like so:
Boil freshly chopped ginger for 20 minutes, then strain it into a cup and add a spoon of honey and a slice of lemon. Voila! Your tasty ginger tea is ready. Drink it hot and just feel the difference.
Vitamins are very good for your health, whatever the circumstance. They’re said to relieve the symptoms of hangovers too. Take Vitamin B tablets or capsules, before going to bed and let them work their magic while you sleep. Should you forget to take them before going to bed, then take them immediately upon rising. B-Vitamins are important in helping the carbohydrate (alcohol) metabolizing process and in dilating the blood vessels. They’ll also help restore your energy levels. However, you’ll need to take a high potency B-complex supplement for this remedy to work effectively. After an evening of overindulgence, taking 50-75mg of B-complex twice a day (once before going to bed) will help to overcome your hangover sooner rather than later.
DON’T MAKE A PACT WITH THE DEVIL, JUST YET…
If you manage to get out of bed before afternoon tea, why not try breakfast cereal with a nip of whiskey. Apparently, there’s something about the combination of wheat, milk and Scotch that’s supposed to make you feel born again, although not in the same way Christianity would. After a boozy night of wanton debauchery, add two cupfuls of Epsom salts and a cupful of vinegar to a bath that’s as hot as you can bear. It’s claimed the salt and vinegar draws the poison right out of you. Added to that, the steam clears your head and relaxes you. So beware, don’t nod off, drown and spoil what was probably a pretty good evening!
Lemon coffee anyone?
How about a drop of rose-scented essential oil rubbed on your temples to dilate the capillaries and boosts blood flow to your brain. What sweeter way to ease a skullcrushing headache while being molested by a swarm of psychotic African bees? Ideally you should drink loads of water before going to bed, but if it’s too late for that, get your dried up prune of a body over to the tap and drink, drink, drink until your stomach’s so full it hurts, then wait. Five minutes later your mouth will be parched again and ready for more. Carry on until you feel better, or explode.
Some say you should exercise vigorously before going to bed. These charlatans have obviously never been drunk. Trying to undo your shoelaces is exercise enough! The infamous Red-eye. Whiskey, Tabasco sauce, coffee, a raw egg, pepper and orange juice all blended together. [Measures are at the makers discretion]. Please ensure your stomach lining is made of asbestos before trying this one and do yourself a favour – put a toilet roll in the refrigerator. The ancient Romans would eat deep-fried canaries, which must’ve been a real tweet –
As for the ancient Greeks, well they found relief by munching merrily on a sheep’s lung, or two. Add two owl’s eggs alongside and it simply made your mouth water. During the second century, Galen the Greek thought it would be a good idea to wrap a hangover sufferer’s head in cabbage leaves. He was a card that Galen. For our ancestors in general, eating boiled cabbage before a binge was widely thought to be the best preventative. And the next day, you got your nostrils cleared for free. According to folklore, Native Americans would work up a sweat, then lick it off their skin and spit it out to rid their bodies of ‘poison’.
Asian Indians like to guzzle down a long cool glass of their own wazz, of which there must be an endless supply! A nice hot cup of tea. Ah yes, but we’re not talking Earl Grey here are we, no no. Try an agricultural blend that you won’t find in your corner shop – rabbit-pooh tea. This is a hangover curative concocted by those happy-go-lucky gunslingers of the old wild west. At least it was organic, for its day…
Time has proved that herbs can be beneficial in many ailments, including hangover symptoms. The biggest advantage of herbal treatment is that if it doesn’t benefit you, it won’t harm you either. The herb peppermint, can be either used in tea or for chewing the leaves and it will relax the intestines. Peppermint is a carminative, which is a substance that removes accumulated gas from the stomach and intestines.
Making herbal tea is very simple:
Dried Peppermint leaves
Lemon or honey to taste
Take some water and boil it properly. Then add 1-2 teaspoons of the dried herb; cover for fifteen minutes; strain and enjoy your delicious herbal tea. If you want you can add a few drops of honey or lemon.
PICKLE JUICE ANYONE?
This remedy has proved effective for many people. Drinking pickle juice helps you a lot by replenishing those lost electrolytes due to excessive drinking and it will help you to regain consciousness. It’s also said that professional athletes used to drink pickle juice before sports drinks like Gatorade were invented.
Oysters have also proven to cure hangover symptoms in many cases. You can use oysters as follows:
Put about one ounce of raw oysters in a glass; add a tablespoon of hot sauce and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Cover the oysters with tomato juice and drink down all the mixture in one shot. Wow, you’ll feel refreshed instantly, well almost.
COOKIES & SODA
For a change try the yummy combination of chocolate chip cookies and 7-Up soda pop. The chocolate cookies and soda pop will give you an instant energy boost and will help replenish low blood sugar, making you feel better within a short span of time.
Did you know that coconut water is extremely high in potassium and mineral content? Funnily enough, neither did I until I researched this life-saving guide. As a matter of fact, one full cup of coconut water contains more electrolytes than most of the sports drinks out there and contains more potassium than a banana. Coconut water is very tasty, light and extremely useful when you can’t seem to eat anything else. You can also try drinking coconut water before going to bed, so those minerals and electrolytes can start working while you’re asleep. It’s easy to drink, digest and still gives you all the required nutrients your body needs after a night of heavy drinking.
EAT SOMETHING BEFORE YOU GO OUT!
According to scientific research, alcohol is mostly ingested through the small intestine, which is the next stop after the stomach. If your stomach’s full it will take longer for the alcohol to get to your small intestine and therefore longer for you to get drunk. So, before going out to party, make sure to eat something and then you might not have to face the more severe symptoms of a hangover.
Rooibos is a plant typically used to make herbal teas. This type of tea has been popular in South Africa for centuries and is now gaining popularity in countries all over the world. It contains high level of antioxidants, low caffeine and low tannin levels. This makes it a perfect cure for hangover symptoms. It’s also beneficial for hangover cures, because it’s been shown that Rooibos helps with digestive problems and nervous tension. Now Rooibos is readily available at all major grocery stores and some not considered so major.
Now, I’d like to suggest a very yummy hangover remedy… Chocolate Milk
Chocolate milk is a very easy solution due to its availability. The suggested minimum dosage is the one pint (1/2 liter) size. Apart from the re-hydration factor, chocolate milk offers your tummy a soothing coating for the nausea. It also repletes some of the lost vitamins in your body. The sugars (lactose & sucrose) and salt seem to be the perfect balance for a carb and salt fix. Another important factor is that chocolate is said to help in depression. So, on your way home after a party, stop by your nearest store and grab a can of chocolate milk and enjoy a refreshing and healthy pint!
Bifidus is a specific type of bacteria that detoxifies acetaldehyde, a digestive byproduct of alcohol. Acetaldehyde is said to be one of the major cause of hangovers. You can try a teaspoon of bifidus powder in a glass of water and drink before going to bed. It will help you to overcome hangover symptoms.
A STITCH IN THYME
Thyme can be used as an effective home remedy for a hangover. You can make thyme tea easily as follows:
Make tea by crushing 5-6 thyme leaves. Place them in a cup and fill the cup with hot water. Let it boil for 5 minutes. Then strain the leaves and drink the remaining liquid. Oh, mind your lips.
MORE WACKY CURES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
In Puerto Rico, you cure a hangover by rubbing half a lemon under your drinking arm. Not recommended after shaving.
In Hong Kong they prefer fire-cupping, the excruciating practice of applying hot suction cups to your back to relieve what locals call ‘stagnation of the blood’, which comes from over drinking.
Haitian voodoo doctors recommend sticking 13 black pins in the cork of the offending bottle. They also sell black pins at a very reasonable price.
Visit South Korea and get your face in a bowl of seaweed soup made with dried pollack the morning after the night before.
In Poland it’s pickles, or anything sour, which may explain why the locals look at you the way they do.
After a night on the tiles, Argentinians recommend two glasses of warm milk before going to bed. However, some also recommend you take a 10-ounce tin of beef broth, add 2-ounces of good French brandy, stir and put in the freezer compartment of your fridge. Leave it until it’s just about turned a jelly-like substance and then eat it with a spoon.
Romania, Mexico, Turkey: All eat tripe (yep, good old cow’s stomach).
Old wives in Mexico also suggest putting ice cubes in a cup and sprinkling salt on top. Then, squeeze a couple of lemons onto the ice cubes and then sprinkle some black pepper on top of that. Next, put a shot of tequila over the ice. Now add a bottle of beer, half a cup of Clamato juice, add tapatio sauce and stir. Drink heartily and you’ll feel much better. (A slight downside – you’ll never be sober ever again).
In some parts of Portugal you can feast on an enlivening concoction of Lamprey suckerfish, boiled in wine and its own blood, then served over rice and toast.
Over in Japan they simply pickle their plums (not a metaphor) or they drink strong, hot green tea without sugar.
To cure a hangover in Peru, the remedy has always been to have some ceviche (a seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of South America). Some say it’s the lime, others the chilli. It’s open for debate.
We head off to The Philippines for our most exotic hangover cure to date. A feast of fried shrimp, pickled shrimp ceviche, frog legs and beetle larva. I wonder if they might have over-shrimped it?
And finally, how about… pickled sheep’s eyes in tomato juice?
This is the hangover destroyer of choice for heavy drinkers in The People’s Republic of Outer Mongolia. Maybe this is something you should remember if you’re ever in the mood for binge drinking while travelling this-a-ways.
As with everything, several myths and legends are associated with hangovers and their cures. Most of them have no scientific grounding, but still people believe them to be true.
So here we’ll discuss the most common myths ~~~>
Black Coffee – Many people drink coffee to try and get rid of hangover symptoms. Coffee may relieve the feeling of fatigue and help alleviate the headache symptoms during hangover by restricting blood vessels, but unfortunately that relief is only temporary and the symptoms will return soon. More importantly, coffee acts as a diuretic, which further dehydrates the body, thus resulting in an increase in hangover symptoms. Initially, coffee may lessen the intensity of a few symptoms, but it won’t help you a lot in the long run. So, if you’re facing a hangover, drop the idea of having a cup of coffee.
Hair of the Dog – The practice of having a drink the next morning to ward off the effects of a hangover may be effective in the short term, but it isn’t guaranteed to work in long run. Worse hangover symptoms occur when the drinker’s blood alcohol content returns to zero, taking a drink the next morning only delays the expected. Giving the liver more alcohol to metabolize will only increase the discomfort later. So it’s advisable to avoid drinking the next morning if you can. If you’re desperate for a drink, go for a Bloody Mary… then look up Alcoholics Anonymous!
Eating Burnt Toast – Many people believe in eating burnt toast the next morning to ward off hangover symptoms. Carbon can act like a filter in the body and activated charcoal is used to treat some types of poisonings, but please note that the carbon found on burnt toast is not activated charcoal and it doesn’t work the same way in human body.
Many Over-the-counter products sold as hangover cures that contain carbon are intended to be taken before drinking and not after the hangover’s begun.
Taking Tylenol Before Going to Bed – This treatment seems to make sense, but unfortunately it won’t work. If you take Tylenol before going to bed, the effects of the acetaminophen will usually have worn off before the start of your hangover symptoms. So, it’s better to take it after the symptoms begin. Secondly, when the liver is processing alcohol it can’t process acetaminophen. It can cause liver inflammation and possibly cause permanent liver damage.
Eating Greasy Foods – If you eat greasy or fried foods before drinking, the oils can coat your stomach lining, which will ultimately slow down the absorption of alcohol. This can prove to be helpful in decreasing the severity of a hangover. However, eating greasy food the morning after a drinking bout will probably only add to your gastrointestinal malaise by irritating the stomach and intestines.
Use your George Foreman Grill instead.
Of course, the best and most effective remedy is to try not to drink yourself into oblivion in the first place. The amount of alcohol needed to really wreck a person varies due to build, gender and genetics. Most studies quantify “binge drinking” as consuming more than five drinks in a night or more than three drinks in one to two hours. Now, I’d never say stop drinking altogether, but at least be careful.
There are hundreds of alleged cures available for hangovers, but most of them are ineffective.
We’ve already discussed the most popular and readily available hangover cures, but all of these might not be equally effective for everyone. If your symptoms don’t subside within a day or two then it’s better to consult a doctor as soon as possible. These remedies have all been known to help treat the symptoms of a hangover after a night of partying. They all work differently for everyone and with the passage of time you’ll discover, which cure works best for you. Enjoy your nights out, but know your limits. Keep in mind that there’s no magic wand to alleviate hangover symptoms instantly. Only time is guaranteed to cure a hangover caused by excessive drinking, so be patient and don’t get panicked. Time heals.
Every one of us goes through the same phases in life. When we’re young, we behave more or less in the same manner. Part of being young is being stupid (speak for yourself) and anyone who tells you they never got drunk is either lying or only six years old. Just because so many people get drunk doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing. A recent survey found that 3 out of every 5 college students have engaged in binge drinking. But binge drinking is very harmful to your liver and kidneys. It also puts you at high risk of death due to alcohol overdose. Although many factors can contribute to hangover symptoms, the two main factors are dehydration and the toxic effects of alcohol on the body’s systems. We can overcome dehydration and its symptoms quickly with water or sports drinks that replace electrolytes, but only time can reverse the toxic effects of alcohol on the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal systems.
At the end of the day, be careful rather than sorry.
It’s At Times Like This That You Know…
It Really Is The End!