Hangover Folk Remedies
By: Jason Lindsey
If you had a little too much fun bringing in the New Year you probably had to deal with the consequence the next day. It's called a dreaded hangover and it's caused when alcohol dehydrates and poisons the body.
After drinking alcohol, your body sucks up vital fluids. It then activates the adrenal glands to speed up your metabolism to remove the poison from your system. This causes the excitement you feel when being drunk. Also, alcohol switches off nerve impulses to areas of the brain involved in memory, judgment, and coordination.
The only fool-proof way to avoid a hangover is not to drink. If you choose to drink, there are some old folk remedies that some say will minimize the symptoms.
Activated Charcoal - Take one tablet of activated charcoal per drink while you are drinking. The charcoal absorbs the impurities in the alcohol which are the cause of the hangover. The charcoal also absorbs important nutrients, so if you are a heavy drinker, don't use this remedy daily as you will end up with nutritional deficiencies.
Apples eaten on an empty stomach the day after drinking is an effective remedy.
Bananas - One of the quickest ways to cure a hangover is to make a banana milkshake sweetened with honey. The banana helps calm the stomach, and with the honey, builds up the depleted blood sugar levels. The milk soothes the stomach and rehydrates your system. Bananas are also rich in the important electrolytes, magnesium and potassium, which are severely depleted during heavy drinking.
B-Vitamins - Take the vitamins before you go to bed and let them work their magic while you sleep. If you forget, take them immediately upon arising. B-Vitamins are important in aiding the carbohydrate (alcohol) metabolizing process and in dilating blood vessels. B-vitamins will help restore your energy level. You will need to take a high-potency B-complex supplement for this remedy to work (50-75 mg of B-complex twice a day, hopefully once before bed after indulging).
Chicken Soup - Grandma's old stand-by, chicken soup, seems to work as well for hangover problems as it does for colds.
Feverfew - Use feverfew, an herb, in place of aspirin. Aspirin is very hard on the stomach, while feverfew is not.
Ginger - Take 500 mg of ginger capsules every few hours, or make a ginger tea. This will help soothe your stomach.
Honey - Take 2-6 teaspoonfuls of honey every twenty minutes upon awaking, depending on the severity of the hangover. Continue with the honey until you start to feel better, then take four teaspoonsful with your first meal. The potassium in the honey helps counteract the effects of the alcohol and will decrease the cravings for it. Alcoholic drinks are acidic in reaction and satisfy your natural desire for an acid, the same as coffee and tea do. If you have an alcohol problem, check your body chemistry and make appropriate changes in diet and supplementation. In addition, honey contains fructose, a type of sugar that helps your body metabolize alcohol more quickly.
Kudzu Extract - Studies have shown that its isoflavones, diadzin and puerarin, can help relieve hangovers quickly!
Lemon - Add the juice of one lemon to a cup of black coffee and drink it unsweetened and without milk.
Lime - As soon as you wake up on the "morning after" add two teaspoons of fresh lime juice and a teaspoon of sugar to 8 ounces of water. Drink it slowly. This concoction will help stabilize your blood sugar, which will be low after imbibing.
Peppermint - The herb peppermint, either in tea form or chewing the leaves, will relax the intestines. Peppermint is a carminative, which is a substance that removes accumulated gas from the stomach and intestines. Make a tea by pouring one cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of the dried herb; cover; steep for fifteen minutes; strain. Drink 1-2 cups as soon as you can.
Persimmon - Eat a raw persimmon for a headache.
Prickly Pear Cactus extract has been found to relieve hangover nausea and dry mouth according to researchers at Tulane University and the University of California, San Francisco. Prickly pear is known to reduce inflammation, and hangover symptoms are due to an increase in inflammation. Researchers found that C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation, was 40% higher in the group that took a placebo. The extract was taken five hours before alcohol consumption.
Raw Cabbage - Eat raw cabbage to dissipate a headache.
Sauerkraut Juice - Drink sauerkraut juice with some tomato juice if you don't like it straight. These drinks replace lost nutrients.
Scalp Stimulation - Pull your hair in clumps so that your full scalp is stimulated. This remedy brings blood to the scalp and relieves the headache.
Silymarin, better known as milk thistle, protects liver cells from alcohol by preventing toxins from entering them and helps to remove existing toxins. Take two 70 mg capsules with a meal or before or while drinking.
Thyme - Make a tea by lightly crushing five fresh or dried leaves; place in a cup and fill with water cooled to just below boiling; cover and leave to infuse for five minutes; remove leaves and drink.
Tomato Juice - In addition to being a prevention remedy, tomato juice contains fructose, a type of sugar that helps your body metabolize alcohol more quickly. This is probably why the morning-after Bloody Mary seems to work.
Vitamin C stimulates the liver to break down the alcohol. Take 2-10 gm per day in divided doses. Start at 1,000 mg an hour and built up to bowel tolerance. An excess of vitamin C can cause diarrhea, and since you probably have stomach distress already too much C may cause a problem.