There are plenty to choose from! Here's a round up of some popular and not so popular hangover cures:
Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Alcohol dehydrates you. Replenishing fluids and staying sufficiently hydrated will help minimize a headache and help your bloodstream process the alcohol out of your system faster. If you cannot drink enough water, the first best choice, vegetable juice blends, reduced-sodium clear chicken broth, and caffeine-free diet sodas will also work.
Sleep it off. Chances are you already stayed up late while you were overdoing the bubbly. Sleep in, then hydrate, get something to eat and consider taking a nap. Get to bed early the following night.
Oh, my head! Yes, you may have a headache. But avoid the temptation to pop your painkiller of choice. Any side effects are magnified when alcohol is in your system. Aspirin is a blood thinner like alcohol. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can pile on more liver damage in addition to whatever you’ve already done. Ibuprofen (Motrin) can also cause stomach bleeding. So be cautious. Try a cold compress with an ice pack or cool washcloth first. If you do take a painkiller, be sure to drink a generous amount of water with it.
Drink a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade. These drinks are fairly easy on your stomach, provide electrolytes, potassium and a small amount of carbs, and help keep you hydrated.
Eat eggs. Eggs contain cysteine, which helps break down a toxic byproduct of alcohol metabolism, acetaldehyde, into relatively harmless acetic acid. Eating eggs after drinking too much can help reduce the effects of acetaldehyde, which include hangover effects and liver damage.
Go bananas. All diuretics, including alcohol, deplete your body of potassium, which can make you lightheaded. Eating bananas or other foods high in potassium can replenish the potassium and lost electrolytes. Sports drinks typically are good sources of potassium, which is why they are also effective.
Ginger, honey and lemon tea. Ginger has long been known as a natural way to relieve nausea. Chinese physicians regularly prescribe ginger for gastric problems. Honey provides nutrients, and lemon provides citric acid and vitamin C. Black teas do have some caffeine but you are getting enough hydration that it won’t negate the positive effects.
Pucker up. In Poland, drinking pickle juice is a common remedy. Russians believe in sauerkraut juice.
Exercise. It may sound like the last thing you feel like doing, but any kind of physical activity will help accelerate your body’s ability to flush the alcohol out of your system. Be cautious, take it easy and make sure you are drinking plenty of water or a sports drink since you’re likely to be a little dehydrated, and you’re going to start perspiring to boot. But if standing up is a challenge, exercise may not be the best idea.
Shower power. Some people swear by taking a shower and alternating between cold and hot water. It certainly can’t hurt you, unless you are so drunk you’d drown.
Many of my colleagues swear by extract from the seeds of the milk-thistle, or Silybum marianum, a flowering plant from the daisy family, which you can buy in capsule or liquid form. Silymarin, its active ingredient, is said to improve liver function. There’s one problem: it’s best taken before a big night, and I never do, as I always intend to not drink enough to cause a hangover.
My late grandmother put her faith for dealing with what she delicately referred to as “stomach upsets” in a German digestif called Underberg. Sold in small, brown-paper-wrapped phials, it is flavored with bitter herbs and barks that are supposed to stimulate the digestive system. It’s 44 per cent proof, so also classifies as hair of the dog; truly medicinal alcohol.
I prefer to stick to the time-honored cure of water. A liter before you go to bed, half a liter every time you wake up in the night and another half-liter in the morning makes an extraordinary difference. If you feel too lousy to lift your head from the pillow, bottled water can be consumed in the horizontal position.
A 2005 meta-analysis in the British Medical Journal looked at studies of various alleged remedies, including tropisetron (a nausea drug), propranolol (a beta blocker that affects blood flow), tolfenamic acid (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory) and fructose or glucose (supposedly they tamp down the metabolic effects of ethanol). The studies also examined the success of various dietary supplements, including prickly pear.
The study authors found no convincing evidence that any conventional or complementary remedies can prevent or cure a hangover. They added that until more is known about what happens in the body to cause a hangover, a true remedy may be tough to pin down.
The authors also offered this nugget: "The most effective way to avoid the symptoms of alcohol induced hangover is to practice abstinence or moderation."
Tempted to try an over-the-counter remedy? Read this first.
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