How to cure a hangover


THE drink’s been drunk, the turkey consumed — and it’s the day after.

For many the post-Christmas experience consists a dry mouth, blurred vision and one almighty headache.

Yes, a nasty hangover is Mother Nature’s way of telling you you’ve had a touch too much of the Christmas spirit (or wine, or beer, or sherry).

They don’t call it intoxication for nothing. Alcohol is poisonous.

Too much dehydrates the system and riddles the body with poison.

But despite that there’s a fair chance many of us will throw caution to the wind and imbibe a bit too much this festive season.

So if you that’s you what’s the best way to get over the morning after? Here’s The Irish Post guide to surviving a post-Christmas hangover.

The whacky

(They might just work)

1) Seasoned drinkers in the Middle Ages would down a plate of bitter almonds and dried eel. Pleasing to the palette? Perhaps not. But nutritious .

2) In Puerto Rico revellers cure hangovers by rubbing half a lemon under their drinking arm. Experts say rub the lemon clockwise in the northern hemisphere and anticlockwise in the south for full effect.

3) Haitan voodoo people recommend sticking 13 black pins in the cork of the offending bottle. Harder with cans of beer.

4) Some American Indian tribes run until they break into a sweat — and then lick the perspiration sweat and spit it out to rid the body of the poison.

5) In 19th Century England, chimneysweeps swore by the healing properties of a long, warm, soot milkshake.

6) South Africans eat Assyrian Paste — made with a teaspoon of ground swallow’s beak and a teaspoon of myrrh mixed together. They recommend eating it as quickly as possible and washing it down with a glass of water.

7) In the Wild Wild West, whisky-swilling cowboys swore by a stiff cup of rabbit-poo tea.

8) In Outer Mongolia drunks are said to slurp down a pickled sheep’s eye in tomato juice.

The more scientific

1) Berocca: Sold in Australia specifically as a vitamin supplement, but widely recognised as a hangover cure. Contains all the chemicals that are lost and destroyed in a drinking session. It is sold in Britain as a pick-me-up for business meetings — but drinkers know better!

2) Caffeine: A good strong cup of coffee or tea will perk you up at any time of day — but that’s the caffeine. It doesn’t actually cure anything and what’s more it can actually worsen dehydration.

3) Eggs: Traditional hangover cures such as Prairie Oysters, omelettes and the English Fried Breakfast involve eggs. Others swear by the efficacy of a downed raw egg in the morning. The reason that these are thought to work is probably that eggs also contain cysteine — which helps mop up poisons.

4) Hair of the Dog: For some particularly nasty hangovers, this can be useful — although the effect is only temporary. The liver attacks poisons in a certain order, with ethanol first. Once all the ethanol has been broken down it starts on the methanol, which releases formic acid into your system and makes you feel bad. Hitting the liver with another dose of ethanol causes it to stop processing methanol and start on the new threat.

5) Hot Showers: Sit in a hot, powerful shower and get the full force of it on the back of your neck. Headaches are often caused by constricted blood vessels and tense neck muscles. A massage under a hot shower relaxes the tension.

6) Isotonic Sports Drinks: Supposed to replace salts and sugars and definitely worth a try. One variation on the sports drink theme is a 50:50 mix of Tropical Tango and Red Bull.

7) Kidney Dialysis: Admittedly most people don’t have access to a dialysis machine, but if you can stand getting hooked up by nurses armed with needles while still drunk you can be sober in four or five hours without any ill effects.

8) N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC): An amino acid supplement sold in health food stores. Extremely good at mopping up free radicals that have built up in the liver. A very effective hangover remedy and especially good if you need a clear head in the morning.

9) Oxygen: A brisk walk is renowned for clearing the head. The theory is that the increased oxygen flow improves the metabolic rate, and thus increases the speed at which the poisons are broken down. Nurses have long known that a blast from the oxygen cylinder first thing in the morning does wonders.

10) Pinching your Hand: There is a nerve junction between the thumb and forefinger on your left hand which is reputed to be an acupressure point which can release tension in the head and neck. If you pinch it quite hard for 30 seconds every five minutes normal tension headaches can be relieved.

11) Resolve: Best taken before going to bed. Can work marvels especially if followed in the morning by a vitamin supplement such as Berocca.

12) Salt Solution: Research on small mammals has shown that a poisoned digestive system is much better at taking up an isotonic solution than it is at taking up pure water. So if you’re going to drink water put a spoonful of salt in it, and a couple more of sugar to increase the concentration and mask the taste. While you’re at it, you might as well throw in some powdered painkillers.


 © 2009