The Cure to Hangovers: What Works and What Is Just a Myth

By Kylie Hargrave

Elm Staff Writer


It’s been a while since Birthday Ball now, but I wouldn’t be surprised to still find people wearing glasses inside with one hand clutched around their head and the other over their stomach. It’s the dreaded hangover, and it claimed several victims this year after the weekend of festivities. While the “How I Met Your Mother” “Stinson’s Hangover Fixer Elixir” may not exist in real life to make a quick fix, there are several hangover “cures” here and around the world—some sensible and some down right weird.

Most clinical websites agree: there really isn’t a hangover “cure,” except time and not drinking in the first place. However, in my opinion, there are ways to hasten or at least aid the recovery process. First and foremost, as most people know: water, water, water. One main cause of a hangover is severe dehydration due to the alcohol consumption. Sleep is also a good one, if even just to make the time pass by quicker.

However, doctors will also argue that a greasy breakfast doesn’t do anything for a hangover, but the popularity of greasy foods like Tater Tots on Saturday and Sunday mornings in Hodson says otherwise. Nothing seems to want to stay down on those fateful mornings more than a big pile of grease on grease. In my opinion, getting something down is better than nothing at all, so if it’s the only thing that really seems appetizing, then go for it.

Another popular cure is hair of the dog, which seems to be a short delay to an even bigger problem. This consists of running right back to the thing that caused the problem by drinking more to get the hangover away. It may work in the short term, but you’re setting yourself up for an extremely awful day down the road. Besides, when your stomach is lurching in the morning the last thing you want to smell is a whiff of alcohol in a Bloody Mary.

One thing that is important to address is opting for pain meds to ease that pounding headache. If you must, opt for pain meds that are non-steroids like Ibuprofen. If you’ve already tested your liver last night, don’t test it further this morning by using meds like Tylenol or other acetaminophens. It may be okay in moderation, but it could cause real complications with your liver so its simply best to avoid.

These cures are generally pretty universal and typical, at least in the US. However, there are some cures around the world that are enough to make one queasy even without a night of drinking. In Russia it’s popular to chug a glass of pickle juice, for example. The chuggers claim the salt replaces lost electrolytes and the fermentation aids in the digestive process. In Peru there is a raw fish dish called leche de tigre. It may be marinated in many delicious sounding citruses and spices, but I can’t imagine adding raw fish to the turmoil in my stomach. In Asia, they have a soup that claims to get rid of hangovers in its very name. However, it’s made with congealed ox blood. Enough said. And last but not least, indigenous Australians are known to drink a tea made from ground-up green ants to chase the hangover away.

In the end, feel more than welcome to eat a greasy breakfast, sip on some ant tea, or chug a glass of pickle juice to try and get over the crippling hangover the day after a great night, but don’t get your hopes up. Overall, there’s only one real cause for a hangover: the choice to drink heavily and I guess we have to be willing to accept the consequences.

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