I can safely say that I have not done my fair share of research on excessive alcohol consumption and I swear I named one of my dogs Martini after a movie character instead of the drink (my other dog’s name is Olive). But, we all have experienced a hangover at one time or another.
Everyone knows the traditional hangover prevention tips like consume alcohol on a full stomach, drink a lot of water and get plenty of rest. And, there are some strange hangover remedies like taking a wasabi bath or eating deep fried canaries, but I think I’ll stick to the nourishing foods that have been proven to alleviate the symptoms.
Effects of Asparagus on Hangovers
An article in the Journal of Food Science studied the effects of asparagus on hangovers and determined that amino acids and enzymes in the asparagus shoots and leaves can protect the liver against toxins.
Asparagus officinalis is a vegetable that is widely consumed worldwide and has also long been used as a herbal medicine for the treatment of several diseases. Although A. officinalis is generally regarded as a supplement for the alleviation of alcohol hangover, little is known about its effects on cell metabolism. Therefore, this study was conducted to analyze the constituents of the young shoots and the leaves of asparagus and to compare their biochemical properties……these results provide biochemical evidence of the method by which A. officinalis exerts its biological functions, including the alleviation of alcohol hangover and the protection of liver cells against toxic insults.
Researchers at Tulane University and University of California found that prickly pear cactus extract can reduce inflammation specific to alcohol consumption, while studies at Northwestern University have found that supplement N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) replenishes the amino acid cysteine, which is depleted during alcohol consumption.
Home Remedies for Hangover
Home remedies like honey, bananas, sports drinks, ginger, and peppermint help restore the body’s electrolytes and soothe the stomach. And, one should also be sure to get plenty of Vitamin B and C. There is even research to suggest that a morning-after drink, known as drinking the “hair of the dog,” can help combat a hangover. Well, like mentioned earlier, there are some strange hangover remedies and you might have heard of some of them:
History is awash with hangover remedies. Pliny the Elder’s favourite fix back in the first century AD was a couple of fresh owl eggs. Medieval rakes survived on chopped eels garnished with bitter almond. Hollywood hellraisers of the 1950s simply drank some more. And today there are the old dependables such as Bloody Marys, prairie oysters, greasy fry-ups, sugary tea and black coffee.
Methanol is the Main Hangover Culprit
Researcher Wayne Jones claims that methanol (instead of ethanol) is the main hangover culprit, as it remains in the body longer. Thus, drinking alcohol for a hangover makes the body’s enzymes work primarily on the new ethanol instead of the residual methanol. But, you won’t see me grabbing for a Blood Mary for my next hangover, as another researcher titled their article, “The ‘hair of the dog:’ a useful hangover remedy or a predictor of future drinking problem?”
Corinne Kohrherr is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Board Certified Chinese Herbalist, Registered Nurse, Licensed Massage Therapist and DONA Certified Childbirth Doula. She is a holistic healthcare practitioner and lives in New York City with her dogs Martini and Olive.