At some point in your life you will (or already have) experience a hangover. Whether it was a holiday party that got too jolly, or a business dinner with one baijiu shot too many – hangovers happen. Not only that, hangovers are the worst. Period. No questions asked. Since most countries have a drinking culture, it stands to reason that they would also have hangover cures. Hangover cures vary from culture to culture (and even person to person). Out of curiosity, I went to WeChat and asked my friends for their go-to hangover remedies. Aside from the obvious “drink a lot of water,” here’s what I learned…
1. Drink Cures
My American, British, and Australian friends all recommended a cure called “the hair of the dog.” The name originates from an old remedy for rabies. Apparently, in the past (“Before we knew anything about how medicine worked,” said my American friend, Nick) if someone was bit by a rabid dog, the cure would be to eat or drink medicine containing hairs from the dog that bit you. My British friend, Tom, supported this story and thus recommended a beer as a hangover cure. You read that right. According to this remedy, drinking a beer the morning after will help you overcome your hangover. I guess you can’t be hung over if you never sober up, huh?
Along that line of thought, some people (Americans for sure, but are there others?) are known to drink a Bloody Mary cocktail to cope with their hangovers. Bloody Mary’s contains vodka, tomato juice, and combinations of other spices and flavorings including Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, piri piri sauce, beef consommé or bouillon, horseradish, celery, olives, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and celery salt (recipe from Wikipedia). Wikipedia also explains that Bloody Mary’s are believed to help with hangovers because the vegetables settle the stomach while the salt replenishes electrolytes. The alcohol, meanwhile, relieves the head and body aches. Though, the article does assert that there’s no real science to back all this up and drinking a Bloody Mary for a hangover could be nothing more than a placebo effect – buy, hey! If it works, it works. Right?
Stepping away from alcoholic remedies, Mark told me that people in Iran drink something called Chai Nabat. Essentially it’s tea with a special Iranian brand of sugar. If you’re interested in trying Chai Nabat, you can find the recipehere. Minmin (from China) also suggested tea and tea cakes as the Chinese cure for hangovers. I don’t think anyone’s surprised by this remedy as tea is the cure for many ailments in China.
Another American cure, contributed by Jordan and Rebecca, is drinking Gatorade. Gatorade contains electrolytes which will help re-hydrate your system. As for the color/flavor, I don’t think there’s any specific advantage. Just drink the one you like!
2. Food Cures
Fast food is a popular hangover cure in America. I know from my personal experience, a hamburger from somewhere like McDonald’s or anything equally greasy usually does the trick. Other people, like my friend Amanda, go for something a little healthier like a sandwich from Subway. Basically, we don’t care what we eat when we’re hungover – so long as we can get it fast and cheap.
My Japanese friend, Tatsu, was also familiar with the “hair of the dog” cure but suggested another alternative. Being from Japan, Tatsu told me that eating miso soup with clams would cure a hangover. Mara, from Poland, also suggested a soup-based cure. She told me that chicken soup is the cure for most ailments – including the common cold – in her native culture.
David, from Australia, suggested Vegemite while Tim (another Australian) suggested two boiled eggs because the proteins will help “clean up the nasties from the booze that make you feel uncomfortable.” [Sidebar: On a slightly unrelated note, Tim and David agree that “along with the citizenship exam, an applicant for Australian citizenship should be made to eat a teaspoon of Vegemite straight.”] Tim seems to be on the right track (I don’t know about the Vegemite, but to each their own.) when it comes to cleaning up your system.
3. Medical Cures
Brooke and Cheryl, two Americans living in Shanghai, each suggested more pharmaceutical solutions. Advil and water, are on Brooke’s list of musts. I’m sure any form of ibuprofen would do the trick if you don’t have Advil, specifically, on hand. Cheryl also insists that drinking water the night of revelry is important for recovery. Additionally, though, she suggested re-hydration salts. Re-hydration salts are used in extreme cases of dehydration to replenish the body with necessary glucose-electrolyte compounds. You can buy them in pharmacies or online.
Like I said before, each culture and each person has their own go-to hangover relief. If you haven’t found your cure yet, try one of the ones mentioned in this article. Or, if you have a different cure you’d like to share, leave us a comment below. Here’s hoping your next drinking adventure results in a less painful recovery period. Cheers!Categories: Resources