Anyone who has been on a stag do or hen night will no doubt have come across one of those cute ‘hangover recovery kits’ that are handed out en masse to the party, containing miniature doses of rehydration tablets, paracetamol and suchlike. This is often combined with the traditional British approach of an artery-clogging fry -up.
Our Scandinavian friends prefer the highly questionable ‘hair of the dog’ method, by simply cracking open another beer, while Eastern Europeans prefer neat vodka. However, tackling a weapons-grade hangover sometimes takes an off-beat approach. Here are some really weird and wild ideas (that almost certainly don’t work).
Rubbing lemons under your armpits
According to the Puerto Ricans, rubbing a slice of lemon under your armpits before commencing on a drinking session will ease the effects of dehydration and headache later on. Apparently, the body absorbs the hydrating citrus juice, which also cleanses away the toxic effects of alcohol and delivers useful vitamins to your system. Hmm, really?
Drinking pickle juice
A Polish tradition is to drink a jar of pickle juice the morning after a heavy night. The theory goes that naturally fermented pickles are rich in useful probiotics, which are live bacteria and yeasts that are also found in foods such as yoghurt and sauerkraut. They also contain electrolytes, which help maintain the fluid balance in the body. Maybe so, but: bleurgh!
Tomato juice and raw eggs
This is the go-to method of our friends across the pond. The egg yolk contains amino acids, which is thought to help expel alcohol toxins from the body. Meanwhile, tomato juice is rich in antioxidants and vitamins. While this is not harmful (apart from the risks associated with consuming raw eggs), there is no clinical research to provide evidence that it works.
This substance, which can be taken in pill form, is supposed to trap the toxins and chemicals that alcohol releases into the bloodstream. Activated charcoal is a favourite of wellness enthusiasts for flushing out the system. However, the science to support the theory is dubious, and taking these pills could make a hangover even worse.
This is because activated charcoal only absorbs the toxins in the stomach, rather than those in the blood. Also, it might mop up the useful stuff in your stomach, such as iron and other minerals, which actually help you to feel better. At the very worst, if you are prone to stomach upsets, it could induce vomiting. No thanks.
It seems that the only medically approved way to cure a hangover is to drink lots of water, and wait for nature to do its thing. Boring, but at least it doesn’t involve consuming weird substances.
Of course, anyone with any actual medical knowledge will know this: prevention is better than cure. One bullet-proof method of avoiding the dreaded hangover is to drink non-alcoholic beer. This gives you the best of both worlds: enjoying the taste and knocking back pints along with your mates, whilst knowing you will wake up feeling great the next day!