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Dihydromyricetin (DHM): A Possible Cure for Hangover

Updated on April 17, 2012
This hard-working rat still doesn't know the win-win strategy it is going to experience!
This hard-working rat still doesn't know the win-win strategy it is going to experience!

A hangover after a long, apparently happy night with friends and a lot of drinking is not the best phenomenon to experience. The upcoming undesirable effects of inmoderate alcohol consumption can be softened usually by drinking plenty of water before going to sleep, or taking vitamin supplements the following day. Do we feel these are the best options to tackle this ironic physical and mental state? Of course not. Along the myriad of anti-dayafter pills sold in almost every grocery store, there's a particularly effective and completely natural chemical substance called Dihydromyricetin (DHM).

According to researchers, DHM is very promising in treatment of hangover, but the main point constitutes a powerful anti-alcohol characteristic that scientifically is already proven in rats.

The study

A group of researchers led by Jing Liang from the University of California has investigated the efficacy of DHM on a large amount of rats. To be up-to-date, rats have approximately the same set of enzymes compared to those of human beings responsible for metabolism of alcohol. Considering this point, the results were expected to give a clear view about the effectiveness of this substance.

Rats were given over a course of two hours a high dose of beer that equals to 15-20 glasses of beer in human proportions. The expectations were unquestionable, the picture of a drunk rat population was unavoidable, rats lost the ability to flip themselves over when placed on their back. Soon after the animals were starting to lose their coordination abilities, a dose of DHM was injected into their body. The results were astonishing, after 15 minutes rats started gradually recovering from the debilitating effects of alcohol. The following day, aftereffects of alcohol were much more lower, typical symptoms of hangover like anxiety, seizures were only slightly or absolutely lacking.

What happened next? Have the rats developed a stronger desire toward drinking?

The biggest surprise emerged a few days after. Scientists have examined a control group of rats going under the same procedure like DHM-treated group, however in their case, DHM was not administered. The goal was to compare the addictive behavior of those two groups after drinking. After the first "event", the two groups had the opportunity of drinking alcohol freely. While the control group seemed to manifest an increase in drinking behavior, DHM-treated rats did not show an increase in alcohol consumption.

Alcohol and addiction

It is known that even casual consumption of alcohol can lead to development of addictive behavior.

An interesting reference

Have you ever thought that Hovenia Dulcis was applied by traditional Chinese medicine for more than 500 years? Surprisingly Chinese people still make good use of it in the cure for hangovers!

Hovenia Dulcis
Hovenia Dulcis | Source

Dihydromyricetin in nature

DHM is found naturally in a plant named Hovenia Dulcis, also called the oriental raisin tree. This hardy tree occurs from Japan, Korean, Eastern China to the Himalayas. Along with many flavonoid compounds found in this tree, DHM is maybe the only antioxidant with anti-alcohol and liver protecting properties. As of 2008 the Korea Food & Drug Administration approved DHM as a potentially therapeutic extract in treatment of liver damage from alcohol and alcoholism.

Future goals

Even though this prominent research showed extra-ordinal results in rats, indirect testing on humans is still required. Before making extravagant assumptions of this molecule, it is recommended not to see DHM as a miraculous one. However, research in this field is constantly growing so much so that hangover won't be an enormous tragedy to deal with.


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