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Hair Of The Dog: Is There A Hangover Cure?

Updated on December 29, 2009

Ancient Romans swallowed raw owl's eggs and sheep lungs. Early Assyrians stomached ground swallow beaks and myrrh (a gum resin expunged from trees and shrubs). Voodoo priests poked needles into corks of discourteous containers.

Why? Simple: They had all sipped too many spirits the previous evening and thought these ridiculous concoctions might help subdue their suffering. Anyone who has ever polished off a flask of firewater or swallowed a fifth of Scotch will woefully attest that alcohol has its unfair share of side-effects: fatigue, dizziness, irritability, headache, nausea, tremors, cold sweats, a pasty palette that feels like it swallowed a porcupine... just like a hangover itself, the list seems endless.

Hangovers are the reason in the last three decades I've averaged like three or four drinks a year. I got out of bed in my UCLA dorm room one morning and swore my head was about to detonate.

As every drinker knows, alcohol's most unwelcome symptom does not fully kick in until you open your eyes the next morning. While scientists squabble over a hangover's chemical composition, certain sects have spent ages in search of a cure. Let it be known, however, there is no cure. There is a super-scientific trick to avoiding a hangover's vengeful wrath: abstinence. Works for me!

Having given you fair warning, here are some tidbits to ponder next time you're enduring the morning following an evening of powerful popper pounding and noxious cocktail quaffing:

Five things to try after the hangover sets in:

1) Drink lots of warm water (sailors swore by seawater). Warm water is easiest for your body to digest as your body temperature is already 98 F (37 C).

2) Eat light foods high in carbohydrates and fructose. Natural sugars found in fruits and juices are great, as are tea and honey.

3) Try the "hair from the dog that bit you" (keep drinking). If you can't stop the hangover, at least you can delay it.

4) Inhale a container of pure oxygen. Oxygen bars are all the rage in L.A. and New York.

5) Sleep it off.

Sip water between alcoholic drinks for hangover prevention.
Sip water between alcoholic drinks for hangover prevention.

Five things you should have done differently:

 1) Avoid dollar wines and alcoholic beverages made to appeal to pre-teens. Cheap and carbonated beverages typically contain higher levels of toxins which is especially healthy for pre-teen alcoholics.

2) Eat plenty of food before a night of drinking. Food (especially those high in protein, such as fish, beans, nuts) slows the rate at which alcohol is absorbed and lowers peak blood-alcohol levels.

3) Sip water in between drinks (at least three ounces for every slammed shot) and guzzle as much water as you can before bed. The extra trip to the bathroom will be worth it! Alcohol is a diuretic. In other words, it purges liquid from the system but I don't need to tell beer drinkers that.

4) Swallow a multivitamin before bed. Alcohol strips your system of vitamins (especially thiamine and B-complex vitamins). Vitamins assist in metabolizing alcohol and cleaning the liver.

5) Do as the ancient Egyptians did before drinking. Eat boiled cabbage. Hey, it can't hurt.


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