Hangovers and hangover cures
All three of my books contain homebrew recipes as does a large propotion of this blog. It
would seem only fair that I at least acknowledge that I might be at least partly responsible for many a hangover. Therefore I suggest that if you have happened upon this page whilst drunk or before planning to get drunk, that you should bookmark it for the morning. It might just sort you out!
The best natural hangover cure should really start the night before over in the States and across much of Continental Europe they have the right idea and many bars will also sell food. Food helps to soak up the booze and fatty foods are ideal. This is because fatty foods take longer to digest and thus will help protect your stomach against the irritating effects for alcohol for longer.
Whilst drinking try and have a glass of water for every unit of alcohol consumed as a preventative anti hangover measure; fizzy drinks are ill advised as they actually increase the amount of alcohol heading into your bloodstream. Alcohol acts as a diuretic increasing the flow of urine from the kidneys leading to dehydration. It’s this dehydration that causes some of the tell tale signs of a hangover such as dizziness, dry mouth and nausea. What’s more increased bladder flow can deplete valuable vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin C and various B vitamins. To further these feelings an increase in REM (rapid eye movement/dream) sleep means your brain has been falsely excited and this can lead to depression and anxiety.
The depleted vitamins and minerals have to be replaced in order for you to start feeling human again. Potassium can be reintroduced by eating bananas, potatoes, spinach or mushrooms. Vitamin C can be found in chilli and bell peppers, strawberries, oranges and kiwi fruits.
The loss of B12 when drinking can bring on feelings of guilt which sometimes plays a part in the psychological side of a hangover. B12 can be found in eggs, bacon and black pudding which is why, if you can get it down you, a fry up always helps. Or if you want to try an ancient Greeks hangover cure, how about fried sheep lungs? Eggs are doubley a good idea as they contain Cysteine and evidence is emerging that suggests this chemical will counteract the poisonous effects of acetaldehyde a by product of alcohol metabolism that is responsible for many of the long term
If even the thought of sheep lungs are causing your stomach to churn then a dose of ginger and cardamom tea will help. If you can’t even get that down you then pour the tea onto a flannel, let it cool and place it directly onto your stomach.
Food cures are much better combined in a breakfast and I often make friends a “full Andy”, after a night of beer tasting gets out of hand. A “full Andy” consists of Bacon, sausage and black pudding for the B12 all fried in dripping (more B12 and some fatty acids) with bell peppers, mushrooms and spinach. Then I crack two eggs on the top and finish off under the grill.
Alongside the breakfast I make the following tea, which can be drank freely throughout the day. Normal tea and coffee are ill advised as the caffeine in both with dehydrate you further.
- Thumb sized piece of bruised root ginger
- 10g Rosemary
- 10g Nettle leaves
- Handful of pine needles
- 3 Green cardamom pods
- 500ml hot water
Boil kettle. Put all the ingredients into a tea-pot and cover with hot water. Allow to infuse for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, hold head and say, “never, ever again”.
Pour and sip. This will make two cups and you can also keep topping up the tea-pot and drinking all day until you start to feel a bit more human. Couple it with drinking plenty of water.
If nothing seems to work then go back to sleep for a bit and try to get some normal sleep and take some good quality B-complex tablets. Of course if any of my sensible suggestions don’t sound like your bag you could always try a hair of the dog method; my favourite is a Roman one which consists of 5 litres of wine infused with 16 bulbs of garlic.