Hangover is a mild version of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, which causes delirium tremens in alcoholics. The headache is prompted in part by alcohol’s relaxing effect on the blood vessels. As they open up, more blood flows through them, which causes the sensation of warmth we feel when drinking. But if the blood vessels of the head open too much, they trigger the pain nerves. Hangover is unfortunately quite common, because alcoholism is a major public health problem, affecting some ten million Americans. But you don’t have to abuse alcohol to suffer an occasional hangover. You don’t even have to get terribly drunk. Hangover is also known as (Scientific Binomial Name), Headache and nausea after drinking alcohol (Common English), (Unani), atyadhik nasha (Hindi / Urdu), Hankovar (Tamil), Atimadyapan (Marathi), (Sanskrit), Apritikara parinama (Bengali), Hyangovar (Telugu), Hyangovar (Kannada), Mandata (Malayalam), Su zui (Chinese), Resaca (Spanish), Ressaca (Portuguese), Pokhmelye (Russian).
Symptoms of Hangover
Symptoms of hangovers include irritability, depression, headache, nausea, and dizziness. Too much alcohol not only leads to gastritis but to the headaches, dry mouth, increased urination, and the fuzziness of a hangover as well. These symptoms are actually those of poisoning. Drink plenty of water, diluted fruit juice, black tea, or black coffee and take herbs to help cool and soothe any related stomach inflammation. You had too much to drink last night, and you’ve woken up with a wicked hangover. Your head is pounding. You’re drenched in sweat. You feel like throwing up. Maybe you feel shaky or anxious too. What’s going on? The alcohol in your system has left you dehydrated and depleted of minerals. It’s also caused the blood vessels in your head to dilate; that accounts for the headache. Finally, alcohol makes your blood abnormally acidic (a condition called acidosis), which causes nausea and sweating. The chemical acetaldehyde may also accumulate in the blood, leading to flushing.
What Causes Hangover?
Hangovers tend to occur because you have consumed more than your liver has been able to cope with. The drinks most likely to cause hangovers include bourbon, brandy, champagne, cognac, rum, rye, whiskey, and red wine. Vodka, gin, and white wine are less likely to cause hangovers. In general, the less flavor a substance has, the less likely it is to cause a hangover. Mixing several kinds of drinks increases hangovers and so does the use of carbonated beverages, which enter the system quickly. Alcohol is also a diuretic, so fluid loss contributes to morning-after thirst and can add to head pain. The nausea and vomiting are a combination of alcohol’s irritating effect on the stomach and its many effects on the central nervous system. Additives and impurities in alcohol (congeners) contribute to hangovers. The general rule is that the darker the alcohol, the worse the hangover. Vodka and white wine contain few congeners, but bourbon, scotch and red wine are loaded with them.
Hangover Natural Home Remedies That Work
Maybe you’ve never had that kind of experience. But if you have, you may have occasion to use some natural hangover remedies. Let’s look at some folk remedies for hangover prevention and treatment. The following recommendations may help you get over the effects of drinking too much alcohol the night before and will help restore normal functioning.
- Vomiting: If you feel as if you have to throw up, don’t resist the urge. Vomiting is the body’s way of ridding itself of toxins. Do not try taking painkiller. Acetaminophen, and possibly aspirin and ibuprofen as well, can harm your liver if you’ve been drinking.
- Lemon Wedge: Rub a wedge of lemon in each armpit.
- Honey: Take 2 to 6 teaspoons of honey every 20 minutes upon waking, depending on the severity of the hangover. Continue with the honey until you start to feel better and then take 4 teaspoons with your first meal. The potassium in the honey helps counteract the effects of the alcohol and will decrease the cravings for it.
- Licorice: Make a strong decoction by heating half a cup of chopped dried licorice root in 1 pint of water and simmer until the volume is reduced by two-thirds; then combine with 2 tablespoons of honey (which acts as a preservative) and heat to form a thin syrup. Take 1 to 2 teaspoons of the mixture up to four times a day. This will help to flush the poisons out of the system as well as combat the symptoms of nausea.
- Rice Coffee: Rice coffee and tea are good for relieving the terrible pounding headaches accompanying an alcoholic hangover. To make rice coffee, just put 10 tbsp. of raw rice into a slow oven on a cookie sheet and stir frequently with a ladle until it’s well browned, but not burned. Then pass through a coffee mill and store in an airtight container. When using, put the usual amount you would for coffee grounds in a coffee-pot or percolator and prepare as you would coffee. But allow the rice to steep in a warm place for at least 30 minutes before serving. Rice tea is made the same way, except that the browned grains remain whole instead of being passed through the mill.
- Lemon + Sugar: Drink a glass of water with about 1 teaspoon lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and a pinch of salt added. Just before drinking, add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. This will immediately take care and you will feel much better.
- Black Tea / Coffee: Black tea is a traditional Cantonese remedy for hangovers. It is astringent and is ideal unsweetened and without milk. You can drink black coffee instead. Have a cup or two only, be sure not to go overboard. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it narrows the swollen blood vessels in your head. Like alcohol, caffeine is a diuretic, and if you drink too much, you’ll become even more dehydrated.
- Lassi: If you are feeling drowsy and dull, with an aching head, a burning stomach and no appetite, try a cup of cool “lassi”. To make lassi, blend 1 tablespoon of fresh yogurt with 1 cup of water and a pinch of cumin powder. Drink this 3 or 4 times in the day. It will be effective to prevent dehydration, relieve nausea, and soothe the burning in your stomach.
- Fruit Juices: Fruit juice contains natural sugars, which help the body metabolize alcohol faster. Elevating blood sugar levels by eating a snack of fruit before bed can help prevent a hangover. Eating oily foods like cheese or nuts before drinking and starchy foods while drinking also help prevent a hangover. Eating a few dates in the morning or a grapefruit will also elevate blood sugar levels, making you feel better.
- Coconut Water: Most of the time, drinking coconut water that is the natural liquid inside the coconut, is beneficial for hangover.
- Banana: Eat mashed bananas on whole meal bread to help restore lowered potassium levels. A banana milk shake is an especially good way to replace potassium and other nutrients lost during a night of heavy drinking. Combine a half cup milk with a banana and 2 teaspoons honey. Whirl it all in a blender, and drink up. Banana is a good source of potassium, which was lost in your urine. And honey is rich in fructose. Fructose is fruit sugar. Korean scientists have suggested that fructose can speed up the body’s metabolism of alcohol by about 25 %. Not far behind honey are dates, with 30 % fructose. If you don’t want tea in the morning, see if you can force down a couple of dates.
- Tikta: The herbal Ayurveda compound “tikta” is an effective antidote for alcohol toxicity. If you take 1/2 teaspoon of the powder 3 times during the day that you need it, washed down with warm water, it should take care of the hangover. If you cannot locate tikta, you may substitute aloe vera, myrrh, or sudharshan.
- Water / Fluids: As soon as you wake up, drink two 8-ounce glasses of water to undo the dehydration. Hangovers are produced by dehydration (alcohol is a diuretic) and hypoglycemia (alcohol is full of sugar). So drink plenty of fluids before and after drinking to prevent dehydration. Aim for twice as much water or non-alcoholic beverage to each drink you take. Sports drinks, which are high in electrolytes, help replenish what the kidneys have excreted during drinking. Take before bedtime. In the morning, a glass of orange juice or tomato juice can help dispel a hangover more quickly, as can teas of anise, mint, or chamomile.
- Outdoor Walk: Although your instinct might be to stay in bed, you’re better off if you can take a brisk walk or go for a run. That will boost your production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Heavy drinking can lower endorphin levels.
- Breakfast: Some people like taking fried egg sandwich and chocolate milk. This will immediately take away the symptoms of hangover from the night before.
- Herbal Formula: Try Indian herbal formula. Mix together shatavari 5 parts, shanka bhasma 1/8 part, kama dudha 1/8 part and jatamamsi 3 parts. Take 1/2 teaspoon of this mixture 2 or 3 times in a day. Put it on your tongue, and wash down with warm water.
- Slippery Elm / Milk Thistle Seeds: Slippery elm tables are worth keeping in the household medicine chest. A couple of tablets taken before a party can also reduce the likelihood of a hangover as the stomach coating will help reduce alcohol absorption. Although high alcohol consumption is best avoided, taking a couple of slippery elm capsules before imbibing will help lower alcohol absorption. Milk thistle seeds (Carduus marianus) are also known to protect the liver. Take 1 teaspoon of seeds in a cup of water as an infusion or use 10 drops of commercially made tincture before a party if you intend to drink alcoholic beverages.
- Essential Oil: Add 4 drops lemon, 2 drops fennel, 2 drops lavender to a warm bath and agitate the water with your hand. Relax for 10 minutes and inhale deeply.
- Kudzu: Kudzu is a traditional Chinese remedy for alcohol poisoning, usually taken in a “morning after” tea. You can pick up kudzu extract at a health-food store. Follow the dosage directions on the package.
- Olive Oil: Drink a little extra virgin olive oil to cure a hangover.
- Raw Persimmon: Raw persimmon when combined with a little horehound herb, are excellent for relieving the throbbing headaches accompanying an alcoholic hangover. Bring 1 pint of water to a boil. Add 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped, unpeeled, ripe persimmon and 1-1/2 tbsp. fresh or dried, coarsely cut horehound herb. Cover with a lid, remove from the heat and steep 40 minutes. Strain and drink the entire contents while still lukewarm.
- Chicken Soup: Once you overcome the queasiness, fix yourself a nice bowl of hot chicken soup or bouillon. Either one will help replace the salt and potassium the body loses when you’ve been drinking.
- Eat before imbibing. That’s because when the stomach is full, alcohol absorption is slowed.