What hangover cures pop into your throbbing noggin after a night on the
Some say burnt toast and a Mexican sausage called chorizo do the trick. But
just in case the quick fixes you tried last time didn't fix anything, and you
still plan to do more celebrating in the future, we've assembled some home
remedies that helped some of us get through college.
When heart specialist John M. Kennedy, M.D., of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, stands at the scrub sink before an operation, he breathes deeply with seven-count exhales, visualizing how he wants the procedure to go. "Athletes use these techniques to perform under pressure, but we can all call on them in our regular lives," Dr. Kennedy says. It starts with knowing what kind of breathing works best for the challenge you're facing. Here's what the latest research shows.
But first, here is the official word on what that booze does to
your system. Getting rid of the hangover really comes down to understanding how
the body reacts to alcohol in the first place. Alcohol is a diuretic -- that
is, it tends to increase urination, and therefore, dries you out, explains
alcohol metabolism researcher James Schaefer, PhD, professor at the Union
College in Schenectady, N.Y. Drinking plenty of water the morning after helps
to compensate for the dehydration.
But that's not all that's going on. Impurities are added to
alcoholic beverages during the distillation process, and these contribute to
the nasty stomachache you get with your hangover. These impurities are
especially high in sweeter drinks and malt liquors. Drinking lots of water,
then, does two things: it rehydrates your body and dilutes the impurities left
in your belly.
A Date for Carbon
When Brian Wakabayashi was at the University of California,
Irvine (UCI), he always made burnt toast a part of his morning-after
Schaefer has this explanation for why that helps: Carbon in the
charred part of the toast filters the impurities. In fact, people who come into
hospital emergency rooms with alcohol poisoning get a potent carbon slurry
pumped into their stomachs for the same reason. The burnt toast is a much more
moderate version of the same remedy.
A new hangover helper called "Chaser: Freedom From
Hangovers" also contains vegetable carbon and there are claims it can help
prevent a hangover by absorbing the elements in beer, wine, and spirits that
But emergency room physician Ronald Charles, MD, says there
isn't any science to back up the claims that you can target the
hangover-causing elements in alcohol and block their absorption.
"I haven't seen any research that says 'these are the
things in alcohol that cause headaches,'" says Charles, who is medical
director of the Lyndon B. Johnson emergency department at the University of
Texas Medical School in Houston.
Charles says alcohol is also rapidly absorbed into the
bloodstream and only stays in the stomach for a short time, which means it's
unlikely much of it would be absorbed by an anti-hangover product.
How about that chorizo? It's not a morning-after remedy -- more
like a late-afternoon-before preventive tactic. Cole Ramsey, also a former UCI
student, swears by its hangover-preventing powers and doesn't leave home
without some -- in his stomach, that is.