Unsplash / Maria Teneva
Remember the old “hair of the dog that bit you?” That was a quaint way of saying take a shot of alcohol the day after heavy drinking to cure your hangover. It didn’t exactly work, nor do several other remedies from folklore and fraternity brothers. The Irish technique of burying yourself up to your neck in sand? Nope. Ditto the Romanian tripe (yes, cow’s stomach) soup and the Haitian voodoo doll made from an alcohol bottle. They do not work.
What does? If you will insist on drinking to excess, how about giving science a chance to help you with hangovers? While it may seem beneath a researcher’s attention, there really are numerous cures that rely on the old hypothesis-study-findings formula. So not only do they work, we know why they work (and it isn’t because your Uncle Sully has this cool secret formula involving Worchestshire sauce and raw eggs.) Here are a few of the top science-based hangover cures. They may even work if you over-imbibed on tequila and ate the worm:
Blowfish fends off hangovers with science
A science-backed hangover solution known as Blowfish comes with a money-back guarantee. But the manufacturers probably don’t pay out a lot of refunds, because the product systematically destroys hangover symptoms using science. Even the FDA approves (literally.) Its first superpower is alleviating the most annoying “morning after” symptom, aka that gruesome headache. While it might feel like 1,000 tiny hammers, too much alcohol actually creates headaches because you have to metabolize it. The process sets off inflammation that’s most notable right behind your temples. And if you’re a fan of red vintages or brown spirits like bourbon, know that they’re extra-inflammatory. Blowfish addresses the headache right off, with the old-school ingredient of aspirin in maximum-strength proportions. And similar to Alka Seltzer back in the day, it’s fizzy (after you add the tablets to a glass of water if you’re not too hungover to do that.) The extra effervescence speeds the anti-inflammatory powers into your system.
Blowfish also has potent amounts of caffeine to combat alcohol’s nasty habit of slowing your neurotransmitters. No, you’re not just imagining that you’re a slow-thinking behemoth after a night of too much partying. But you are an idiot if you keep relying on any hangover cure instead of reining in the excessive drinking that can lead to chronic diseases, high blood pressure, breast cancer, that sort of thing. And that warning is also science-based, coming from the CDC. (We all know the CDC doesn’t play.)
Rehydrating brings you back to life
Lots of fluids and rest is one of the old-school remedies for a hangover that is completely effective. Alcohol is a diuretic (you knew this) that causes you to urinate more frequently and get dehydrated. That can cause headaches, as your brain shrinks with the lost fluid and pulls away from your skull in a painful fashion. In addition, drinking alcohol suppresses Vasopressin, a hormone your body needs to keep the kidneys operating smoothly. So a night of vodka-Red Bull shots can deprive you of the H2O that protects you from headaches. It will also cause a build-up of the chemicals your body produces as it metabolizes alcohol. In hangover mode, your body can’t operate normally because it doesn’t have the water or vitamins it needs. Drinking extra water will help restore you to the land of the living. So will taking a B-Complex tablet to replace some of those nutrients that faded away while your kidneys were on time out. Just try to avoid coffee, because it’s also a diuretic. More than a cup will put you right back in dehydration hell and may give you an upset stomach, to boot.
Could CBD cure your next hangover?
If you haven’t noticed CBD providers popping up in your community, you may want to start looking for one. CBD is the compound derived from industrial hemp (not recreational marijuana, no) that dispenses with the mind-altering THC but still has a relaxing effect. Turns out this increasingly popular remedy for endurance athletes and anxiety sufferers could have applications for hangover relief. Proponents note that CBD helps overcome insults to the “endocannabinoid system” that cause you to hurl or get a monstrous headache the day after drinking too much alcohol. Adding CBD helps your system get back to normal, especially if you’ve already taken steps to rehydrate.
As for the science behind this potential hangover remedy, The Journal of Experimental Health has already published research that concludes, “Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors.” While the study is almost eight years old now, it was one of the first to reliably indicate CBD could reduce the chronic inflammation that causes pain. And while it was basing its findings on mice and rats, there is no doubt the symptoms addressed in the study are identical to those experienced by partiers. Just in case the CBD on its own isn’t enough, one popular CBD manufacturer, Sunday Scaries, added some vitamin B-12 and D-3 to its cute little chewable. And to keep the hipster-ketogenic crowd happy, the gummies are all-natural and gluten- and dairy-free.
One thing, though. If you’re wondering why CBD is good for hangovers because it reduces pain but more alcohol isn’t, here’s your answer. While CBD addresses the root causes of your body’s reaction to alcohol, liquor only postpones the pain and suffering that comes with metabolizing excessive amounts of alcohol. So drink a Bloody Mary or bottomless mimosa on Sunday Funday if you want, but know that the hangover will have its way with you eventually.