December 20th, 2008
This has got to be the most bizarre National Geographic article I’ve ever read- and just to make it clear: In my early teens I collected National Geographics, and at the height of that phase had 200-odd NGs dating from the late 19th century up to the present day- how to cure a hangover in different places around the world. Only two of these hangover cures make any sense to me, and I base that on experience, common sense, and a very basic knowledge of the science (i.e. 90% of a hangover is dehydration). So what makes sense?
- The Chinese cure- strong green tea. No shit, Sherlock. Considering just how much of a hangover is dehydration, rehydration (coffee won’t work, it’s too strong a diuretic, so ignore the Italians) is the obvious first step in recovery. And the antioxidants and gentle nature of green tea (another reason to ignore the Italians) give that rehydration a good boost.
- The Dutch cure- beer. A large part of a hangover, aside dehydration, is withdrawal. And besides, alcohol relieves pain. Calming the withdrawal and soothing the pain with more alcohol is guaranteed to fix the hangover- at the obvious expense of your liver and impending alcoholism.
So take the Chinese approach- rehydrate with green tea or water steeped with lemon or vinegar. Rehydration is the key, the tea, lemon or vinegar contribute their own unique properties. In the absence of tea or clean water, try fruit juice. Failing that, coke or sprite or something similar. Fruit juice is healthier, but any sugary water is going to help by first rehydrating you, and then secondly, sugar works wonders for an upset stomach.
Step 2 in a hangover cure, once you’re rehydrated, is food. Preferably bland, greasy and perhaps a little salty, food. Sounds almost contradictory, especially with the salty bit, but that’s what you need to finally settle the stomach and get the necessary energy and electrolytes back in the system.
Note: I am not a doctor and have no expertise in physiology. This is not expert advice. This is simple what I have learned from my own experience. If it works for you, sweet. If not, find your own hangover cure.