10 Most Foolhardy Ways to Treat a Hangover
Peruse the Internet, and you’ll find scores of articles and blog entries featuring the “best” methods for remedying your hangover. Some even include advice from the quotable Snooki, who says “the best cure is to drink margaritas the morning of, and you’re fine.” Double-fisting drinks at 9 a.m., however, isn’t the best way to make up for a regretful night — at least when that night included heavy drinking — and can worsen your morning tenfold. Here’s what you shouldn’t do/drink/eat when you wake up and your head feels like it’s in a vise, your stomach is infuriated, and you feel like death.
- Hair of the Dog Treatment: This is what Snooki suggested, so whether she was joking or not, your instinctive reaction should be to the opposite. Essentially, it’s fighting fire with fire, drinking to feel better. In this case, drinking won’t solve your problems — it’ll only worsen the situation by adding to the toxicity. Hangovers are said to be caused by dehydration and a hormonal and electrolyte imbalance, and should be prevented and alleviated by drinking water, sports drinks or juice. Fun fact: The phrase “Hair of the Dog” is a centuries-old phrase that refers to the treatment of dog bites by applying hair from the guilty dog to the victim’s bloody bite marks.
- Caffeined Drinks: Drinking a cup of coffee, an energy drink or a can of soda may cause you to become more alert, but such beverages are far from a hangover cure. Because caffeine can act as a diuretic, expelling fluids from your body, it can make you more dehydrated and thus feeling even worse. Of course, if you’re a caffeine addict, then you may not have a choice but to take a couple of sips due to the effects of withdrawal, which can make a pounding headache merciless. In that case, be sure to do it while drinking liberal amounts of water.
- Fast Food and other Hangover Food Staples: The problem with typical drunk/hangover food is that it can upset your already ailing stomach, causing additional problems such as heartburn. Instead of overworking your innards, particularly your exhausted liver, prepare a gentler meal that’ll be easy to digest and provide your body with much-needed calories. For example, cereal, toast and honey sandwiches are each better than a super mega triple cheeseburger with bacon and jalapenos.
- Tylenol, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen: You may feel like death, but don’t turn that feeling into a reality by attempting to relieve your pain with a few pills. Doctors advise drinkers to avoid Tylenol because it contains acetaminophen, which can seriously harm your liver when alcohol is in your system. Additionally, anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, can further damage the lining of your stomach and cause bleeding if you’re a heavy drinker. Not doing something about the pain may be the hardest part of properly enduring a hangover, but you’ll survive.
- Hangover Pills: Taking hangover pills won’t cause you any more physical harm; just financial regret. Scientists who study hangovers have declared such pills ineffective and advised more practical methods for treating hangovers. Don’t get duped into spending $20 or $30 for something that, if it works, only causes a placebo effect. The “cure” isn’t authentic, and free and natural solutions can make you feel much better.
- Raw Egg Recipes: Some of these remedies on their own will make you sicker than the morning after a hardcore binge, especially the nasty Prairie Oyster concoction, which consists of a raw egg, salt and pepper and Worcestershire sauce. The egg’s cysteine is supposed to attack the cause of hangovers, the toxin acetaldehyde, in the liver’s glutathione. Presumably, the Worcestershire sauce is added to make it more disgusting. If you plan to only eat eggs instead, cook them first in order to kill any lingering bacteria.
- Pickle Juice: Apparently, the magnesium and potassium in pickle juice ease headaches and fatigue. But is the process by which you’d earn that payoff — you know, actually gulping down the pickle juice with an upset stomach — worth the trouble? Keep in mind that pickle juice is typically made from water, calcium chloride, salt and vinegar (acetic acid), the latter of which isn’t particularly tasty. If it’s the salt you crave, simply eat a few saltine crackers to replenish your body of sodium and chloride ions.
- Tripe Soup: Knowing full well that the next three remedies aren’t exactly common, we thought we’d include them on the list just for fun. Native to Mexico and Romania, tripe soup features an odd blend of ingredients. The mixture of onion, eggs and vinegar is daunting enough, let alone the inclusion of oddly textured, fish-tasting tripe, which is made from the lining of a cows’ stomach. It’s best to experiment with these sorts of foods when you aren’t already sick.
- Deep-Fried Canary: The ancient Romans were believers in the hangover-curing power of the fried canary. Preparation requires just a canary — no problem, right? — a pint of cooking oil, salt and pepper. Never mind the fact that you’re supposed to avoid greasy food when you’re hungover, but is a cute little canary worth sacrificing to hopefully — but not likely — relieve the pain that comes with something that could’ve easily been prevented? Well, perhaps if you share it with your cat.
- Tea and Rabbit Droppings: Tea and Rabbit Droppings: The reckless, uneducated men of the Old West whipped up tea and rabbit droppings to ease the pain after a night of carousing in the saloons. The benefits of ingesting such a concoction are unclear, though, like a few other items on this list, it likely induced vomit, causing their bodies to expel the remaining alcohol in their stomachs.