The Perfect Hangover Cure is the sort of thing that people argue over with zeal usually reserved for politics and religion. Probably because a bad hangover feels just as much like a matter of life and death.
But it's not only people that can't agree on what works and what doesn't—entire cultures have different approaches that might make your hungover self reach for a trashcan (boiled tripe soup in Romania, for example, or pickled herring in Germany)!
Read on for our five favorite hangover cures, and let us know about yours in the comments.
Hair of the Dog
Science has shown that your hangover peaks roughly 12 hours after you start drinking (around the time your BAC returns to zero). This might explain why cultures all over the world include a little hair of the dog that bit you in their hangover cures. Our favorite? The Bloody Mary, of course.
It’s a well-known truism that pregnancy causes intense, left-field food cravings, and pickles are king among them. But think about it for a moment—the symptoms of early pregnancy (nausea, bloating and the feeling like your equilibrium is a bit off) sound an awful lot like a hangover.
So it makes sense that pickle juice might help a hangover, and there’s a reason it works: pickle juice contains a lot of wonderful salty electrolytes that help your body recover after a night of heavy drinking. Bonus: Order a Pickle Back and you can get a head start.
Greasy, Wonderful Diner Breakfast
Late night. Early morning. It doesn’t matter. The moment when your heaping order of sizzling sausages, buttery waffles, glistening fried eggs, crispy potatoes and large mug of coffee sludge arrives, you lean your head back against the naugahyde booth, and feel your will to live return.
Sure, “science” might have some issues with the effectiveness of combating six Long Islands with as many pounds of garbage food, but you know what? Science will also tell you—after a couple drinks—about the importance of the Placebo Effect. If you think you’re feeling better, that’s half the battle. Now go get a refill on that orange juice.
A South Korean research team recently released a study citing, in short, that hangovers are caused by an inflammatory response in the body’s nervous system. South Korea also consumes the most hard liquor per capita in the world, so we understand the national interest in the topic of hangovers.
Many people swear by a pre-bed aspirin and glass of water as a pre-emptive hangover cure, but be careful: mixing this with alcohol can cause damage to your stomach lining and put even more stress on your liver.
The one thing every scientist can agree on is that the only 100 percent effective way to avoid a hangover is to avoid drinking in the first place.
Good luck with that plan.