Hangover Remedies
July 5, 2004 3:39 PM   Subscribe

Any good hang-over remedies?
posted by elwoodwiles to Food & Drink (39 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
1. Time
2. Water.
3. Painkillers.

Large quantities of the first and second, small of the last. The reason is your brain has shrunk, and needs time and water to rehydrate. While your waiting, the painkillers will 'take your mind off it' [see what I did there?]

It ain't funny, cos it's true.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:45 PM on July 5, 2004

As above, plus Vitamin B supplements. And maybe a bit of greasy food to break up the alcohol.

Don't use coffee, cola or energy drinks -- the caffiene just makes it worse.
posted by cheaily at 3:47 PM on July 5, 2004

posted by caddis at 3:49 PM on July 5, 2004

Drink. Water. Lots.

The average human body can process 2 pints of water per hour. Drink & keep drinking that throughout the day. If you've got the wherewithal to sit & sober up a bit & drink some water before you flop for the night you'll thank yourself in the morning.

A solution of 1tsp salt, 8tsp sugar & 1 litre (approx 2 US pints) of water is a good rehydration aid. The sucrose is effective at getting water into the body fast. Gatorade is an alternative.

Avoid dehydrating drinks such as coffee, tea, soda etc, altho' if you're a regular coffee drinker you may have to have one to stave off caffiene withdrawal.

Get your blood sugar up by eating a good healthy meal. Comfort foods might make you feel better psychologically but won't help your body.

Orgasms release nicey drugs in the body which can help.

But get with the water. It's the best.
posted by i_cola at 3:50 PM on July 5, 2004

After the fact, I've never found a sure-fire cure, although "hair of the dog" often works for a more subdued hangover. (_Not_ usually a good idea for a raging hangover.)

Before the fact, though, one tip I learned that basically put an end to major hangovers for me was simple--take 2 or 3 aspirin before you go to sleep, and equally importantly, every time you wake up at night, drink as much water as you can stand.

(There are actually varying views on whether it's a good idea to combine any painkiller with alcohol, so I tend to shy away from that part unless I know I'm likely to have a bad headache the next day--red wine, etc. Generally, aspirin's held to be a safer option than acetominophen or ibuprofen for your liver, but you can find warnings against that as well. You might want to consult with a doctor, or just play it safe, on that front. The water's really the most important part of the concept anyway, I've found.)

Hate to say it, but if you get in the habit of doing it, you can remember to do it even when you're well out of it, and keeping yourself well-hydrated makes a huge difference in the morning. You won't feel great, but you'll feel a lot better than you would otherwise.
posted by LairBob at 3:51 PM on July 5, 2004

Actually, orgasms are best... ;-)

Oh & avoid mixing your drinks (beer with wine with spirits). Have a glass of water as a chaser with each drink.
posted by i_cola at 3:57 PM on July 5, 2004

Response by poster: I once had a drinking buddy who insisted that a tablespoon of honey before drinking kept the edge off his hangovers. Has anyone tried that or some other pre-emptive cure? Also, why is mixing liquor, beer and wine sooooo bad? Does mixing make the body react to the poisons in a different manner? Anyway, thanks all for the advice.

*tries to remain very, very still*
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:01 PM on July 5, 2004

In addition to lots of water the night of and a dose of painkillers before bed, I like to treat my hangover headaches with intense aerobic exercise. It's hell for the first five minutes, but after that the body's natural feel-good chemicals kick in. For me this works better than the usual analgesics. Everyone's body is different though.

Of course, this is useless if your hangover includes delightful nausea.
posted by amery at 4:02 PM on July 5, 2004

Ounce of prevention, pound of cure, etc. What others said about water.

Painkillers while inebriated may cause liver or kidney damage. I advise against it. Water -- in huge quantities -- will suffice. If I remember to, I drink as much water as I can hold before bed -- 1.5 litres or so, usually. When I do this, I invariably feel near normal the next day. And I suffer from debilitating hangovers.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:06 PM on July 5, 2004

After many years of trial and error, I have discovered that the absolute best cure is my father's: a very very cold glass of very dry white wine. Try it. You'll never go back to spending Sunday in bed moaning pathetically while popping Advil.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:08 PM on July 5, 2004

I always thought the whole "beer before liquor, never sicker" rule had to do more with total alcohol consumed rather than fancy chemistry. If you lower your inhibitions you tend to drink more, and if your later drinks are stronger you get more booze.
posted by amery at 4:10 PM on July 5, 2004

Water or Gatorade, for some reason water seems to work best with me. CunnyLinguist recommends more wine, damn if I know how more booze should reduce the hangover :o !

One trick that I never tried, but many told me about (seems like an urban legen) : drink a spoonful of olive oil before drinking, it will reduce the alcool absorption ..wonder if that's chemically possible.
posted by elpapacito at 4:27 PM on July 5, 2004

bag of fritos, pint of orange juice, cup or two of coffee, and then as much water as you can safely stomach thereafter until you feel better. Asprin if you have a headache [and I do the "one or two before bed" thing as well], eat a few crackers or something mild if you're nauseous. Stay in Bed.
posted by jessamyn at 4:28 PM on July 5, 2004

Sauerkraut juice. Or sour beet pickle juice. I'm not kidding. You can buy it in bottles anyplace between Budapest and Istanbul - because it works - and we Balkanoid ex-barbarian horde types drink it quite regualarly and sing its praises.

You can try regular pickle juice as well.

You wanted a secret "our culture drinks too much and needs to cure hangovers" remedy. Now you got one.
posted by zaelic at 4:31 PM on July 5, 2004

Greasy food does hit the spot once you've recovered enough to eat. I'm not clear on how it "breaks up the alcohol," though. Anybody got the science on that?

Gatorade and Emergen-C's are excellent as well as water. Cheerios are an excellent starter food. A small cup of coffee will help clear your head once your stomach is out of danger.

Has anyone mentioned vomiting? It can help clear some toxic goo out of the way in the worst hangovers, shortening them if not lessening their effects. I find I need to chug huge amounts of water before I can puke effectively though. Keeping your head as low as possible, and your hips as high as possible also makes the process smoother.

And sleep!
posted by scarabic at 4:38 PM on July 5, 2004

avoid alcohol.
posted by crunchland at 4:45 PM on July 5, 2004

Yeah, a McD's QuarterPounder with Cheese very often sets me right, once the worst of a hangover is over.

Regarding the whole beer/liquor thing, I think there's two components--the first is definitely what amery said. If you're already pretty lubricated before you start ordering hard drinks, it's easy to go overboard. As a former bartender, I've definitely seen that. (Not many folks over 25 start with shots of tequila or Jager. It's always after a few warm-up beers.)

Equally, though, from what I understand, the fact that your stomach lining (or other portions of your digestive tract) have already been processing alcohol also affects how you metabolize the hard liquor. Just as drinking on an empty stomach is not a great idea, there's a big difference between having a martini as the first drink, maybe after some food, as opposed to having a martini after you've already had several beers. Even if I don't have more than one martini or scotch late in the evening, I find that I pay a much higher price for having even just one, as opposed to sticking to wine/beer.
posted by LairBob at 4:50 PM on July 5, 2004

Sorry for not being too helpful, but I remember reading about some product that helped specifically with avoiding hangovers.

On googling, this turns up.
posted by Gyan at 4:54 PM on July 5, 2004

In addition to the comments above, I just want to testify that preplanning will head off all but the worst hangovers. As someone who can outdrink anyone here, I've found these rules to be very dependable.

1) Try to eat a little fatty food before, during and after heavy drinking. That will slow down the absorption and even it out. Which will help everything else beat the hangover. Don't bother with carbs. You need fat.

2) Hydrate early. Hydrate often. Go to bed with a big-ass glass of water next to the bed. Drink some every time you wake up.

3) If you can, throw up right after you're done partying. The fun is over, so why absorb all that booze in your tummy?

4) Go to GNC and get a box of those vita-paks. Take one a few hours before drinking. And another before bed. You need extra vitamins to prevent and heal the damage you're doing.

5) Try to sleep late. If you can get away with leaving the alarm clock off and putting black blankets over the windows, do so. Drink heavy on Friday and Saturday. Go light on Sunday.

6) Get up and around when you do wake up for good. Get the blood flowing. Have some meat and eggs. Two egg McMuffins are a good bet.

7) Take a long hot shower with lots of soap. Your pores are clogged with ick. You want to wash and sweat it out.

8) The faster you drink, the more your need to eat to slow down absorption. Cheese sticks work well for trying to slow down ten shots in one hour.

Hangovers are for the ill-informed. Proper preparation is the key.
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:55 PM on July 5, 2004

posted by the fire you left me at 5:01 PM on July 5, 2004

Random thoughts:
- total agreement on the orgasm, water, greasy food suggestions.
- more different types of drinks = more different congeners = more pain
- the more flavourful the drink, the worse the hangover. Red wine, gin or whisky bad, white wine or vodka tolerable.
- drink water during drinking session. if every other glass is water, you'll be better hydrated and you won't drink so much alcohol.
- a swim in cold surf cleans up all but the worst hangover no trouble, as does manual labour
- German equivalent of zaelic's suggestion: liquid from pickled herrings. Salt + fish oil good. I suspect breakfast involving salmon would work well
- never tried CunningLinguist's dad's suggestion, if there was drinking at my house the night before then the odds of chilled white wine having survived into the morning are very low.
- hangovers are never that bad IF you don't have something important to do. It's easy to lounge around with a hangover but focussing on an important deal is hard.

So: spend the evening drinking alternate white wine and ice water. Wake up, persuade partner to have sex or just have a quick wank. Wander down to ocean, dip. Hot shower to wash off salt, then eat scrambled eggs with smoked salmon. Read newspaper while you decide whether cure is working.

Sounds like my ideal morning, actually.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:04 PM on July 5, 2004

My proven method:

Step 1: Sleep really, really late. Mid afternoon if you can swing it.
Step 2: Two packets of Emergen-C and a whole lot of water
Step 3: Wobble on down to the nearest convenience store; purchase half rack of cheap beer (Hamms, preferably)
Step 4: Drink heavily

Note: this becomes cyclical after a certain point
posted by cmonkey at 5:20 PM on July 5, 2004

On a second tought, I now agree orgasms are better then water :) at curing hangover and a number of diseases.
posted by elpapacito at 5:29 PM on July 5, 2004

Anyone have anything to report about those hangover cure vitapill things they are now selling at the checkout counter at CVS?
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:40 PM on July 5, 2004

I also second the drinking one more beer in the morning if you're hungover off beer. Just does something weird. For me, if I can, staying up the whole night untill I'm not drunk anymore does wonder. I've never got a hangover when not going to sleep.
posted by jmd82 at 6:20 PM on July 5, 2004

My ex-husband swore that a big dish of ceviche would put him right after a hard night of drinking. I can't attest to that, as usually I make myself consume one 8 ounce glass of water for each drink consumed before going to bed, even if it means sitting there for 10 minutes gulping water down. Always does the trick.
posted by ambrosia at 6:35 PM on July 5, 2004

Pedialyte, if it's really bad.
posted by hootch at 6:51 PM on July 5, 2004

Greatest hangover remedy ever: The anti-migraine prescription drug Imitrex. Your whole hangover headache (and incidental nausea, etc.) gone within moments.
posted by subgenius at 8:17 PM on July 5, 2004

When my cousin was in med school, he told me that the ol' water and an aspirin before you crash was a good idea, with one addition: as above, a little sugar (a teaspoon will do - it helps you absorb the water). I always pop a multivitamin too, and if I've got 'em in the house, an orange or banana.

Of course, I woke up this morning *wishing* that I'd been drinking last night - at least I'd have a reason for feeling so much like hell.
posted by notsnot at 8:19 PM on July 5, 2004

I almost forgot: if you're a med student, or know one, a half litre of saline intravenously does wonders.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:32 PM on July 5, 2004

As a complete, yet relevant, coincidence, the NYT just published an article on various OTC painkillers, and their relative advantages and risks around things like hangovers.

[Obligatory "registration required" warning...although if you're reading AskMeFi and don't know that the NYT online requires registration, I don't know what kind of weird rock you've been hiding under.]
posted by LairBob at 9:06 PM on July 5, 2004

Do whippets instead.
posted by angry modem at 10:06 PM on July 5, 2004

I advocate pickle juice. I now almost crave it as an afetrnoon apertif.

I used to be fond of a nice roast beef sammich, heavy on the hot mustad and horseradish but haven't done that in awhile. I think any sufficiently spicy food that induces sweat might do the trick.

Any remember, sometimes the shortest route to recover is through your throat, just in the other direction. Aim carefully.

But that water stuff does the trick right good.
posted by Dagobert at 11:48 PM on July 5, 2004

As someone who can outdrink anyone here
That sounds like a wager.

From someone who'd take that wager, a few comments and qualms:

-Water. Water. Water. In my experience, drinking water between drinks will lead to much ridicule at your typical party or bar (at least in college), but once you get home a few big glasses of water will pay dividends in the morning. The next day, drink as much water as possible. Not only for rehydration (duh) but to flush out all the nasty crap in your system.

-Speaking of nasty crap, yes, each alcoholic beverage has it's own toxins, some more than others. I disagree with flavorful==bad. Gin in particular has always been good to me. The rule I've heard is dark==bad and sweet==bad. Thus go for drier, whiter wines, clear liquor, and light beer. Avoid schnapps and anything that's blue at all costs.

-Orgasms are indeed great, God has killed many a kitten on my behalf on sunday mornings. Sidenote: the "orgasms release nicey drugs in the body" logic is great for byspassing the classic "I have a headache" excuse. Of course that would backfire if you couldn't serve up an orgasm, but I digress.

-Vitamins are the most underappreciated hangover cure available. I've never had a bad hangover when I've taken a Centrum (or equivalent) before bed, and more of the same the next morning. Unlike pain relievers, you aren't putting your stomach/liver at risk either.

-Regarding that, I have a (relatively healthy, 20 at the time) friend who gave himself an ulcer by taking 2-3 times the recommended dosage of excedrin while drinking. if you insist on taking painkillers, at least follow the instructions.

-If you are going to sleep in late (as several have suggested) you better have a ready supply of water by the bed. If you are dehydrated, lying in bed for hours without water will make your hangover worse, not better.

-Recently I've heard a few people say that some acid that's found in tomatoes is good for you. Allegedly this is why bloody marys are traditionally a morning/lunchtime drink. I haven't experimented enough with this to really confirm or deny, but if you like V8 or tomato juice then I guess it can't hurt.

-As for the hangover curing pills, I tried Chaser once, but it's terribly expensive (~$3 for 4 pills, IIRC) and you have to take 2 pills for every 5-6 drinks you have. I didn't have a hangover the next day, but I don't think I would have had one anyways with only ~10 drinks.

-A few days ago I found an article that says prickly pear cactus juice helps.

-I refuse to induce vomiting, but I know it works for some people, and if I do vomit involuntarily I often feel better afterwards.
posted by rorycberger at 4:22 AM on July 6, 2004

What if you can't keep anything down, including water?
posted by mimi at 6:05 AM on July 6, 2004

Prickly pear extract capsules, taken BEFORE drinking.
posted by aramaic at 7:45 AM on July 6, 2004

What if you can't keep anything down, including water?

hmmm, never really had too much trouble keeping water down. Are you trying to drink too much at once? If so, slow down. Just take baby sips of water after you've puked, then build up to big gulps. If this is a heartburn thing (burning in the back of your throat), then you might try a couple of tums/rolaids/etc. If it's more of a tummy thing, then maybe ginger ale or sprite or something would be good?

Also, I've never used it to directly fight off vomiting, but Pepto is great for general nausea. Can't believe I forgot to mention that in my first post. Second to water I think it's the best stuff to drink the morning after. Particularly good for fighting off hunger pains when you are too hungover to really eat.
posted by rorycberger at 8:30 AM on July 6, 2004

I think I've sworn off any hard liquor any time I'm drinking a lot, that was the only really horrible hangover I've had. I think I'm sticking to beer from now on.

What I did... hmm.... I bought some saltines. I always eat those when I'm sick for any reason and they help. Gets a bit of food in you, plus there's the salt which is component of many of the odder remedies above.

And lots of water at all times.
posted by dagnyscott at 10:05 AM on July 6, 2004

I'll point to my previous advice, although it reiterates what a lot of people have already said.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:02 AM on July 6, 2004

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