“Is There a Hangover Cure ?”
“Hair of the dog” won’t help a hangover, but certain plant extracts will, researchers have found. Researchers in Germany (Prost!) have reported in BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health that a plant-based concoction of fruits, leaves, and roots may help to relieve symptoms of veisalgia (the medical term for a hangover). They were given a supplement dissolved in sugar water. The mixture included specific plant extracts, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds commonly believed to ease the physical and psychological symptoms associated with drinking alcohol. The plant extracts included Barbados cherry (also known as acerola), prickly pear, Ginkgo biloba, white willow, and ginger root. The vitamins and minerals included magnesium, potassium, sodium bicarbonate, zinc, riboflavin, thiamin, and folic acid. The antioxidant compounds were steviol glycosides and inulin. The researchers gathered 214 healthy adults in a well-lit room and let them drink as much beer, wine, wine spritzer, or “radler” (a mix of beer and fizzy lemonade, popular in Germany) as they wanted over the course of 4 hours. Also, before the 4-hour “alcohol intake phase,” the researchers distributed 3 different premixed solutions to 3 groups of randomized participants. The first group received a mixture containing the plant extracts, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds. The second group was given a similar mixture of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants but without plant extracts. The third group got only sugar water (placebo). Participants reported wide variations in the intensity of their symptoms.