Drinking too much during the holidays, or at any time, is never a good idea. Beyond the physical toll alcohol can have on the body, there’s always the chance of doing or saying something you’ll regret later.
Even if you’re careful not to overindulge though, you’ll probably experience some ill effects the morning after. And if you aren’t used to the effects of alcohol, it can be easy to overestimate your limit.
As with hiccups, nearly everyone has his or her favorite hangover cure. Throughout history, whole cultures have come up with some strange and creative hangover remedies. Here are just a few from around the world:
Ancient Greece: Sheep lungs and owl eggs.
Ancient Rome: Two fried canaries.
Medieval England: A paste of bitter almonds and fried eels.
Germany: Sour herring.
Haiti: Stick 13 pins into the cork of the bottle you drank from.
Ireland: Bury the hangover sufferer up to his neck in a sandy riverbank.
Japan: Pickled plums.
Mongolia: Pickled sheep eyes in tomato juice.
Poland: Pickled beet juice.
Puerto Rico: Lemon slices, rubbed under the armpits, before drinking.
Romania: Tripe (cow intestines).
United States (Old West): Rabbit poop.
If you do go overboard and wake up with a hangover, there are a few less drastic home remedies you can try until your body rights itself again. Try these:
1. Drink plenty of liquids. Alcohol dehydrates you, which is what causes that queasy stomach and pounding head. Pure water is always good, but fruit or vegetable juice, which will replace diminished vitamins and minerals, is even better. Sports drinks, which contain electrolytes, are also a good choice.
2. If you’re going to try a “hair of the dog,” skip the shot of whiskey and have a Bloody Mary instead. While the alcohol distracts you, the tomato juice and other ingredients will nourish your body.
3. Avoid caffeine. You may feel like a cup of strong coffee is just the thing to get you moving, but caffeine will only make things worse. Like alcohol, it dehydrates you (that headache you feel is a dehydrated brain), and will set back any progress your body may have made overnight. Instead…
4. Get plenty of rest. Your body needs all the reserves of energy it can get to recover.
5. Finally, even though your first inclination may be to reach for the aspirin, resist the temptation. Pain killers, such as aspirin, Tylenol, and Ibuprofen, all have side effects that are worsened by alcohol consumption. Aspirin and Ibuprofen are both blood thinners, as is alcohol, and Tylenol can damage your liver. Your headache is caused by dehydration, and following step #1 should help reduce the pain. Rubbing a few drops of peppermint essential oil into your temples and across your forehead may also help, as it has been shown to have pain relieving properties.
While none of these are magical instant cures, if you follow all of these steps together, you should start feeling better sooner, rather than later.