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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Dr Eki Wari on October 19, 2022

Best Remedies For Hangover Symptoms To Get You Through The Holiday Season

Fight hangover symptoms with these remedies to help get you through the holidays when social obligations pressure you to drink more. These tips are also useful to keep handy year-round.

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If there’s one thing you need to put on your Christmas wish list this year, it’s a good remedy for your hangover symptoms.

With the holiday season comes lots of parties, drinking, and social gatherings. Many people feel pressured to drink more, which leads to hangovers and feeling bad in general.

Read on to learn how to prevent and remedy hangover symptoms so you can enjoy this holiday season more than ever before!

Why Do Hangovers Occur?

Hangover symptoms may include headache, nausea, dehydration, and fatigue.

Hangovers are a series of side effects that a person gets from alcohol consumption. The actual cause of hangovers is still up for debate. Even scientists are still unsure why alcohol hangovers exist in the first place.

There are some theories, but so far, the most compelling one involves ethanol and/or a chemical called acetaldehyde. It is said that when a person drinks, the ethanol (a type of alcohol in the alcohol you drink) travels to the liver, where it’s metabolized by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH).

The process creates a toxic by-product, which is acetaldehyde. Either ethanol or acetaldehyde is believed to be responsible for triggering hangover symptoms. Studies suggest that the quicker ethanol gets conversed into acetaldehyde, the less severe the hangover is. 

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) point of view, excessive intake of alcohol results in an accumulation of Dampness and Heat in the body. This disrupts the flow of ‘qi‘ (vital energy) and blood circulation, as well as the functions of different organs in the body, causing hangover symptoms.

Hangover Symptoms To Be Aware Of

Typically, people with hangovers will experience: 

  1. Drowsiness and dizziness
  2. Concentration problems
  3. Dry mouth and excessive thirst
  4. Gastrointestinal problems (nausea, vomiting)
  5. Sweating
  6. Rapid heartbeat
  7. Anxiety
  8. Hyperexcitability
  9. Sensitivity to light, sound, and motion
  10. Muscle aches and headaches
  11. Fatigue
  12. Memory loss

The intensity of the symptoms that appear depends on the drinker. For example, women tend to experience hangovers more than men because they generally weigh less.

Some alcoholic beverages are known to cause worse symptoms because they contain more congeners, chemicals that may worsen the toxic effects of ethanol. Although, scientists have yet to connect a specific one with causing a hangover.

In general, alcoholic drinks that are darker in color have higher congener levels than alcoholic drinks that are lighter. For instance, bourbon, whiskey, red wine, brandy, and tequila may give you a more severe impact than gin and vodka.

Remedies For Your Hangover Symptoms

Knowing your alcohol limits before attending social gatherings can help you stay on track and prevent hangovers.

The best hangover cure is prevention. This can be hard to do during the holidays when everyone around you is drinking.

Here are some ways to prevent getting a hangover: 

  1. Eat before drinking. Don’t drink on an empty stomach. This should be easy to do as there are plenty of food options available during holiday parties.
  2. Take your time. Drink water between drinks to help the body flush toxins and stay hydrated. For every drink of alcohol you have, follow it with a glass of water.
  3. Don’t overdo it and know your limits before arriving at the party. Tell the host or your loved ones that you’re trying to limit your intake so they don’t pressure you to drink more.
  4. Drink a glass of water before sleeping. Keep it close to your bed so you can take a sip whenever you feel like it throughout the night.

If you still wake up with hangover symptoms, the only proven cure is ibuprofen or aspirin to reduce headaches, muscle pain, etc. The use of paracetamol is not advised.

1. Mung bean (green bean) and licorice root (gancao)

These two herbs are known to get rid of Heat and toxins. Furthermore, mung bean promotes urination. They can be cooked together or consumed individually. Licorice root, for instance, is available as tea

2. Vinegar drinks

Vinegar drinks may help a person get sober quicker and neutralize the alcohol in the body. Try adding a teaspoon of organic, raw apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink. You can also add lemon and a touch of raw honey for sweetness.

3. Fruits and vegetables

Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet, such as dark plums, can help you stay hydrated and flush toxins to reduce hangover symptoms.

TCM thinks some fruits and vegetables can help remove the toxin from the alcohol. They are: 

  • Dried orange skin 
  • Fresh olive 
  • Dark plum 
  • Hot green tea 
  • Watermelon 
  • Pear 
  • Celery
  • Sugarcane 

Boost Liver Health To Reduce Hangover Symptoms

In addition to the above-mentioned remedies, you can take Liva Max Antrodia Cinnamomea capsules to support liver health and restore energy and vitality after excessive drinking. The herbal formula can also boost immunity to prevent infections and flu-like symptoms that often accompany heavy alcohol intake.

Just like there’s still no exact science behind alcohol hangovers, there’s no definite remedy to treat the symptoms. Every hangover cure should work differently for each person, and you might need several tries before you find the right one for you. Better yet, you can prevent hangovers by knowing your limit and not drinking alcohol more than you can handle.

This is an adaptation of an article, “Chase Away Hangover Blues With TCM” that first appeared on the Eu Yan Sang website.

References

  1. Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2009. Hangover Headache 
  2. Smithsonian Magazine. 2013. Your Complete Guide to the Science of Hangovers 
  3. National Health Service. 2018. Hangover Cures
  4. Scientific American. 2014. In Search of a Cure for the Dreaded Hangover 
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2020. The Role of Alcohol Metabolism in the Pathology of Alcohol Hangover 

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