Dr. Erin Miers is a clinical psychologist, she currently works at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center where she provides clinical services, consultation, supervision, and teaches at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth University. She completed her doctorate in 2015 through California School of Professional Psychology in San Francisco. She has expertise in the areas of trauma, substance use disorder, HIV, and working with the LGBTQIA+ population. Her research interests include the impact of burnout on mental health providers, discrimination and internalized stigma generally but also specifically in people living with HIV.
Can You Get Rid of Hangovers with Herbs?
After drinking too much, you might wake up the next morning with a hangover. There are various symptoms that you might experience – nausea, vomiting or a headache. If you’re looking for a way to get rid of hangover symptoms, there are some herbal remedies that you can consider to help. Sometimes these herbs and/or sleeping away the symptoms of a hangover can help.
It’s important to understand that a hangover is simply another term for alcohol withdrawal. As you drink more alcohol, your blood vessels enlarge, so the hangover that you experience will often be more severe after drinking larger amounts than after drinking a drink or two. Some say that darker drinks result in a hangover that is worse because there are more sugars in these beverages. Regardless of the type of alcohol, drinking too much can lead to dehydration quickly, especially if you are vomiting. When a person has been drinking frequently or for a longer period of time, experiencing the effects of alcohol withdrawal can be more dangerous and sometimes require medical supervision. If you are concerned that you need more than electrolytes, some healthy herbs and rest, reach out to a professional for guidance.
Getting and staying sober is very challenging, but with the right support network and tools, it's completely attainable.
Herbal Remedy for Hangovers
There is an herbal compound that you can use to cure hangover symptoms. It’s called dihydromyricetin, or DHM, and it’s from the Oriental raisin tree. The herbal supplement from these trees has been used by people in Asia for decades as a way to get rid of hangover symptoms. The compound can be found in beverages that you can get online with all of the ingredients being approved by the FDA. Of course, it’s important to be wary of ordering items online as the quantity and quality of ingredients isn’t regulated, especially if they are classified as supplements.
Aloe and Ginger for Hangovers
Another way that you can deal with a hangover is to drink aloe. The juice coats the stomach, balancing the acidity in the body while it helps with nausea and vomiting that you might experience. The best way to drink it is straight, but if you can’t handle the taste, then add a small amount of coconut water or another beverage without a lot of acids.
One of the more beneficial effects of Aloe vera is the enhancement of the immune system. Also, it’s a great detoxifying agent and boosts the vitamin absorption of the body.
Aloe vera juice can help to enhance the breakdown of alcohol converting it in a less toxic element, easier to be eliminated from the body.
It interacts with the acetaldehyde formed by alcohol to reduce its effects on the central nervous system. This results in a reduction of all the common symptoms of a hangover.
Aloe vera brings about fast digestion and better gastro-intestinal mobility. It terminates the dehydration caused in the body due to the consumption of high doses of alcohol.
Either natural or in an industrial presentation Aloe vera is one of the best remedies to get rid of that terrible hangover.
Ginger is another option to consider. You’ve probably consumed ginger ale if you’ve been sick and ginger root lozenges are often recommended for morning sickness in pregnant women. The same drink or lozenges can be used to help alleviate hangover symptoms. The aroma of the herb also helps with a headache and to soothe any stress that you might feel from a hangover. Ginger also helps to reduce pain and inflammation. Since straight ginger is usually too strong, add a small amount of honey in a cup of warm water or tea with ginger for a beverage that can help you feel better soon after drinking alcohol.
Ginger roots stand out for their richness in minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and chromium, substances that are related to promoting the blood circulation in the body relieving the headaches. At the same time, gingerol, the unique component that ginger contains, helps to alleviate nausea and combats vomiting.
The consumption of ginger infusions is perfect to hydrate the body. Ginger is a great ally to reduce the damages caused by the alcohol overloading of the system.
Prepare an infusion with a half piece of fresh ginger root and drink it hot, this beverage is perfect for a body relax, it protects your digestive system and provides the hydration you need.
- To mitigate the hangover thirst, prepare a glass of ginger cold infusion, add ice cubes, a couple of lemon slices, and natural honey to it. This mix will be a wonderful natural serum that helps to balance the minerals in your body.
- Another good recipe for preparing a fresh drink is: Blending natural orange juice with ginger, its high content of vitamins C and antioxidants will boost your energy levels immediately.
- Also, you can prepare delicious smoothies, blending:
- Any citrus fruits, ginger, and almonds.
- Bananas, ginger, soy milk, and honey.
- or Ginger, Spinach, Celery, and coconut.
These Smoothies are a good source of nutrients essential to hydrate and revitalize your whole body.
Peppermint has qualities similar to ginger. It’s often used to help ease the digestive issues that you have and can relax you during the day so that you can rest. Peppermint tea is usually the best option. You can use peppermint with coconut water, drinking it in the morning for the best results. It’s best to drink cold coconut water instead of heating the beverage. Wintergreen has been known to help with pounding headaches that are often associated with a hangover.
A cup of peppermint tea could be that magic drink that makes you feel better quickly. For this, bring water to a boil, add a handful of mint leaves, and let stand for 15 minutes, strain, and pour yourself a cup.
Chew on a mint leaf throughout the day if possible: this will help you relax your intestines, making you feel better.
At home, if you have a bathtub in your bathroom, you can add a few drops of peppermint oil to the hot water along with leaves of the same, and soak for about 20 or 30 minutes. The peppermint helps to reduce stress and hydrate the body.
Turmeric for a Hangover
Turmeric is an herb that you want to have on hand in general, but especially if you do consume alcohol because it’s beneficial for the health of the liver. The herb can also increase the speed of the metabolism of the alcohol, which means that the alcohol doesn’t linger as long in the body. Turmeric also helps with nausea and balances digestion. It’s an anti-inflammatory and often reduces pain.
Chamomile for Hangovers
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is a worldwide 25 inches long well-known plant. For medicinal purposes, all parts of it can be used.
The chamomile use dates back to ancient Egypt, the Greeks and Romans used it frequently for its anti-allergic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and sedative properties.
Chamomile increases the levels of serotonin and melatonin in the body, helping to reduce the anxiety and the stress produced by a hangover.
A chamomile infusion helps to rehydrate the body, it reduces inflammation of the digestive system caused by alcohol abuse, decongests the accumulation of gases in the intestine, and helps to repair the gastric membrane or to regulate the movements of the intestinal musculature.
Chlorella for hangovers
Chlorella is an Asian freshwater plant, it could be the latest superfood fashion. Its reported health benefits include enhancing liver detoxification, making it great for the morning after. It has the power to reduce hangovers by up to 96%.
Chlorella is an excellent choice for combating that dreaded hangover, and for preparing the body for the indulgence ahead. It naturally contains a high level of chlorophyll and a unique component known as Chlorella Growth Factor.
Chlorella Growth Factor can repair the body tissues including liver cells, stimulating immune cell production. Chlorella is especially effective in the removal of pollutants from the body, helping on its detoxification for alcohol abuse.
When is a Hangover Too Many?
The Hangover’s thirst and headaches could last for a few hours, but the physical and psychological damage of abusing alcohol can be permanent.
Many herbs can help to alleviate the body after consuming too much alcohol, but if the practice of drinking is constant, that can cause irreversible damage to vital organs such as the liver and kidneys, it is also important to consider the damage that it can suffer to the mouth, the esophagus and the stomach, such as ulcers and cancer, that in those cases no herb will be able to cure.
Due to alcohol abuse, personal relationships suffer irreparable damage causing the separation from family, friends, wives, husbands, and children. If this sound familiar contact SpringBoard Recovery
If you’re in a pattern of getting and treating hangovers, it’s important to find clarity on whether you are using alcohol to self-medicate or if you are falling into a pattern of alcohol abuse. If you’re questioning this, reach out for a free consultation today. There is no obligation to commit to anything, but we may be able to help you wake up tomorrow without a Hangover
Frequently Asked Questions
What Causes a Hangover?
A lot of people do not realize that hangovers are actually a mild form of alcohol withdrawal. They are often characterized by a pounding headache, which is the result of the relaxing effects alcohol has on the blood vessels. That is why people feel warm and relaxed when they drink. As more alcohol is consumed, the vessels in the head grow in size and may start to throb.
Alcohol is also very dehydrating, and it typically makes people visit the bathroom more often than they normally do. After a night of heavy drinking, it is not uncommon for people to feel extremely thirsty the next morning.
Alcohol is very irritating to the stomach, which can cause people to feel extremely nauseous too. It can make people feel tired and sluggish because of acid build-up in the blood.
All of these are signs and symptoms of a hangover. Alcohol affects so many parts of the body, and being hungover is much more than just a painful headache.
Are There Any Factors That Can Affect Hangovers?
There has not been very much research done into effectively treating hangovers. Those studies that are available are typically low-quality with inconclusive results. But there are some factors that can have an impact on hangovers, which are all very personal.
Hangovers are affected by:
- How often a person drinks alcohol. People who drink more frequently may form a tolerance to it and not experience hangovers as often.
- A person’s sex and age. Men tend to process alcohol faster than women, and older individuals may process it slower than those who are younger. When alcohol is metabolized faster, hangovers may be less severe or occur less often.
- A person’s body type may have an impact on the effects of a hangover.
- The type and amount of alcohol a person drinks can impact them as well.
- Various other biological factors can have an effect on the severity or presence of hangovers.
Most of what we know about hangovers come from people’s personal experiences. But that information is purely anecdotal and it varies from person to person.
Do Sports Drinks Help People Avoid Hangovers?
Sports drinks like Gatorade or other drinks that have electrolytes are often thought of as “cures” for hangovers. People drink them in hopes of restoring the correct balance of electrolytes, but there is no scientific research that shows that they work; at least not for hangovers.
Are There Any Proven Hangover Cures?
It is understandable why scientists would be so hesitant to say that they have found a cure for hangovers. There may be some things that can help, but to say that they are a cure is not accurate at all. Some people might find that they do not work for them, whereas others may have a completely different opinion.
Alka-Seltzer has been used as a hangover “cure” for decades. It contains baking soda, which can help to settle down that nauseous feeling that can come with a hangover. But even though it may neutralize stomach acid, it also contains other ingredients that can be irritating, such as citric acid and aspirin.
Water may be a much better choice than a sports drink or coffee, which can narrow the blood vessels and increase a person’s blood pressure. But because alcohol is dehydrating, replacing those lost fluids can help a person feel better faster when they are hungover.
Probably the best thing a person can do when they are hungover is to get a decent amount of sleep. This can be tricky because even though alcohol can help you fall asleep relatively quickly, it can also cause you to wake up out of a sound sleep and make it hard to go back to sleep. It may be possible to prevent a hangover by alternating alcoholic beverages with glasses of water. At the very least it may make it less severe.
Does the “Hair of the Dog” Really Work as a Way to Get Rid of a Hangover?
This might sound strange, but in medieval Europe, when a person had rabies, one therapy involved placing pieces of hair from the dog onto the bite. This, of course, did nothing for the victim or the wound, but it is where the notion of “the hair of the dog that bit you” came from.
Today, people commonly advise drinking alcohol in the morning if they wake up with a hangover. But Dr. Laura Veach of the Department of Surgery Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has a different opinion. She says, “There’s no scientific evidence that having an alcoholic drink will cure a hangover. It will, at best, postpone one.”
So, if the hair of the dog doesn’t work, what does? Dr. Veach says, “The only real cure is time.”
- Delaware Health and Social Services: https://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/files/acetaldehydefaq.pdf
- Everyday Health: https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/diet/ginger-nutrition-facts-health-benefits-alternative-uses-more/#:~:text=Vitamins%20and%20minerals%20present%20in,Potassium
- NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/
- Nutriphys: https://nutriphys.com/en/what-is-chlorella-growth-factor-cgf/
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/hangovers
- Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324178#drinking-coffee-or-tea
- Health: https://www.health.com/condition/headaches-and-migraines/10-common-hangover-cures-and-what-doctors-think-of-them
- Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/12/19/drinking-with-no-consequences-this-was-year-hangover-hack/
- Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170214163637.htm#:~:text=But%20it%20did%20give%20rise,%22%20said%20Laura%20Veach%2C%20Ph.