Hangover? What hangover?

‘Tis the season to feel queasy. Well, it soon will be, what with all the parties and get-togethers you are no doubt organising for December.

The dreaded hangover is, unfortunately, an inevitable part of all of this socialising – you know you’re guaranteed to be caught out at least once.

So, how can you avoid it, apart from the unrealistic concept of partying the night away while nursing copious glasses of something soft?

There is a way! Several in fact, and if you start right now, your liver will be fighting fit before you even take that first forbidden sip.

We all have our quirky hangover cures – I’ve heard enough to last me a lifetime, so before we get on to the serious stuff, I’ll just quickly tell you mine from being a student in Brighton, which, at the time, I didn’t think had any scientific basis to it whatsoever.

I’d come in from a night out, grab two pieces of wholemeal bread and toast them, and then make a sandwich with sliced banana, marmite and peanut butter, and then I’d sprinkle a load of malt vinegar over the top. (I was a bit of a vinegar freak back then). Yum!

But it turns out there is some sense to this, as bananas help to replace the electrolytes and potassium in your body, both of which are depleted by alcohol. Marmite will help to restore the B vitamins, which also fall prey to alcohol, and peanut butter, apparently, is good because of the high fat content, although I’m not sure why. And after all the calories you’ve just consumed in liquid form, there’s little point in getting precious about a few more that will actually ease your suffering.

But safe to say, you can probably ease up on the vinegar if that seems a step too far, although nowadays, I’d go for cyder vinegar, as this is a known effective body cleanser and acid neutraliser (it turns alkaline once it’s digested, honest).

But the real hangover heroes you should have in your medicine cabinet are milk thistle and a homeopathic remedy called nux vomica (commonly abbreviated to nux vom).

I’d recommend taking milk thistle from now, every day and right the way through party season. Think of it as your liver’s new best friend, alongside the hot water and lemon you are of course enjoying every morning already (hmmm). The active ingredient in milk thistle is silymarin and it protects the liver against damage effectively. You’ll find it in most supermarkets nowadays, but also in independent health shops and pharmacies. I take a brand called Thisilyn Maximum Strength Milk Thistle. As always, check the contra-indications on the box.

Nux vom is perhaps slightly more difficult to find, although independent health shops and pharmacies will often stock it. Being a homeopathic remedy, the lower the dose, the more effective it is (weird, I know, but that is how homeopathy works. And it does work).

The strength I use is 30, and if I know I’m going to be out for a heavy session, I will pop two of the tiny tablets under my tongue before I even leave the house, and leave to dissolve (better to do this than crunching and swallowing – have patience). Then, if I wake up feeling delicate, I will do the same again. Usually, I don’t need to, and certainly never more than another dose after that. I remember taking nux vom before a hen night, which involved 12 hours of alcoholic debauchery. In the morning, I was the only one with a clear head.

So, eat, drink be merry, and carouse with confidence!



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by George

I’m George Dryden - a slightly-off-the-wall-but-in-a-good-way journalist, blogger and almost-raw vegan. In April 2014, I graduated as a Certified Health Educator from the Hippocrates Health Institute, in Florida, USA (more about George)

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