‘Hungover’ author on the one thing you can do to actually cure a hangover
Hangovers are as old as time, and so are the remedies.
“There’s the ancient Anglo-Saxon remedy of putting hemlock in your socks and walking around all day. There’s an old Puerto Rican cure involving putting a wedge of a lime in your armpit and squeezing it,” said Shaughnessy Bishop Stall, author of the new book “Hungover: The Morning After and One Man’s Quest For a Cure.”
Stall spent the last decade getting drunk and testing hangover cures, from ancient to modern, to determine if any of them actually work. To understand some of the remedies, you first have to understand what a hangover actually is physiologically.
To summarize, Stall says your body’s immune system overreacts to fight against what it considers dangerous toxicity. One of the biggest symptoms is intense inflammation of your cells and internal organs, making it nearly impossible to retain liquids and nutrients.
Stall says if you’ve ever eaten a big greasy spoon diner breakfast the morning after a night out, you’re on the right track to recovery.
“If you look at what we’ve been eating for breakfast for thousands of years, throughout western history, it’s always had to do with eggs. It turns out that chicken eggs have an amino acid in them which is as about as close as I’ve come to a magical ingredient when it comes to curing hangovers.”
He recommends pairing those eggs with burnt toast.
“You can also look at Victorian chimney sweeps who around Christmastime used to make extra money by selling little pouches of soot that you were supposed to dissolve in warm milk and drink down before getting drunk. If you look at charcoal tablets, which are given to people who overdose in emergency rooms, they have a filtering aspect to them to filter out the toxins in the body.”
And to wash it all down:
“Some electrolytes in order to get your internal organs to start absorbing water again. [That breakfast] definitely helps a lot and will probably cut the time and the degree of suffering sometimes by half. But I would call that treating a hangover rather than curing it,” he advises.
To actually cure a hangover, you must turn to more drastic measures. Stall discovered an actual cure while on a hangover research trip in Las Vegas.
One of the things I did was jump off the Stratosphere which is one of the tallest freestanding buildings in the world. It kind of blew the hangover right out of me. That’s when I started doing more experiments around adrenaline. It seems to entirely reboot my system. Much in the same way it did when I found these glacial lakes to jump into. It’s basically subzero water that should be frozen and so it drives your body into an extreme state of adrenaline, similar to jumping off a tall building. It’s hard to replicate those massive doses of adrenaline without a spike to your veins. But there seems to be a point in which a sort of rebooting affect would happen.
If you don’t have access to that much adrenaline, or can’t be dragged out of bed to jump into a glacial lake, Stall came up with a combination of compounds that are the next best thing. His potion is a mix of amino acid supplements, three very particular Vitamin Bs, some magnesiums, and frankincense, a natural anti-inflammatory that doesn’t tax the liver like Tylenol.
The key is timing: The concoction must be taken between drinking and sleep.