If you’ve ever had a few too many drinks, then you’re probably well acquainted with the tell-tale signs of a hangover: A throbbing forehead and temples exacerbated by the basic act of moving and breathing. A lump in your throat resulting from a queasy tummy that’s still barely hanging on to last night’s alcohol. The potential for vomiting and diarrhea. And the dreaded puffy face and bloated belly that, even though you mask your other symptoms, are dead giveaways for partying a little too hard the night before.
This cocktail of maladies is not only dreadful to wake up to, but the side effects don’t translate well in the professional and personal worlds of most people. While it’s never a good idea to binge drink, something we definitely don’t promote, it is possible to drink more than you intended while getting carried away at a holiday party. After all, we’re only human!
Since the holiday season is in full swing, and with that comes a trove of social activities involving alcohol, you may find yourself waking up with a hangover or just general malaise due to the detoxification process that takes place after an evening of drinking.
Euan MacLennan, Herbal and Sustainability Director at Pukka, is a Medical Herbalist sharing his tips on how to beat the morning yuckies after consuming too much alcohol with a list of recommended herbal hangover remedies and recommendations.
“If you drink too much alcohol, you are likely to get a hangover – not much can change that fact,” reasons MacLennan, “However, you can help yourself by making sure you have eaten a nutritious, balanced meal beforehand and making sure that you are well hydrated.”
“The job of metabolizing and thereby eliminating alcohol from the body is the job of the liver,” he explains, “For this reason, traditional medicine would suggest the use of hepatoprotective (liver protective) herbs such as milk thistle, turmeric and chlorella and, indeed, some people report this helps them.”
But what about OTCs (over the counter medicines)? When you wake up the next morning, your first inclination may be to pop some ibuprofen and try and move on with your day. However, MacLennan is a believer in integrative medicine, which, according to Duke Integrative Medicine, “addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health.”
Therefore, the best hangover remedies may actually be in the form of herbs, depending on the individual. “It’s a matter of patient choice and, if someone feels better taking turmeric than ibuprofen, why should that not be the better medicine for them?” MacLennan challenges.
Until organic preventative measures become available, you can rest easier after a night of drinking with these herbal hangover remedies from Pukka and MacLennan for next-day relief – they're just what the naturopath ordered.
Ginger is warming and protective and is considered by some to be one of the best herbal hangover remedies out there. It stimulates blood flow and is renowned for reducing nausea and settling an upset stomach. It’s warmth and spice also stimulates the metabolism which enhances detoxification. Try Pukka’s Three Ginger, Lemon, Ginger, and Manuka Honey, or Revitalize teas.
Turmeric is a super spice famed for its anti-inflammatory and pain relief benefits. It also has a direct effect on liver cells encouraging their regeneration and repair. Try Pukka’s Turmeric Active or Turmeric Glow teas.
Rosemary is a natural stimulant and is great for relieving feelings of tiredness. For a hangover-related stomach upset, rosemary could be used in the bath or inhaled in oil form. Try Sebastian Pole, Pukka Herb’s co-founder, and Master Herbsmith’s hangover recipe containing rosemary Forgive Me for I Have Sinned.
Fennel is great for easing nausea and indigestion and can help to reduce other effects of alcohol on the body. A lukewarm cup of fennel tea will help to relieve digestive ailments. Try Pukka’s Three Fennel, After Dinner, or Detox teas.
Chamomile is ideal for calming and relaxing the mind and body, which is great if you suffer from “the fear” of the morning after. As a hangover cure, chamomile can also get to work on indigestion or a headache. Try Pukka’s Chamomile, Vanilla, and Manuka Honey or Relax teas.
Parsley is known to help clear harmful acid from the body due to its high mineral and chlorophyll content. As a diuretic, parsley can help move toxins through your urinary tract. Try Inspired Taste’s Naturally Sweet Green Detox Juice recipe.
8. Vitamin C
Vitamin C provides the immune system with an extra boost and it’s thought to help stimulate the liver to aid in breaking down the alcohol. Go natural though! Natural Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits or in food supplements. Watch out for ascorbic acid and synthetic vitamin C. Try Mountain Mama Cooks’ vegan Vitamin C Immune Booster Smoothie.
Chlorella is a superfood that’s especially effective in the removal of pollutants from the body, supporting their detoxification from the body, which includes alcohol. Rumor has it chlorella may even stop a hangover before it starts. Try Now Foods’ Chlorella 1000 mg Tablets.