For as long as people have been drinking they have suffered the after-effects. For as long as they have suffered the after-effects they have tried to ward them off. Here are some ways that have been tried in various times and places, some strange and some that just may work.
P.S. Of course the best way to cure a hangover is not to develop one by not drinking alcohol. I abstain from everything, including abstinence.
1. Eastern Europe
Tripe soup is thought to be an effective cure for hangovers in several European countries. Tripe, offal made from the digestive tract of pigs or cows, is highly nutritious with high levels of fatty acids and protein. As we shall see with this list soups are highly regarded for their hangover fighting qualities. As well as being warming and comforting they provide liquid and salt that the body craves.
The Japanese have a well known fondness for sake, which can bring about both hangovers and karaoke. While the singing may be unavoidable they have developed cures for hangovers. A particularly favoured cure is umeboshi. These are Japanese apricots which have been pickled and then dried. The effectiveness of umeboshi has yet to be ascertained but they are also thought to slow aging, so you may be getting several benefits at once.
A more effective cure is to take clams, or really any seafood, in a salt-rich broth. This will serve to rehydrate you and replace minerals you will have lost the night before.
The Romans, like the Greeks before them, were fond of wine. They usually drank it diluted with water but it was not unknown, even if frowned on, for people to get a little too merry. Pliny the Elder wrote of drunks and drinking-
“…drunkard never beholds the rising sun, by which his life of drinking is made all the shorter. From wine, too, comes that pallid hue, those drooping eyelids, those sore eyes, those tremulous hands, unable to hold with steadiness the overflowing vessel, condign punishment in the shape of sleep agitated by Furies during the restless night, and, the supreme reward of inebriety, those dreams of monstrous lustfulness and of forbidden delights. Then on the next day there is the breath reeking of the wine-cask, and a nearly total obliviousness of everything, from the annihilation of the powers of the memory. And this, too, is what they call “seizing the moments of life!” whereas, in reality, while other men lose the day that has gone before, the drinker has already lost the one that is to come.”
How to regain the day is to come from a hangover? One remedy for headaches he suggested was to take snail’s heads and crush them and rub them on the forehead. A specific cure for hangover is to fry a small bird whole and eat it entirely. Neither of these, as yet, have gained wide spread scientific backing.
Should you wish to give up alcohol entirely and cannot be bothered with 12 steps Pliny offers a quick suggestion for bringing about distaste for drink- mix owl eggs with wine and drink that for three days. Magically this will stop you wanting to drink any more.
Dried bull penis used to be the go-to cure. In many ways a penis is a good source of protein. Since it is possible to turn a dried bull penis into a walking stick it could well be that by the time you have chewed your way through one so much time has passed that the hangover has cured itself.
4. United States
The prairie oyster is a cocktail made to buck you up the morning after a heavy night of drinking. A raw egg is placed in a glass, with the yolk intact to give the appearance of an oyster, with Worcestershire sauce, a shot of spirit (optional), Tabasco sauce, a dash of vinegar, and salt and pepper. You then drink the mixture in one swift movement as you would an oyster and, in theory, feel pepped up and ready to face the day. The protein in the egg will certainly help with a hangover, though you might like to add a large glass of water afterwards to help with dehydration.
Until recently in Russia beer was not really considered alcoholic, and compared to their more potent spirits you can see why. The Russian fondness for alcohol has produced several competing schools of thought when it comes to hangovers. Some suggest drinking the liquid from various pickled foods, called rassol. The liquid contains salt and various spices so may serve a similar effect to the Japanese broth.
Another cure is to drink kvass the next morning. Kvass is a mildly alcoholic beverage made by soaking dried rye bread with sugar and yeast until it ferments. Let’s face it though – the cure looks worse than the hangover.
For a cure fit for the Tsars there is the Nikolashka. This is a slice of lemon, with sugar and ground coffee on top, swallowed in one bite.