By Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall, author of HUNGOVER: The Morning After and One Man’s Quest for a Cure
During almost a decade of researching hangovers for my new book, HUNGOVER, I tried just about everything — from witchcraft to IV treatments, meditation to street-drugs — in order to solve this eternal, painful conundrum. As a sort of precursor to the book itself, here are a few simple, historic, remedies that — for one reason or another — both stand the test of time and are easily accessible.
Eggs: This is one of the most commonly suggested remedies across the globe and back through time. From the ancient Romans and their wine-soaked owl eggs to the modern Brits and their proper fry-ups, eggs are a staple of the morning after. And those who consume them in hopes of feeling better might actually be onto something. Eggs contain N-acetylcysteine — an amino acid that is, in large enough doses, an almost magical ingredient when it comes to treating hangovers.
Cabbage: Along with eggs, pickled fish and cheese, cabbage is another of the most common folkloric remedies. And especially when taken boiled, before during and even after drinking, there is something to be said for its efficacy. Cabbage has chelating qualities — meaning it enters your system, gets a hold of toxic elements, and takes them out with it when it leaves.
Chimney Soot: In Victorian England, sweeps used to make extra money by selling soot from the chimneys to be mixed in warm milk before a night out on the town. And even today, if you show up at a hospital emergency room with a drug or alcohol overdose, they may give you charcoal pills to decrease your toxicity. Before one very boozy Christmas dinner, I tried a scoop from the hearth dissolved in heated eggnog, though I can’t say how well it actually worked; there were other complications (which you can read about it in the book), but it did succeed in turning my teeth a brave shade of purple.
Adrenaline: This remedy I discovered by taking two giant leaps: One was in Las Vegas, off the Stratosphere — the highest sky-jump in North America; The other was in the wilds of British Columbia, into a bottomless pool created by a waterfall that runs off a glacier. Both of these jumps seemed to blow the hangover right out of me. And then, upon further investigation, I learned a bit about the science of adrenaline, and the quick-sobering effects of fight-or-flight — a tactic that could go all the way back to the days of ice-age and saber-tooth tigers.
Hopefully these suggestions might help you out a bit — at least until you get to the chapter near the end of my book, where I describe the cure I found. To give just a hint: it is a mixture of certain vitamins, amino acid supplements, minerals and natural anti-inflamataries that — when taken in the right dose, at the right time — can stop the complicated physical process of hangover before it even starts. At least it does for me.
But until that point, there are plenty of boozy anecdotes and adventures to be had in HUNGOVER. With or without a drink, or even far too many, I hope you enjoy the book — and also the morning after.
HUNGOVER: The Morning After and One Man’s Quest for a Cure by Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall is out now.