Ouch, that stings
January 1, 2005 9:35 AM   Subscribe

What's a good hangover remedy? With all of the drinking many of us did last night, I think it's appropriate to dish out our favorite hangover cures. Mine is the time tested water & asprin before bed.
posted by password (48 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This cure is from a Robert Heinlein novel and I used it many times back when I was a more interesting person: Eat a double dose of ibuprofen or aspirin and drink 2 big glasses of water. Now hit the shower. Slowly turn the hot water up as high as you can bear--it should hurt and turn your skin red. When you can't stand it anymore, turn the water all the way to cold. It hits like a fist, but stick with it, soak under it. Hollering is OK. When you step out the shower your head will be clear as a bell. Now eat a large nutritious breakfast and the hangover won't come back.

I should point out that many people consider this cure much worse than spending the day nursing a hangover.
posted by LarryC at 9:44 AM on January 1, 2005

Just stay drunk...it's lots easier.
posted by 1016 at 9:44 AM on January 1, 2005

This How Stuff Works article is pretty good, and explains why the hair of the dog actually works.
posted by tomharpel at 9:46 AM on January 1, 2005

Two routes, don't stop drinking. Ever.

And the other is to pound as much water as you possibly can before passing out with whatever hoochie mama you went home with last night. The water helps offset the dehydrating effects of the alcohol (which I think is the main cause of the hangover, dry brain).

But then, I think its as much fun to stay sober and watch people degrade into utter idiots as the hours wear on.
posted by fenriq at 9:49 AM on January 1, 2005

N-Acetyl Cysteine, available at a health store near you.
posted by dws at 9:50 AM on January 1, 2005

As i drink, i try to consume around half as much water as boo. When i've stumbled home, i drink even more water and take ibuprofin/asprin preemptively. Eat bread or a waffle. Upon arising, I immediately drink water, eat more bread, and take about half of the amount of asprin i did the night before. Voila.
I personally can't do the whole hair of the dog thing; after a good night's revelry, the next day the last thing i want to do is drink more.
posted by moonbird at 10:01 AM on January 1, 2005

I'm the sort of drinker that finds it very difficult to drink water along with my booze (i.e., a stupid one), so I've tried a few different remedies in my time. Nothing has ever come close to this product
made by Alka-Seltzer specifically for hangovers, even though it's not quite marketed that way.

I was skeptical of it at first, but the combination of stomach relief, aspirin, and caffeine in one package does the trick for me. (I know this sounds like a shill, but I say the same things about this whenever the topic comes up with my friends.)
posted by flipper at 10:11 AM on January 1, 2005

I've probably tried all of these remedies at one time or another, including these Chaser dealios I've seen advertised on the teevee lately. Don't bother, they don't work. At all.

Not quite sure about ibuprofen (which I tend to avoid because it causes my ears to ring for some reason), but be careful about mixing alcohol and any other over the counter drug. Particularly harmful is mixing alcohol and acetaminophen (tylenol).
posted by psmealey at 10:16 AM on January 1, 2005

Just don't drink really cold water, or you'll be walking from the bedroom to the toilet and back all night.
posted by toby\flat2 at 10:16 AM on January 1, 2005

Perry Farell of Jane's Addiction once suggested a handful of mushrooms will cure the common hangover, or will certainly distract the patient.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:18 AM on January 1, 2005

Gee, thanks. Why am I just seeing this post at noon on New Year's Day?

Wouldn't this info have been more useful yesterday?

Thanks all the same.
posted by sourwookie at 10:18 AM on January 1, 2005

And the other is to pound as much water as you possibly can before passing out with whatever hoochie mama you went home with last night

That's right, fenriq. All women are sluts, legs spread wide to trick you and bedevil you, the little bitches.
posted by orange clock at 10:21 AM on January 1, 2005

Gee, thanks. Why am I just seeing this post at noon on New Year's Day?

Because last night everybody was too busy drinking to even think about having a hangover, and now that we're all getting up it's all we can think about.
posted by baphomet at 10:23 AM on January 1, 2005

Nothing has ever come close to this product
made by Alka-Seltzer specifically for hangovers, even though it's not quite marketed that way.

Look again. As direct as marketing gets.
posted by sourwookie at 10:24 AM on January 1, 2005

That's right, fenriq. All women are sluts, legs spread wide to trick you and bedevil you, the little bitches.

Sounds like somebody's hung over!
posted by ticopelp at 10:25 AM on January 1, 2005

if you know you are going to be doing some heavy drinking, start taking L-Lysine(yes, they sell it at the local drug store or health food store...and it's fairly inexpensive) 24 hours before you will start drinking. 2 tabs every 6-8 hours...you will be super man/woman/person. i have no idea as to the scientific reason this works...or even where i first heard about this, but it does work. even taking 2 tabs 2-3 hours before drinking makes a world of difference. the sooner you start taking it, the better. i also make sure to stay well hydrated before, during, and after. give it a shot. oh, and don't drive just 'cause you think you can...you're still drunk, you just feel great.
posted by cloudstastemetallic at 10:28 AM on January 1, 2005

Oh man, I wish I had some Alka-Seltzer right now. I look out my window & see everyone enjoying the beautiful day while I'm stuck in my chair, reading Metafilter. Water & aspirin didn't work this time. This N-Acetyl Cysteine; Seems to work well for people?
posted by password at 10:31 AM on January 1, 2005

orange clock, its okay if you went home alone again, you don't really need to be so bitter about it.

And yes, I'm refraining for volleying the snark on purpose.
posted by fenriq at 10:35 AM on January 1, 2005

Well, assuming you didn't plan ahead, here's some curative advice:

For the headache: analgesic of choice. Nod to psmealey for the liver link, but if you have liver concerns you probably shouldn't be drinking so much in the first place. "Hair of the dog" gets the endorphins flowing again, but really only delays the hangover.

For the dehydration: yes, you need water, but you also need some electrolytes so you can retain it! Have a nice salty breakfast like eggs n' bacon with plenty of water. Caffeine tends to have analgesic effects as well, so have a cup of coffee. Or just kill all the birds with one stone and drink some of that "smart water" or Gatorade or whichever one you like, as long as it has electrolytes.

After you let the aspirin kick in it actually feels really good to take a short run, if you're not SO hungover that you can't stand it.
posted by rkent at 10:50 AM on January 1, 2005

Eat a warm, spicy cow-stomach broth (called menudo). That will take care of it.
posted by dov3 at 10:59 AM on January 1, 2005

© 1999-2000 SoYouWanna.com, Inc.

Whatever happened to SYW? I use to love it back in the day.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:05 AM on January 1, 2005

If I'm actually 'with it' enough to think of it before bed, I have a large glass of water and a vitamin. The next day, I avoid coffee -- yes, it's got an analgesic effect, but it's also a diuretic, and you want to replace the water you've lost, not lose more. I also drink lots of sports drinks to replace the lost fluid and electrolytes.
posted by nyxie at 11:10 AM on January 1, 2005

this thread just makes it hurt more.
posted by angry modem at 11:18 AM on January 1, 2005


I know, it may just feel like you'll never be able to eat again. Ever. But in my experience, once you smell something good (menudo would seriously work for me, but pancakes or waffles are probably more appropriate for most people), I'm guessing you'll start to feel better. If you can deal with sugar well, screw Atkins and load up on the carbs -- there's a reason you crave those things when hung over.

Another tip: If it's really bad, don't drink the water too fast or too cold. Too fast, because on many occasions that's damn near come back on me (and that doesn't happen easily), and too cold because of the dreaded brain freeze -- I don't know whether it's worse when hung over, or that I'm just that much closer to the edge...

That said, an old college roomate used to swear by a formula he acronymized as A.S.S.: "Aspirin, Shit, Shower." And it's true, getting a good hot shower usually makes me feel at least 150% better.
posted by lodurr at 11:33 AM on January 1, 2005

... on further review: If A.S.S. and WFC don't work -- and as I get older they do sometimes come up short -- a moderate workout (enough to raise a sweat) and, if feasible, 20 minutes in a good hot sauna work wonders (per rkent's suggestion of a run).
posted by lodurr at 11:37 AM on January 1, 2005

Two words: Irn Bru. If Scots trust it as a hangover cure, you know it's gotta work.

Oh, and sourwookie, if you've been celebrating appropriately, today is the day to worry about a hangover. It should be cutting in sometime tomorrow.

(why do you think that January 1st and 2nd are national holidays in Scotland?)
posted by scruss at 11:44 AM on January 1, 2005

A big, fat joint (blunt, whatever) and a bowl of Hatch farms green chile stew.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:57 AM on January 1, 2005

I'm convinced the reason menudo is such popular hangover food is because it combines protein (for energy), water, salt (to retain the water), and hot chiles (for the endorphin rush). I usually just have a giant glass of lukewarm water and some scrambled eggs with hot sauce, because the last thing I want to do when hung over is go out to a restaurant.
posted by cali at 12:28 PM on January 1, 2005

I love going to restaurants hung over. I've found my cure in a cup of coffee, a glass of water, and a beast called the Cajun Omelet (andouille sausage, hot sauce, and all) with a side of hash browns. Then I rush home to sit on the toilet for an hour.

It probably isn't true, but my hungover friends and I have theorized that all this works by sponging up the toxins in your body, at which point only a "fire-dump" can flush it all out.

I think the tried-and-true Bloody Mary really does seem to work, if you're into Bloody Marys at all. Still, I steer clear of this remedy, because I find drinking a tomato repugnant.
posted by jennanemone at 12:52 PM on January 1, 2005

dws: This N-Acetyl Cysteine looks interesting. Is that taken before or after drinking?
posted by Handcoding at 1:58 PM on January 1, 2005

it may sound like the most ridiculous suggestion, but try hitting the gym for an hour or so of reasonably intense sweaty cardio work, after a decent breakfast (eg eggs, bacon, beans, toast, fruit & fruit juice plus coffee and vitamin B drink).
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:17 PM on January 1, 2005

Over here in East Europe the word is sauerkraut juice. It's one of the only things the Hungarians, Romanians, Serbs and Slovaks actually all agree on, so it must be valid. Kraut juice.

Sour beet juice works as well, and if you can't get any of those just drink the brine from a jar of pickles.

Tripe soup is another pan-cultural hangover cure. In latin America a bowl of menudo is considered the cure. In Greece, Turkey and the Balkans, there are specialty restaurants called "Patsas" that serve sour tripe soup late at night and early in the morning, specifically for hangover remedies. In Hungary, the hangover soup is korhely leves, made from stock, chopped sauerkraut, and frankfurters.
posted by zaelic at 2:20 PM on January 1, 2005

oh, yeh: vitamin B. cannot stress this enough. there is a reason we aussies eat vegemite religiously: it has something to do with the fact that we drink like fish and vegemite is loaded with vitamin B.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:20 PM on January 1, 2005

posted by Julie at 2:41 PM on January 1, 2005

Waffle House.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 3:03 PM on January 1, 2005

My mom always made a big pot of lentil soup on New Year's Day when I was growing up; it's one of those culturally specific (Italian, in my case) foods that people eat on January 1 to bring them prosperity in the new year - cabbage and black eyed peas are others. Now that I'm all grown up and dealing with my own apres-festivity issues, I realize that lentil soup is a great hangover cure as well. (As does the whole aspirin/water/hot shower/caffeine regimen described above.)

I've always set great store by orange soda floats with vanilla ice cream too. I mean, orange soda has all that vitamin C! Right?
posted by contraposto at 3:09 PM on January 1, 2005

contraposto, screw the orange soda, the best thing is Tang mixed with vodka.

Bad vodka. Kill your hangover ASAP.
posted by 1016 at 6:16 PM on January 1, 2005

Best cure for me: Asprin taken with lots of water or Gatorade. Tums for the upset stomach.

It also helps if you have concerned pets checking up on you every so often. May not cure my hangover, but having 3 cats sleeping on the bed with me makes the hangover a little more bearable.

My husband and I call this soothing effect "new age cat healing".
posted by r3rrr at 8:03 PM on January 1, 2005

Vitamin B supps
posted by MrFancypants at 9:50 PM on January 1, 2005

MrFancypants: I am not putting anything up my bum. I've seen Trainspotting.
posted by Eideteker at 3:40 AM on January 2, 2005

I've always used a big glass of water and a sinus pill before bed. In the event that that didn't work, for some odd reason Dinty More Beef Stew has always worked wonders for me.
posted by chickygrrl at 7:51 AM on January 2, 2005

1. I've found that if I'm even a little buzzed when I go to sleep, I'll be a little hungover the next day, so I often stay up an hour or two listening to music before going to bed when I've drunk a little too much.

2. One time, I drank almost a complete bottle of vodka in one night without realizing how much I was flying through. The next day, I felt horrible, as you might expect for someone who pretty much sticks to beer. I was given a Phenergan, and I slept for a couple of hours. Eideteker, if you knew how much better you'd feel afterwards, you'd do it!

3. There are a couple of bars around town where I'm no longer convinced that how bad I feel the next day is tied to the amount of alcohol I had there the night before. What sorts of contaminants can draft beer have that turn a mild hangover intense and add sinus reactions and diarrhea?
posted by kimota at 9:37 AM on January 2, 2005

Lots of water the night before and just upon waking usually works for me. In the rare cases in which it doesn't, eating a lot of greasy-ass food the next day seems to kill off any remaining after effects. Oh, and weed. That helps, too.

I would take ibuprofin or some other over-the-counter type thing, but I've been avoiding over-the-counter medication so long that anything I take messes with my head. In a not-so-fun way.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:44 AM on January 2, 2005

From here (if main issue is dehydration/vomitting):

1. Table Salt - 3/4 teaspoon
2. Baking Powder - 1 teaspoon
3. Sugar -4 tablespoons
4. Orange juice - I cup
5. Water - I quart/liter
posted by ValveAnnex at 12:30 PM on January 2, 2005

An old New Scientist article called "Desperate Remedies." (yay for Wayback) is where I learned about NAC, and I am a Capital-C-Convert. (Article also has interesting insights about the dearth of available research, too.)

I think it is vital to address the problem before you go to bed, it's much easier to prevent a hangover then evict one later. Before drinking, a couple of glasses of water. Before bed, a glass of water/gatorade, food if you have the presence of mind, 800mg ibuprofen, 1 capsule NAC, sleep...

And, for me, at least, avoid red wine like the plague.
posted by BleachBypass at 1:43 PM on January 2, 2005

And, for me, at least, avoid red wine like the plague.

I mostly agree, but with one exception. I find that if, after a very long night, I have one glass of red wine before going to sleep, I'll generally sleep a lot better and more deeply that I would otherwise. But any more than a glass and it's headache city the next day.

Interestingly, I have found white wine and champagne hangovers to be worse than red wine ones. Somehow I think the sugars in the white stuff makes you feel worse than the tannins do.
posted by psmealey at 6:27 AM on January 3, 2005

Lately, I've found that beer is giving me far worse hangovers than red wine. I think it's the onset of blood sugar problems. (I only drink fairly dry reds.)

Red wine hangovers, for me, are limited to a headache, are more or less preventable with water, and addressable with water and aspirin or acetominaphen. Beer hangovers stick with me for hours, and are more systemic than a headache: I feel sluggish, irritable, thought-impaired. That's when vigorous exercise helps.

Actually, weed gives me the longest and most deblilitating "hangovers". Not that I do it that often, but when I do, I feel it for days. It's just this vague feeling of disorientation and spaciness that makes it difficult to concentrate.
posted by lodurr at 7:37 AM on January 4, 2005

I've always wondered about those hangover cures that require you to drink/do something before you go to bed, and how they'd work. Whenever I'm drunk I'm usually incapable of doing anything remotely sensible, like preparing for the inevitable hangover in the morning.
posted by wessatong at 7:48 AM on January 8, 2005

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