Hangover Cures: A Medical Approach


First year Aksha Ramaesh looks at the (highly) relevant topic of hangovers, and how to cure them

Medical students are known for adopting the “Work hard, Play harder” principle, so if you’re reading this during the weekend (or even on a Thursday morning), the chances are that you’re hungover. If you
‘re lucky, you woke up this morning in the foetal position at the bottom of your bed. If you weren’t quite so lucky, you may have been may have been greeted by the tiled floor of the Union bathroom after a classy night of dancing to Single Ladies and Oasis’s Wonderwall. No doubt the combination of Tesco Value vodka and granddad dancing has left you nearly catatonic, so this article is dedicated to getting you back to your professional, studious self.Just a quick note before we begin: these cures are in no way affiliated with the Medical school or the Bute Medical Society. Any complaints should be directed towards the article author. And I’ve used a false name. Screenshot 2014-07-31 11.23.28

Cure #1: A cure from our beloved healthcare system: eating sugary foods and thin vegetable soup. I recommend blue Smarties drowned in watered down Scotch broth. Eggs and meat contain the amino acid cysteine, which is thought to help flush toxins out of the system, so why not toss some scrambled eggs into the mix as well? Sorted.

Cure #2: A historical one here: the ancient Romans supposedly ate cooked canaries to scare away the metaphorical birds flying around their heads. It’s only logical. Sadly, (should you have any aspirations of replicating this) the RSPCA are not so keen on students deep-frying Tweety Pie (“I tawt I taw a puddy cat! I did! I did! I did taw a puddy cat!”), so  you may have to resort to a trip to KFB. Other fast-food establishments are available.

Cure #3: Trot along to your 9am dissection class. The delicately intertwining aromas of formaldehyde and bodily fluids are comparable in effect to that of bacon and Smartie-soup (see #1). This cure can also be applied to laboratory classes; staring into a blindingly white light while trying to focus on increasingly smaller and more intricate structures has an inexplicably soothing effect, and will instantly cure any remnants of a hangover

Screenshot 2014-07-31 11.51.01


Cure #4: If you’re lucky enough to have a morning/afternoon that’s free of lectures, go back to bed. Not only will your internal organs be desperately trying to recuperate after a night of abuse, your muscles will no doubt be aching after hours of Beyonce-esque dancing. Try to drink as much water as possible to rehydrate. If necessary, fill a brand-new beer bong with water and leave it beside your bed; your poor, dehydrated brain may just be confused into thinking it’s getting more alcohol and accept it gladly.

Cure #5: Alcohol is a diuretic – it removes fluid from the body – so it’s only logical to avoid the risk of dehydration by continuing to drink indefinitely. This final cure is highly evidence-based, and therefore the most reliable (the current mental capacity of the subjects involved in this sample is not relevant to the study.) For those of you who want to understand how alcohol dehydrates the body: it blocks the release of ADH, which in turn causes the kidneys to expel water as urine instead of reabsorbing it. For those who would simply like to self-prescribe in a slightly unconventional manner; whisky. This golden delight has a minimum alcohol content of 40%, so get yourself some single-malt and you’ll be guaranteed to have a cosy fire burning in your belly all day long.

At this point, some of you may be thinking that this article has thus far had little medical basis, and very few references to back up my ‘research’. And you would be right. So to answer all you naysayers and a few irate (but probably drunk) researchers, I’ve hunted down a few relevant articles just for you.

The first article looks at the effectiveness of artichoke extract on curing hangovers. I’ll save you the trouble of reading the article (and a trip to Morrisons) by telling you that artichoke extract is not an effective hangover cure. But for an equally ineffective and revolting cure, try Marmite (I realise I probably lost half of my readership there, but it was worth it) [1].

The second article is a systematic review of hangover cures. My favourite has to be number 5: “a blend containing cardamom, amomum, tangerine peel, citrus peel, ginseng, atractylodes, poria, massa fermenata, dried ginger, polyporus”. Although if you somehow manage to hunt down and combine all these ingredients, you’re far too intelligent to have got yourselfdrunk in the first place [2].


1. Effectiveness of artichoke hearts [Online] Available at: <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC280580/&gt; [Accessed 7th November 2012]

2. Interventions for preventing alcohol induced hangovers [Online] Available at: < http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1322250/> %5BAccessed 7th November 2012]

3. Image: Hangover Anatomy [Online] Available at: < http://blog.weflyspitfires.com/2010/09/12/the-best-of-the-rest-hangoveredition/&gt;


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