After a big night out partying and drinking, chances are that you will end up with a massive hangover. Whether you have to go to work or stay at home because it is the weekend, nursing a hangover is an experience many people, even regular drinkers, can do without. While you are enjoying your drink, you do not feel that much except for euphoria. It is after you’ve stopped drinking that the hangover sets in. You get a pounding headache, you feel nauseous, lethargic and generally feel like crap. Hangover remedies vary. There is no one definite solution to fix all the hangover symptoms. Experts will tell you to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Others will tell you to drink coffee, which can relieve or alleviate your headache. You can take a pain reliever to ease the headache and eat toast or crackers to settle your queasy stomach. All of this are traditional remedies. But is it the same in other countries? Do you ever wonder what things they do or eat to cure their hangovers? Let’s discover some of their cures and learn if they do work.
1. Eastern Europe
If you are not too familiar with the region, this is the geographical area where Ukraine, Slovakia, Russia, Romania, Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Belarus are located. So now we know that vodka, and other spirits high in alcohol content are generally imbibed by the residents. In several of these countries, they have hot soup made of tripe, which has high levels of protein and fatty acids and very nutritious. It could be because the soup is warm to hot that gives hangover sufferers a feeling of wellness or due to the fact that the soup provides the body with liquid and salt that had been lost due to the frequent trips to the loo while drinking.
Russians have a fondness for alcohol, especially those with higher potency. There’s the suggestion that they drink the liquid from different pickled foods, which they call ‘Rassol’. Pickled foods contain various spices and salt, so it works just like the tripe soup. The Russians also go to the sauna carrying some birch twigs (maybe to flog themselves for drinking too much). The heat from the sauna can make you sweat to flush out the toxins, but it could contribute to the dehydration caused by the loss of liquid.
The Japanese love their sake, which seems like a tame drink but is actually very potent. Most Japanese suffering from hangovers swear by the effectiveness of umeboshi, which are pickled then dried Japanese apricots. If these are salty, then the pickled fruits supply the body with the much-needed salts it had lost.
4. United States
There are several hangover remedies concocted by Americans, but one of the more famous ones is the prairie oyster. It is not exactly an oyster, because for sure you will not find oysters in the prairie. Anyway it is a cocktail made with one raw egg with the yolk unbroken, a little splash of water, a dash of chili sauce (or Tabasco sauce) and Worcestershire sauce, add pepper and salt to taste. Drink the cocktail in one gulp, rest for about 10 minutes and you will be ready to go. How does this work? The egg contains cysteine, an amino acid that helps in breaking down the alcohol in your system. It will settle your stomach even if you cannot have a proper breakfast and help you start your recovery process. Drinking a large glass of water afterwards also helps your body to recover from dehydration.
Mongolia is known for herds of animals. A popular drink in Mongolia is kumis, which is fermented milk of mares, although the alcohol content of this drink is very weak. They do have vodka. Their remedy for drunkenness is to drink tomato juice mixed with pickled eyes of sheep. Foreigners would surely love not to get drunk while in Mongolia to avoid the prospect of having to see those sheep eyes floating is a sea of red tomato juice, although the eyes are rich in protein.
The hangover cure of Ecuadorians is not wild. In fact it is medicinal and traditional. They recommend drinking a cup of oregano tea for the stomach to settle.
Most Filipinos nursing a hangover resort to eating Balut (balot), which is boiled fertilized duck egg, normally sold by street vendors in the evening. Even non-drinkers love to eat this, for they say it gives them energy (considered an aphrodisiac by many). The effectiveness of Balut as a hangover cure is due to the cysteine in the egg, which breaks down the acetaldehyde from the alcohol that settled in the liver.
8. South Korea
Like the Japanese, South Koreans have a fondness for alcohol, particularly their own soju, a distilled rice liquor and makgeolli, a fermented wheat or rice drink that looks like milk in appearance. It is almost normal to see men out eating at a pojangmacha, covered street food stalls that serve steaming hot bowls of the “stew to cure a hangover,” which is the literal translation of “haejangguk.” It is made with beef broth, chunks of congealed ox blood, raw eggs and various vegetables including radish, cabbage and bean sprouts. Its taste wakes up the sluggish brain while its nourishing ingredients sooth the stomach.
The country is very popular for its Oktobefest, hence you know that several varieties of beer are abundantly available in Germany. The Germans call a hangover Katzenjammer which refers to the screeching of cats. To keep the cats quiet, they usually eat meat and bananas, which are both nutritious and healthy food. Bananas will provide the body with potassium and sugar. The meat provides the body with protein. A more traditional cure for a hangover though is to eat a rollmop. It is a fillet of pickled herring filled with pickled vegetables and then rolled before serving.
Poles, like Russians and Mongolians have a fondness for vodka, which is a potent drink. They swear that drinking a glass of the brine from sauerkraut or sour pickles help ease their morning sluggishness after a night of drinking.
11. Great Britain
While most people suffering from hangover in other countries are drinking the juice of pickles and having hot soup, Britons eat a sandwich piled high with fried bacon. The approach is more scientific since the combination of the main ingredients provide plenty of amino acids.
The traditional way to combat a hangover in Scotland is to mix “The Highland Fling” that is a combination of pepper, salt and corn flour added to buttermilk. The more modern method is to drink the carbonated orange beverage called “Im-Bru.”
After getting sloshed, Chinese drink strong green tea to flush out the alcohol from their body and keep them awake. They also drink water flavoured with fresh lemon juice and eat congee. The tea and water replenish the lost body fluid while the congee is a known comfort food that soothes irritated stomachs.
The Peruvians also use the juice of pickles for their hangover. What they have is called Leche De Tigre, which is the marinade left from ceviche. The marinade is a combination of lemon and lime juice, fish stock, garlic, ginger and fish scrap. The juice is said to be an aphrodisiac as well as a cure for headache caused by over drinking.
15. New Zealand
There’s plenty of cows and sheep in New Zealand. In fact animals outnumber humans in this country. Their main hangover cure is mince and cheese pie and a glass of chocolate milk. Again, this is a comfort food, and rich in protein, which is needed to break down the alcohol in the body and allow the liver to release the toxins.
There you have it, some of the wildest hangover cures around the world. It could be very simple and quite surprising if you take these cures at their face value. However there is still very much logic in it. Water rehydrates the body, because alcohol, although liquid, are diuretic. The salt in pickles supplies the body with the much needed salt it lost by frequent urination. Eggs and meat provide amino acids to bread down the alcohol remaining in your system.