|Pancha Karma Cleansing Treatment|
Broiling-hot saunas, sour pickles, Corpse Revivers...it seems every culture has its preferred morning-after remedy.
One of the oldest, most common miseries known to man goes by a
variety of names. What the medical community recognizes as veisalgia
(from the Greek root algos, for “pain and grief”), Germans refer to as katzenjammer
(“wailing cats”); when Scottish poet Robert Burns described feeling
“ramfeezled and forswunk” in the late 18th century, he was invoking the
same malady that modern-day Danes call tømmermænd (“hammering carpenters”).
Here in the U.S., of course, we just call it a hangover.
Virtually every consenting adult has suffered at least a touch of
this distress at one time or another. And while the scientific
explanations for the condition vary, the symptoms are almost universal:
headache, upset stomach, and thirstiness all signal the wrath of
grapes, hops, or spirits. In response, almost every culture has
generated homegrown cures—which can be loosely grouped into four
1. The Firefighters. These remedies employ heat—both internal and external—to sweat out toxins and distract from hangover discomfort. The Russian banya
(sauna), kept at a sweltering, steamy 194°F, is a firefighter; but so
is a spicy Romanian tripe soup that draws attention to a burning tongue
rather than a pounding head.
2. The Sourpusses. Many cultures believe in
kick-starting a frizzled battery with some kind of pickle. Besides the
bracing shock of vinegary flavor, the saltiness of snacks like pickled
herring (in northern Europe) and umeboshi (in Japan) are
meant to restore electrolytes and encourage the drinking of more water.
(Poles and Russians have even been known to drink brining liquid
straight. If this sounds questionable, just ask the Philadelphia Eagles
about their winning “pickle juice game” in 2000; players drank pickle
brine before kickoff and said it helped them withstand 109°F heat.)
3. The Buffers. Lining the belly with a heavy meal,
as a sort of sandbag against crashing waves of indigestion, is a
morning-after ritual in many countries. As well as calming the stomach,
chewing through a meaty spread like a full English breakfast might
trigger a restorative nap.
4. The Hair(s) of the Dog. Though most researchers
claim that turning back to what bit you actually stalls recovery,
there’s a wealth of mixological evidence to the contrary—from the
classic brunch companion, a spicy Bloody Mary, to the more bracing
What all of these remedies share is a certain home-brewed sense of
comfort—as well as hard-won street cred. And such emotional benefits
may have quite a bit to do with the cures’ reported effectiveness. In
2005, the British Medical Journal published a study on eight
hangover treatments, including fructose and a beta-blocker; none
alleviated symptoms. Could it be that our hungover selves are tricked
by a placebo effect?
When we’re at the mercy of the wailing cats, do we even care?