Japanese hangover cures

Tried and tested, local ways to beat the hungover blues

Japanese hangover cures

Few would disagree that the Japanese hangover is a painful beast. Whether you put it down to unusual ingredients (happoshu, anyone?) or the tendency to host an office party at the drop of a hat, it's a seasonal hazard that most of us begrudgingly accept as part and parcel at this time of year. Being the ever-loving folk that we are, we gathered together the local hangover remedies of choice, took them down to our neighbourhood doctor, and begged him to tell us that they were more than just placebos, or - at the very least - that 'prevention is more effective than the cure' (boy, how we hate those words) is just a truthless cliché.

Fresh-water clams to those not in the know, these little fellows have been popular hangover relievers across Japan and China for as long as man has been searching for hangover relief. Our resident shijimi expert (and champion drinker) swears they work best in a nice, homemade miso soup. Others of us here question the notion of consuming fish when you're barely able to keep anything down.
The good doctor says: 'Taurine decreases the absorption of alcohol from the stomach, which leads to a decrease in serum alcohol concentration. Shijimi contains lots of taurine.'
Time Out says: Sounds plausible to us.

One member of our crew believes firmly in the ancient Chinese notion that excerpting pressure on the webbed points between thumb and finger, and the big toe and its neighbour, will relieve blockages in the flow of the body's chi. The rest of us here like the fact that it doesn't involve swallowing anything likely to make a reappearance when you least expect it.
The good doctor says: The good doctor refrained from commenting on this method. Oh dear...
Time Out says: Age-old wisdom or hippy nonsense? We're not sure, but we didn't like the doctor's silence.

Pocari Sweat
We're not sure how many pocaris are killed in the production of a single bottle of sweat, but they'd better keep pounding the treadmills - when Japan has a hangover, there are few other liquids it reaches for. Commonly doled out to sick children by worried mothers, it might easily be mistaken for some kind of elixir - which is exactly why we'll be stocking up before we leave the house this Friday.
The good doctor says: 'Once you have a hangover, hydration and painkillers are the only things I can really recommend. Hydration tackles the first one nicely.'
Time Out says: A solid, scientific explanation. Who'd have thought the pocaris had it in them?

Turmeric may not seem like the most obvious hangover remedy, but pop to the local convenience store and you'll see that it's certainly being touted that way. Members of our team claim an ukon pill taken before the revelry commences acts as a kind of hangover vaccine, and, even more surprisingly, the good doctor seems to agree...
The good doctor says: 'According to animal studies, bile acids decrease the stomach's alcohol absorption, and absorption in the small intestine, too. Ukon supplements increase the secretion of bile acid.'
Time Out says: We wonder if this has some relation to our curry cravings at the end of a long night. Bring on the chicken masala!

Water and sleep
Not particularly revelatory, but according to polls, the majority of the country would plump for these old stalwarts before consuming anything concocted by man (and with concoctions using names like Go For It! Mr Liver!, who on earth can blame them?) Indeed, it's hard to beat the unconscious reparatory effects of a good snooze, and sticking your sorry head under the cold tap for a good minute can prove inspiring. However, we'll let the good doctor have the final say...
The good doctor says: 'Some of the things on your list are good to relieve or prevent (but not cure) hangovers to some extent, but I believe the most important thing is, still, not to drink too much in the first place.'
Time Out says: Ah, Doc. You had to go and say it, didn't you? Oh well...if you need us, we'll be supping water and dozing with our heads on the cistern. See you next year.

By Jon Wilks
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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