While you were isolating, scientists were working on a hangover cure

If you’ve been hitting the bottle a little harder than usual during lockdown, you’ve probably devoted some of your new-found free time to looking for a hangover cure. And the chances are, you’ve felt rubbish all day regardless of your findings.

But now scientists believe that certain plant extracts may help to relieve throbbing heads and nausea.

A new study on hangovers has concluded that feeling rough the day after the night before may not actually be down to a loss of electrolytes as previously thought. That means no amount of Barocca or Lucozade is going to save you after eight hours of tequila.

Researchers at the British Medical Journal split 214 healthy adults into three groups and gave them a flavoured, water-soluble supplement 34 minutes before and immediately after giving them beer, white wine or a white wine spritzer.

The first group were given a supplement contianing plant extracts, vitamins and minerals and antioxident compounds. The second group had a supplemt withtout the plant extracts and the third group were given a glucose placebo.

The complete supplement included plant extracts like Barbados cherry, prickly pear, ginkgo bilboa, willow and ginger root, as well as vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, sodium bicarbonate, zinc, riboflavin, thiamin and folic acid.

Blood and urine samples were taken and measured, before the same samples were taken again 12 hours later. Participants were also asked to fill in questionnaires about their hangover symptoms.

On the whole, people who took the plant extracts and vitamin supplements experienced significantly less severe symptoms than the group who had the placebo supplement or the supplement which didn’t have the plant extract – suggesting that the plants were the key.

The average headache was 35% less instense, nausea was 42% less overwhelming and restlessness was down by 41%.

The fact that vitamins and minerals alone didn’t seem to have a big impact suggests that perhaps hangovers aren’t caused by a drop in electrolytes and minerals.

You can buy lots of plant extracts online but given that the supplement industry is notoriously under-regulated, it’s fair to say that what you buy may bear very little resemblance to what was consumed under test conditions.

Let’s hope this research cracks on and they find a definitive cure once and for all.

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