Hangover is the after effect of drinking alcohol, a combination of painful and unpleasant physiological and psychological signs that affect the whole body. Heavy consumption of alcohol a night before can result in hangover the next morning. Following are some of the most common symptoms of hangover and natural remedies that help relieve these symptoms.
Alcohol is diuretic in nature, which means it removes fluids from our body and can make it dehydrated. Dehydration in turn can trigger other symptoms such as excessive thirst and headache. To prevent dehydration, it helps to prehydrate yourself before you begin alcohol consumption. Taking water alternatively while consuming alcohol also helps in minimizing its dehydrating effects.
- To regain the lost fluids, drink plenty of water the next morning. Adding honey will help replace the lost sugar. Drinking fluids will induce urination, giving your body an opportunity to flush out toxins.
- Raw fruits or fruit shakes are also very effective for regaining lost energy and reducing muscle weakness.
- Guava juice is particularly recommended to relieve hangover symptoms.
- Coconut water is a refreshing natural alternative to soft drinks and packaged beverages.
Alcohol causes blood vessels to expand which may lead to headaches within hours of alcohol consumption or the very next morning. Alcohol breakdown in the liver produces a chemical acetaldehyde which may also cause hangover headaches.
Alcohol can trigger a migraine attack, therefore people with a history of migraine headaches need to control alcohol consumption and take only small doses. In case of hangover headaches, over the counter pain relievers may provide some relief. However, natural remedies such as the following are preferable.
- Drink a glass of water to which lemon juice has been added. Alternatively, add lemon juice to black tea and sip slowly.
- Boil a few thyme leaves in water. Drink this concoction two-three times a day. Milk thistle, fennel seeds (saunf) and Chamomile tea are also effective in hangover.
- A gentle massage with sesame, peppermint or eucalyptus oil will help ease the headache.
Alcohol upsets the stomach lining and promotes production of stomach acid. It delays emptying of stomach which may lead to nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting. Also, nausea is your body’s natural protective response to the toxin attack.
Nausea from alcohol can be prevented by not drinking on an empty stomach. Having light snacks before drinking or along side drinks can help in slowing down the body’s absorption of alcohol and thus keep nausea away.
- Chewing a piece of ginger is effective in relieve nausea. You can also drink ginger tea prepared by boiling a few pieces of ginger in water. Add honey for taste.
- Chew on peppermint leaves (pudina) or take peppermint tea for instant relief from nausea and vomiting.
- Honey and lemon juice in warm water is the best known remedy for hangover symptoms, including nausea.
- Consuming eggs is helpful as eggs contain cysteine, an amino acid which helps in cleaning up the system by breaking down toxins.
Low blood sugar
Alcohol consumption makes the liver work harder as it must break down alcohol into a form that can be easily eliminated from the body. The liver starts working overtime to detoxify the blood and cannot maintain blood glucose levels, which may result in low blood sugar. Lower blood sugar levels can cause weakness, lethargy and fatigue.
A carbohydrate rich diet before or along with drinking may help in optimizing blood sugar levels and may protect from feelings of weakness and fatigue at the time of hangover. Additionally,
- Fresh tomato juice is an effective treatment for hangover induced sugar plunge.
- Instead of synthetic drinks and foods, opt for natural foods such as honey and fresh fruits to replenish sugar levels.
- Eat carbohydrate rich foods such as whole wheat breads, egg whites, potatoes, dry fruits, lentils and pasta.
Alcohol consumption can also cause dizziness, vertigo, anxiety and irritability. It can affect one’s cognitive and decision making ability. During a hangover, a person may experience problems with his memory, concentration and performing routine tasks. Usually such symptoms disappear within 24 hours, provided one takes complete rest, allowing the hangover to subside.
Hangover symptoms vary from person to person. The best way to avoid a bad hangover is to avoid heavy doses of alcohol, particularly on an empty stomach.