Next time you experience that terrible “morning after” feeling, with the queasy stomach, pounding head and a mouth full of horrifying flavours, you can always try one of these remedies. Of course, if you do try these, I make no guarantees you won’t come to regret it more than you already regret that last shot of tequila.
Jack Rabbit Tea
The Wild West was a land of whiskey, women and gun fights, so it stands to reason that they had their share of hangovers after all the whiskey was gone and the shooting had stopped.
Rabbit droppings in your cup.
Being tough as nails and as gritty as the dust on their boots, cowboys didn’t cotton on to the idea of drinking something gentle to ease their stomachs, instead they quaffed down a hellacious brew of hot water and rabbit dung.
There is no medical reason why water and pre-chewed plant matter would help with a hangover, and it certainly won’t help with your morning breath.
If you decide to over-indulge while in Puerto Rico, you can follow local tradition and rub a lemon wedge under your drinking arm before you hoist that first brew.
Try to avoid squirting the acidic juice into the face of anyone who weighs more than a truck, or a hangover may be the least of your worries.
As you may have already guessed, shoving a citrus fruit in your armpit has no scientific value in the fight against a hangover, but even if it doesn’t work, you’ll be “lemony fresh” for the rest of the night.
Take a Sauna
Not up to eating or drinking your way back to health? Not a problem if you are in Russia. You’ll need to find your way to a Banya, or sauna.
Once there, you can crowd into a room full of steam and naked men in felt hats, and wait for the heat to drive the toxins from your abused body.
Part of the ritual includes alternating time in the steam with time in cold water, or exposing yourself to the frigid outdoor breezes, or even snow banks.
If your hangover isn’t leaving fast enough, you can hit yourself with a birch branch to speed the process along.
If the idea of eating anything turns your stomach, you could always try a liquid remedy such as drinking pickle juice. Purported to work because of its high levels of electrolytes and minerals, it will certainly cut through that funky taste in the back of your throat.
If you need something a bit stronger, you can opt for downing a shot of sauerkraut juice instead. Straight up or with tomato juice, those who can manage to keep it down swear by its effectiveness.
If you aren’t afraid of a little black magic to help manage your morning after, then you could try the New Orleans approach. Forget treating the body, this preventative measure heaps the blame firmly on the bottle that dosed you.
Before opening the bottle, curse it thoroughly, scaring away any angry demons. The moment you drain it, you will need to drop cigar ash into the neck and croon soft words of atonement, making peace with the spirits that may have dwelled within the spirits you have just imbibed.
If you are in Haiti, then instead of cigar ash, you’ll need to carry enough pins to stick 13 of them into the cork of every bottle you drank. This might actually work, because mixing a lot of pointy pins with copious amounts of alcohol just doesn’t seem like the kind of thing anyone would do more than once.
Hair of the DogIf it was alcohol that got you into this mess, then it's alcohol that will get you out. Or so goes the theory of “having a hair of the dog that bit you”.
The standard recipe involves a shot of vodka, tomato juice and Tabasco sauce, though different versions abound, including adding chili peppers, pickle juice or cream - depending on personal taste and just how much punishment you want to inflict on yourself.
This remedy has some medical backing, but its effect is only temporary. While your body is doing a frantic imitation of “Space Invaders” as it tries to defend itself from the new batch of poisons you’ve just introduced into your system; it stops breaking down the alcohol already present.
The process of breaking down the alcohol into other chemicals is what is making you feel like death warmed over in the first place.
By putting a temporary stop to the process, you buy yourself a little time when you won’t feel ill, but eventually the breakdown process will start again, and now it’s got more alcohol to work on, meaning you’re going to feel even worse.
Bird Beaks and Tree Sap
call me in the morning
To combat the effects of long nights spent raiding and boozing, they’d down a potent potion of swallow beaks and myrrh oil, an essential oil derived by steaming the wood of the Myrrh tree.
I imagine that the beaks came from the first birds who sang loud enough to wake the sleeping warriors, and that they only added that ingredient out of a sense of revenge on all things cute and cheerful.
Scotland’s solution to overdoing it is to drink Irn-Bru, a locally-brewed soft drink. Pronounced “iron brew”, it is one of the most popular drinks in the country.
Full of caffeine, sugar, food dyes and traces of quinine, it is by far the most palatable cure on this list. As an added bonus, its neon-bright orange colouring will ensure that even the most bloodshot eyes can find it when you stagger to the fridge.
Deep Fried Canary
The Ancient Romans didn’t seem to like birds any more than the Assyrians did, especially when they were suffering the after-effects of one of their infamous orgies.
Canaries were their target of choice and, to stop these tiny songbirds from crooning their cheerful songs in the early morn, they silenced them forever by cutting off their heads, skinning them and tossing their tiny bodies into a pot of hot oil.
The crispy critters were considered a fine way to cure a hangover, and could be consumed in blessed silence.
Pickled Sheep’s eyesIn Outer Mongolia, they swear by a concoction of pickled sheep’s eyes in tomato juice. I'm not sure whether this is actually a cure, or if anyone offered this vile cocktail just suddenly declares they are feeling “much better thanks” - after having their breakfast stare back up at them out of a mug of murky red sludge.
No one wants their morning libation to have eyes even more bloodshot than their own.
Here’s looking at ewe, kid
The “Prairie Oyster”“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” seems to be the theory behind this stomach-churning remedy. Easy enough for even the groggiest sufferer, all you have to do is crack an egg into a glass and add a dash of Worcestershire sauce or Tabasco.
Most recipes call for a pinch of salt and pepper, but what the hell is the point of that, when the next step is to down the entire contents in one shot, ensuring that you don’t break the yolk while doing so? There’s not enough salt in the world to make that task any tastier.
Pickled FishFeeling peckish despite your delicate condition? Then try eating rollmops to clear your head and get yourself back in the game.
These fillets of pickled herring, wrapped around slivers of onions and pickles, have serious pucker power, perfect for waking up your still-slumbering senses.
Variations exist throughout northern Europe, and many are touted as sure-fire hangover cures.
TripeTripe soup seems to appear in several cultures as a remedy for the night before, though what magical healing properties can be found in eating a greasy pile of cow stomach can only be pondered by researchers with hardier constitutions than mine.
In Romania, ciorba de burta is made by boiling tripe in a salty root vegetable soup, seasoned with garlic, hot peppers and globs of sour cream.
This fiery soup is made with tripe, leg tendons and cow’s feet, liberally dosed with chili paste and cilantro. It’s likely to make the cure far more memorable than anything you did the night before.
SootTaking the idea of ingesting charcoal for an upset stomach to a whole new level, 19th century chimney sweeps were known to dose themselves with a snootful of soot, mixed into warm milk.
Not satisfied with just being covered from head to toe in ash and carcinogens, the sweeps would willingly ingest something that would make most of us upchuck even if not hungover.
For those among you who avoid eating anything that used to be part of another animal's digestion, Korea has their own tried and true remedy.
Haejangguk literally means “soup to chase a hangover”, and is loaded with everything the body needs, and a few things I am certain it doesn’t.
Made from pork spines, coagulated ox blood, dried cabbage and vegetables, ancient records suggest that it was the first delivery food sent to cure a hangover, delivered at dawn on the morning after large banquets.
NikolashkaCredit for the invention of this Russian remedy is given to Tsar Nicholas II, who obviously had an iron will and a marked lack of taste buds.
Take a slice of lemon, put a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of coffee on top, and eat in one bite.
You’d have to eat it in one bite; I don’t know that many people who’d be brave enough to take a second dose of that concoction.
By the time your eyes have stopped watering and you can catch your breath, the hangover should be forgotten, if not actually gone.
Vegemite on Toast
Salty, and with a flavor vaguely reminiscent of sucking on a beef bouillon cube, its curative powers are strongest when spread on toast.
Like the pickle juice, advocates of this remedy swear that the salt and vitamin content helps to ease their suffering.
Yaka Mein. – “Old Sober”Another cure from the home of Mardi Gras, Yaka Mein’s other name is “Old Sober” for its reputation in being the ultimate hangover remedy.
In a town that parties as much as New Orleans does, hangover cures must be a staple of every diner.
This soup is a mishmash of cultural comfort foods, containing salty beef broth, salty soy sauce, salted vegetables, spaghetti noodles and pork or beef, topped off with a hard-boiled egg.
I am sure the egg is salted too, because why mess with a theme?
The sad, wizened little globes of fruit pack a salty, sour punch that can bring tears to your eyes and clear the foggiest of heads.
According to the Japanese, the acids it contains are supposed to improve digestion and act as a kickass pick me up.
The men of Sicily once believed that their heaving stomachs and aching heads could be cured by the mystical healing properties of a dried bull’s penis. Apparently the consumption of such a manly morsel was enough to banish all traces of their hangover.
How could eating dried sex organs possibly help? My theory is that, by the time they finished chewing that much testosterone-soaked jerky, they had forgotten all about the hangover.
Italian sausage anyone?