Natural Hangover Recovery Tips and Remedies
Uh oh, rough morning after a night out? Head pounding, stomach churning, world spinning? We've all been there. Hangovers are the dreaded but inevitable consequence of overindulging in alcohol.
The good news is, you don't have to suffer endlessly until your hangover finally lifts. There are research-backed natural remedies to help relieve hangover symptoms and recover faster.
In this guide, learn how to:
- Understand the science behind what causes a hangover
- Prevent or minimize hangovers through smart drinking choices
- Speed alcohol detoxification from your body
- Settle an upset "morning after" stomach
- Rehydrate and restore electrolyte balance
- Soothe a throbbing hangover headache
- Pep up when you feel sluggish and low
- Support your liver to process leftover alcohol
- Take an evidence-based hangover cure supplement
- Know when to seek medical treatment
Follow these proven tips to bounce back quickly and painlessly so you can enjoy the fun times without the morning misery.
The Science Behind Hangovers
To banish hangovers, it helps to first understand what’s happening in your body when you imbibe too much alcohol.
Drinking alcohol suppresses the release of vasopressin, an anti-diuretic hormone. This causes you to urinate more leading to dehydration and fluid loss.
Blood Sugar Swings
Initially alcohol elevates blood sugar. But when the liver focuses on alcohol detoxification, blood sugar drops rapidly, resulting in tremors, sweating and weakness characteristic of low blood sugar.
Alcohol directly irritates the stomach lining. This triggers nausea, vomiting and diarrhea common in hangovers. Alcohol also delays gastric emptying causing that bloated, full sensation.
When alcohol breaks down via oxidation, toxic chemical byproducts like acetaldehyde and free radicals are generated. These interfere with brain and body function in the aftermath, and ramp up inflammation.
Inflammation and Immune Changes
Hangovers kickstart inflammatory responses. Levels of cytokines, prostaglandins and other inflammatory markers soar. Your immune system is thrown off balance.
While alcohol initially induces sleep, as liver continues detoxifying alcohol overnight it causes sleep fragmentation. This impairs sleep quality, leaving you groggy.
Now that you understand why hangovers happen, let’s go over some smart precautions.
Preventing Hangovers Through Smart Drinking
You can reduce the chances of being felled by a hangover if you:
Eat before drinking: Never drink on an empty stomach. Eating foods containing fat, protein and carbs slows alcohol absorption into your system.
Choose clear liquors: Darker alcohols like bourbon, rum and red wine contain higher concentrations of unhealthy congeners that exacerbate hangovers.
Alternate alcoholic drinks with water: For every alcoholic drink, also have a glass of water which offsets fluid loss and dehydration.
Limit total alcohol intake: Stick within recommended limits - no more than 2 drinks per day for men or 1 drink per day for women.
Sip drinks slowly: Gulping drinks causes a sudden high blood alcohol level, faster inebriation, and worse hangovers.
Avoid drinking late into the night: Stop drinking at least one to two hours before bed to allow your body sufficient time to process alcohol before sleep.
Take activated charcoal: Activated charcoal binds to alcohol’s toxic byproducts and reduces their impact on your system when taken before or after drinking.
Consider anti-hangover supplements: Certain supplements like Dihydromyricetin (DHM) and milk thistle help relieve hangover symptoms when taken alongside alcoholic drinks.
However, if it’s already the dreaded next morning, use these remedies to cure your hangover as quickly as possible.
Natural Remedies to Relieve Hangover Symptoms
These science-backed natural solutions counteract the root causes of hangover symptoms for speedy relief:
Combat fluid loss and electrolyte imbalance with these drinks:
- Water – drink steadily throughout the day
- Fresh fruit and vegetable juices – replenish vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and natural sugars
- Coconut water – contains electrolytes and minerals like potassium, sodium and manganese
- Vegetable broth – restores hydration and replenishes sodium
Settle Your Stomach
Relieve nausea, vomiting and gut inflammation using:
- Ginger tea – anti-nausea and gut-soothing gingerol compounds
- Mint tea – menthol has pain-relieving properties that also combat nausea
- Dihydromyricetin – anti-inflammatory flavonoid shown to relieve stomach issues
- Probiotic foods – yogurt, kefir, kimchi contain beneficial bacteria to improve gut health
Soothe Your Head
Alleviate that pounding headache and throbbing head pain with:
- Willow bark tea – contains fever-, pain- and inflammation-reducing salicin
- Peppermint oil – apply topically on temples and neck for cooling pain relief
- Butterbur extract – reduces headache pain and severity as shown in clinical trials
- Feverfew – traditional migraine remedy containing parthenolide that inhibits inflammatory factors
- Oxygenated water – additional oxygen can relieve headache by reducing hangover-induced brain swelling
Restore Energy Levels
Boost low energy and mental fog using:
- Unsweetened coffee – provides caffeine without dehydrating effect of sugar
- Green tea – contains hydrating catechins plus low-dose energizing caffeine
- Complex carbs – plain toast, oatmeal, quinoa or other unrefined grains
- Bananas – provide potassium, natural sugars and carbs to replenish muscle glycogen
- Ashwagandha – this adaptogenic herb counters fatigue and supports stamina
When you’re feeling fragile, go easy on heavy foods, sugary substances, and acidic juices. Stick with bland foods and natural remedies.
Certain supplements offer more concentrated hangover healing.
Supplements Scientifically Proven to Cure Hangovers
Specific supplements contain compounds uniquely suited to counteract the underlying causes behind hangover symptoms:
- Dihydromyricetin (DHM) – flavonoid shown to quickly lower blood alcohol levels through alcohol metabolism; relieves nausea and headaches
- Milk thistle – silymarin flavonoids protect liver cells from alcohol toxicity and support detoxification
- Prickly pear – contains antioxidants that break down acetaldehyde, a toxic alcohol byproduct; reduces inflammation
- Vitamin B complexes – B vitamins like B12, niacin and thiamine restore energy and brain function depleted by alcohol
- Magnesium – critical electrolyte lost through excess urination from alcohol; deficiency worsens headaches, fatigue and muscle cramps
- Omega 3s – EPA/DHA fatty acids like those in fish oil protect against alcohol-induced gut leakiness and inflammation
For best results, take supplements alongside eating rehydrating and replenishing foods and beverages.
Alcohol binges tax your body. It’s important to show your organs some TLC afterward.
Caring for Your Body the Day After Drinking
Be gentle with yourself the day following alcohol overconsumption. Follow these self-care tips:
- Replenish with a green smoothie – blend spinach, banana, mango, avocado, non-dairy milk, flaxseed for hydration, antioxidants, nutrition. A perfect “breakfast of champions” after a night out!
- Take a soothing bath – relax muscles and unwind in an Epsom salt bath containing lavender oil to reduce stress. The warmth further eases headache.
- Nap lightly – limit naps to 30 minutes to refresh without interrupting your sleep-wake cycle. You need consistent sleep to fully recover.
- Drink electrolyte water – keep sipping electrolyte beverages to rehydrate and replenish what alcohol depleted.
- Go for light exercise - gentle yoga, walking, stretching rejuvenate your stiff, achy, hungover body. Just don’t overexert yourself.
- Eat mineral-rich foods – bone broth, leafy greens, citrus fruits, nuts and seeds supply vitamins, minerals and electrolytes alcohol strips away.
- Consider liver support supplements – milk thistle, B vitamins, glutathione and NAC aid your liver’s recovery.
With TLC and natural remedies, you'll bounce back in no time. Use medicinal herbs cautiously if breastfeeding or pregnant.
Getting Medical Help for Severe Hangovers
In most cases, hangovers subside on their own within 24 to 48 hours as your body clears itself of excess alcohol and hydrates.
But seek medical help right away if you experience:
- Extreme vomiting, shaking, confusion or loss of consciousness
- Signs of alcohol poisoning like clammy skin, dramatic confusion, severely slowed breathing
- Jaundice (yellowing skin and eyes)
- Severe headache, abdominal pain or vomiting that lasts more than 48 hours
These symptoms could signal a more serious health issue requiring emergency treatment. Better safe than sorry!
While no cure-all can completely prevent hangovers, with the right preparatory and recovery measures you can avoid the worst hangover misery. Drink responsibly, hydrate well, replenish nutrients, and rest. Your body will thank you!