Christmas is once more upon us and, as we all know, tis the season to be jolly. For many, it is a fun but exhausting round of social engagements and obligations. Tis also the season when moderation and diets fall by the wayside and general willpower seems to allude everyone.
Sobriety or any semblance of responsible drinking takes a particular hit at this time of year. Who among us has not woken up the morning after a Christmas party feeling like death warmed-up, swearing we will never drink again? In my drinking days (pre-herbal epiphany), I was the proud owner of many monumental hangovers and tried every kind of over-the-counter cure with mixed success. So when I came to write my pre-Christmas blog I was reminded of my bacchanalian days and I wondered if there was a more natural way to get over the worst of the-morning-after-the night-before fug.
It turns out there are lots of natural remedies such as milk thistle which are known to help with the worst. But let’s be honest – few of us are organised enough to buy some in preparation. So I began to look at remedies that can be easily be found in the kitchen cupboard or even the backyard.
We all know that excess alcohol dehydrates and that drinking water helps hangovers. But tea made with boiling water and herbs hydrates just as well as a pint of cold water. In fact, the warmer the water the faster it will flush out your system.
Potassium levels are depleted when you over imbibe. The most obvious boost comes from bananas, but there are wild herbs that are also high in potassium. One such plant growing abundantly even at this time of year is dandelion, a highly nutritious boost your body craves in the winter which contains vitamins A, B6 and C plus sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and iron. Dandelion is also a well known purifying herb, known to gently cleanse the liver and guaranteed to eliminate all those toxins while replenishing lost minerals. You can eat the leaves but if you are feeling a tad queasy then a tea made from the leaves could be more palatable. Three or four freshly-washed, picked and torn dandelion leaves in a teapot should suffice, remembering that dandelion is also a laxative so probably best not to overdo it.
To improve the flavour of the tea and to allay any sickly feelings a handful of fresh peppermint leaves or freshly-chopped ginger root will really help. Ginger in particular will also wake you up and provide an energy boost.
Honey is the final vital ingredient to this witches brew, providing you with natural sugars, minerals and a general ability to soothe and heal. If you can manage a few cups of this tea, your symptoms should be relieved and will hopefully enable you to consume the final essential to even your keel – carbohydrates. Yes, there’s a reason we all crave stodgy food after a blow-out; our body craves carbohydrates so forgo any low-carb diets and, just for today, enjoy.
Nothing is going to make you feel completely unsullied after a big night out but with the right ingredients you can make yourself feel human. So before you reach for the painkillers, which are likely to make you feel nauseous, or a sachet of pharmaceuticals to get rid of any other side effects, take a minute to think how much you’ve just pummelled your system and how you probably owe it to your internal organs to give them a more natural, gentle cleanse rather than another bashing.
Main Image: Hangover tea ingredients
- Do not use dandelion if you suffer from low blood pressure. Do not take the root without medical guidance if you have any bile duct disorders or gallstones.
- Do not take ginger root tea if you are pregnant.
DISCLAIMER: These are some of my personal experiences combined with information I have researched over a number of years. I am not encouraging people to self-medicate; in the treatment of specific conditions it is best to consult a herbalist or your GP. If you should develop an adverse reaction to any of the herbs mentioned above please stop using them immediately. Always take care when identifying plants.