Since we’ve just gone through the season of excess, I thought I’d do some Web sleuthing to determine alcohol’s economic impact on society. Estimates vary dramatically but a report from the reputable National Institute of Health (NIH) suggests the impact in the U.S. could be more than $100B annually.
Regardless of the exact number, the line of thought leads to an intriguing New Year’s day speculation:
Can you prevent or cure a hangover?
Of course, legends abound. Conventional wisdom suggests lots of water and ibuprofen either before or after drinking. I had a college friend who swore by a concoction containing a raw egg yolk and Worcester sauce as a morning-after remedy. Interestingly, ginseng appears to be an Internet favorite.
Two UK researchers decided to systematically vet all available research to determine if there are any effective hangover cures. Fifteen studies tested a wide variety of treatments, including borage, prickly pear, propranolol, and tolfenamic acid. Perhaps not surprisingly, the authors conclude:
No compelling evidence exists to suggest that any conventional or complementary intervention is effective for preventing or treating alcohol hangover. The most effective way to avoid the symptoms of alcohol induced hangover is to practise abstinence or moderation.
If nothing works, why do people swear by these home remedies?