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What is the world’s best hangover cure?

By Anita Isalska   9 December 2011 2:43pm Europe/London

Did you wake up with a desert-dry mouth, hammering head pain and a faint sense of regret? If your festive merriment occasionally gets out of hand, there’s a world of hangover cures to soothe you, shock you, and possibly make you feel a little bit worse. Take a deep breath, mutter ‘never again’, and check out Lonely Planet’s favourite ways to heal a hangover.

So many cocktails, which one was the culprit? Photo by Jerry Alexander
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Japan: plums, miso soup and a hot bath

Japan has a whole menu of remedies after a night on the sake. A nourishing bowl of miso soup can replace lost fluids and salts, and yeasty kombucha tea can boost your friendly bacteria levels. Alternatively, a bite of umeboshi pickled plum is said to restore your vigour and give that beleaguered liver a boost. Nibble it straight if you want to look tough, or soak it in water and drink the infusion. And for those who can stomach a slap-up meal, drown the hangover in a plate of sushi before heading to the onsen (hot springs) to sweat it out. Kill or cure, then.

Philippines: a succulent snack of duck embryo

Putting away some protein can definitely restore your strength, but doing this Filipino-style means duck-embryo delicacy balut. A wobbly poached egg is enough to make many hangover sufferers take a deep steadying breath, but when the egg is accompanied by a beaky underdeveloped chick, blinking out from its eggshell, who could blame you for turning pale?

Poland: get pickled, eat pickles

The legendary drinking tolerance of the Poles doesn’t make them impervious to the occasional hangover. After a shot too many of Zubrowka, Poles reach for something sour: a swig of pickle juice to zap their tastebuds and bump up their salt levels, a nibble on a gherkin or some pickled herring on rye bread. And if the reason for your morning-after malady is that you tried to outdrink a Pole, we suspect you won’t be trying that again.

India: replenish yourself with coconut water

Refreshing, electrolyte-rich and delicate in taste, coconut water is India’s preferred hangover cure. Coconut water is the clear liquid from young green coconuts, not the creamy staple ingredient of Thai curries (rather too rich for a post-revelry beverage). So there’s no assault on the tastebuds here, just a healthy and thirst-quenching tonic. If only the exotic flavour wasn’t so reminiscent of the Pina Coladas that got you into this state…

Italy: a strong espresso

As you gaze groggily through bloodshot eyes, a hot Italian coffee might seem like the perfect lightning bolt to bring you back to life. But Italian espresso is a controversial cure, as coffee’s diuretic properties are likely to dehydrate you even more. This added strain on your system will easily outlast the killer buzz you get from Italy’s dark elixir. But at least proper Italian coffee is worth a little extra pain.

Great Britain: hair of the dog

Drinkers of Great Britain laugh at creative hangover cures, because the solution is right in front of you: just keep drinking! Having a ‘hair of the dog that bit you’ means a gulp of alcoholic top-up the morning after a heavy night. And yes, an extra slug of booze will boost your sugar levels and there are definitely some vitamins in that Bloody Mary, but there’s only so long you can postpone the pain…


Share your home remedies and hangover cures on Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forum or in the comments section below!