We’ve all been there. We’ve all vowed to start a detox right away or warded off alcohol when we suffer the dreaded after-effects that persist following a night of over-indulging. When you feel like nothing can save you, there are a few things that actually can help you get rid of a hangover. Here are 7 tried, tested, and doctor-recommended hangover remedies:
Have you ever woken up with a mouth as dry as sandpaper the morning after a night of drinking? This is because dehydration is one of the primary side effects of drinking alcohol. Dehydration contributes to many common hangover symptoms such as thirst, fatigue , headache, and dizziness. To help rehydrate, increase your fluid consumption the next day by aiming for at least 2-3 liters of water, non-caffeinated herbal teas, or electrolyte-rich liquids such as coconut water or bone broth. Electrolytes help to further boost hydration by replacing the sodium, chloride, and potassium you lose from drinking alcohol. For an electrolyte replenishing trick, just 1-2 tsp of sea salt with lemon in water can quickly help you to rehydrate. You can also keep high-quality electrolyte tabs, powders, or drops on hand for a hangover saver.
One of the most common mistakes people make when hungover is to turn to comfort foods that are carbohydrate-rich. But to really get your body detoxing, your blood sugar balanced, and your metabolism revved, stick to protein and healthy fat as your go-to hangover foods. Protein —like the kind found in eggs, beans, meat, fish, or a vegan protein shake —is made up of amino acids essential to a part of detoxification, called phase 2 liver detoxification.
Because alcohol is a diuretic , you tend to lose a lot of water-soluble vitamins and nutrients after a night out. These include the important B-vitamins and vitamin C which help to support your body’s energy and recovery when detoxing from alcohol. Specifically, methylated-B-vitamins jump-start your liver into propelling all of that acetaldehyde, the toxic metabolite of alcohol, out of your system, through phase 1 liver detoxification and vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps protect the immune system from the toxic byproducts of excess alcohol consumption. The Parsley Health Rebuild shake contains a full array of these water-soluble hangover helpers, but you can give your liver extra love by boosting your intake of foods rich in these vitamins by opting for plenty of dark, leafy greens, citrus fruits, bell peppers, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and eggs that following day.
Turmeric is quite literally a golden hangover cure. This powerful anti-inflammatory herb not only helps to reduce the mental and physical effects of a hangover but also protects the body from the toxic effects of alcohol by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the liver. Think of it as your natural alternative to an aspirin! To make turmeric water, combine turmeric with lemon juice, a spoon of raw honey, and freshly grated ginger. Make a big pot with hot water, let it steep, strain it out, cool, and sip on it all day. For golden milk, you can add in a splash of canned coconut milk or some unsweetened plain almond milk with cinnamon to the basic recipe if desired. In addition to the anti-inflammatory turmeric, ginger is soothing to the gut and helpful if feeling nauseous the day after drinking while lemon and honey are packed with electrolytes that will move fluids into your system faster than water alone. Lastly, sprinkling in black pepper to your turmeric tonic can help to enhance the absorption of curcumin, turmeric’s most active anti-inflammatory compound, by up to 2,000 percent .
A massage is a way to let go passively, which is often exactly what’s needed when you’re overburdened with toxins. A hangover often comes not just with physical pain, but also psychic pain—a weird merry-go-round of guilt, “shoulds,” and negativity that is as irrational as it is all-consuming. A full-body, back or even just foot massage will give you the mind-body release you need, increase circulation and help drain out the toxins more efficiently.
While you may not feeling like moving from your bed, sweating is one of the best hangover remedies because it gently and safely eliminates additional toxic chemicals from alcohol from the body. This relieves some of the burden on the kidneys and liver. Getting in some light exercise, whether a brisk walk outside or an at-home yoga flow, can be an easy way to support both physical and mental detoxification when hungover. If you’re feeling too sluggish to exercise, opting for a quick sauna session can help you get the benefits of sweating without the added physical exertion—but remember to hydrate well, first!
Lastly, having a hot soak can be a big relief for a pounding head and an aching bod, but adding Epsom salts gives you a magnesium and sulfur boost to help you feel even more refreshed. These nutrients are absorbed through your skin while you soak, promoting more than just relaxation. Magnesium is nature’s anti-anxiety drug and sulfur is essential for phase 2 liver detoxification. (Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts also contain good levels of sulfur, so add these into your meals post-drinking to boost your intake.)
Aim for 15-20 mins in the bath and keep it as hot as you can—as mentioned above, the sweating will help you detoxify further. After your soak, lie down for about 20 mins and hydrate with cold lemon water or leftover turmeric tea. You’ll be feeling like yourself again in no time.
Dr. Robin Berzin is the founder and CEO of Parsley Health. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Robin completed medical school at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.