We've all been there. We get together with our pals, feeding off of one another's excitement. One drink turns into two, then before you know it, you're getting in a cab, dropping french fries down your shirt. Then it happens — you wake up with a headache the size of New York state.
Sometimes, you feel as though nothing will help. Regardless, to numb the pain, you decide to go to brunch and carry on, downing a couple 'hair of the dog' concoctions. Where did this expression come from — and why do we reach for more booze the morning after? There has to be a better way, right?
Originally, this expression literally referred to the hair from a dog. Within the 1898 Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, a dog bite remedy was referenced. Once bitten, patients were treated by placing hair from the dog into their wound. The true origin is debatable, but one thing is certain — this concept of treating hangover symptoms based on its cause, is seen among many cultures.
In Romania, for instance, they use the phrase, "Cui pe cui se scoate" — or a nail fastener pulls out a nail. Similarly, Austrians reach for a Reparatur-Seidl, or a repair beer. From Sweden to Bulgaria, Costa Rica to Mexico, each culture shares this idea when it comes to the morning after.
It's clear that people across the globe fight fire with fire — sipping on booze the day after to take the edge off, but are they doing themselves any good?
When it comes to this theory, the treatment itself is based on withdrawal syndrome. Although it's true that continuing to drink can prolong withdrawal symptoms based on metabolic processes, it's not a cure. In reality, this is more of a short-term solution, that can actually result in worsening symptoms.
When you look at the available research, there's no evidence that continuing to drink will in any way 'cure' your hangover. As mentioned, at best — it will postpone those dreaded consequences. As you put alcohol back into your system, you're just tricking your body. Eventually, symptoms such as nausea and a headache will surface — and sometimes with a vengeance.
When you focus on what a hangover truly is, this makes sense. As you drink one rum and coke after the other, the alcohol gets broken down into a toxin known as acetaldehyde. The more you drink, the greater the toxic build-up. Once the damage is done, and you feel as though the world is crumbling around you, the only thing that can truly remedy your symptoms, is time.
Like many aspects of your health and in life in general, the best approach is being proactive. Meaning, take preventative measures before a hangover begins to surface. Here are just a few tips to help you overcome the morning-after, so that you don't waste your day in bed.
So the next time you wake up feeling as though there's a house sitting on top of your head, don't reach for a hair of the dog. Sure, you'll achieve short-term relief by chugging back a Bloody Mary or two, but that dog will quickly come back and bite you on the butt.
- Nick McNaught | Fuel Foods
- Mark Birnbaum | EMM Group Inc
- Jazz Chohan
- Charlene Woods | SBE Entertainment