With Christmas party season on the horizon, we may well be in for a hangover or two. But don't worry: there are supplements that can help ease the pain.
🕒 5 min read
It's party season, but what can you do if you have overdone it with one merry sherry or bubbly prosecco too many? There might not be a 'cure' for hangovers as such, but there is some evidence that these herbs, spices and vitamins could help relieve or head off some of the more unpleasant symptoms.
Artichoke (for overindulgence)
These little spiky plants (actually a type of thistle) have been used for centuries, and are said to improve digestion and liver health.
Artichoke extract is increasingly popular as a supplement, particularly at this time of year when liver health can take a bit of a battering from party food and drink.
You can include artichokes in your diet or take a supplement of artichoke extract, which is said to increase bile production to help to remove harmful toxins.
Given artichoke's popularity as something of a 'party supplement', it's curious that there are no actual studies to show if it can reduce hangover symptoms.
However, one trial involving 90 people with non-alcoholic liver disease showed that taking 600mg of artichoke extract daily led to improved liver function.
Supports digestion and liver health
- 360mg artichoke extract with 7.2mg cynarin per tablet
- Extracted from the stems and leaves of the plant
- Added calcium for digestion and vitamin B6 for metabolism
Ginger (for nausea)
This little knobbly root is a powerful antioxidant that has been used for centuries to alleviate nausea and settle an upset stomach.
Some studies (mainly carried out on women with morning sickness) have actually shown that it can be more effective than some anti-nausea medications (and without the side effects).
You can eat it in a curry or stir-fry, or create a tea using sliced or grated ginger root seeped in hot water for around five minutes. It should be sipped very slowly.
Eating crystallised ginger is another option, although this can be very sugary. Alternatively, ginger is available in supplement form.
Equivalent to 12,000mg of whole ginger root
- Helps to support digestion
- Providing 20mg gingerols
- Standardised extract
Chamomile (for reducing 'hangxiety')
The tell-tale signs of hangover – a pounding headache, nausea, feeling muddle-headed and like you can't cope with any sudden movement or noise can also make you feel anxious and slightly fearful the morning after (what has been dubbed 'hangxiety').
This is where the calming and relaxing properties of chamomile come in. It can help soothe your stomach and your alcohol-frazzled nerves, plus it will help re-hydrate you as you slowly sip the tea.
Milk thistle (for liver health)
Milk thistle is a popular herbal remedy that has long been used to help deal with the effects of overindulgence, such as upset stomach, but it is also believed to have liver-protecting properties, which is why it is often suggested as a hangover cure.
The compound extracted from milk thistle seeds is called silymarin, and studies suggest that this antioxidant could help to detoxify some of the harmful compounds in alcohol, thus helping to protect your liver.
Surprisingly, there are as yet no studies to ascertain whether it is effective for treating hangovers, but anecdotally many people testify to milk thistle's hangover-relieving effects.
Milk thistle can be taken both before and after your night out.
Milk Thistle Complete
Milk thistle extract with B vitamins, calcium and choline to support your digestive system and liver function
- 50mg milk thistle extract equivalent to 1,200mg milk thistle seeds
- With added calcium for the normal function of digestive enzymes and choline for liver function
- Added B vitamins reduce fatigue
Turmeric (to fight inflammation)
Turmeric – or more specifically curcumin, the compound that gives turmeric its vibrant golden colour – has been called the 'golden hangover cure.'
Curcumin is known to have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant protective effects in the body, and is said to help reduce the inflammation and oxidative stress in the liver caused by alcohol.
Although there are currently no studies investigating its effects on hangovers in humans, a study on rats fed a typical 'Western' diet high in sugar and fat and then given turmeric extract showed less liver inflammation than in the rats not given curcumin.
Fresh or dried turmeric can be added to curries or smoothies, or you can make a turmeric tea by steeping the root in hot water. It can also be taken as a supplement, both before you go out drinking and the morning after.
7 times faster-acting than standard turmeric
- Advanced liquid curcumin capsules
- Faster-acting and better absorbed than standard turmeric
- 500mg turmeric per capsule
Vitamin B complex (for its replenishing effect)
Alcohol is a diuretic, and when we drink alcohol we lose crucial vitamins and minerals – including B vitamins, which are water-soluble and excreted from the body more when we drink, as we tend to go to the toilet more frequently.
A deficiency of Vitamin B1 is common in people who drink heavily. Taking a vitamin B complex supplement before and after drinking can help restore the vitamin B levels in your body, and help you recover fully from a night of partying.
Vitamin B Complex
A vegan combination of all the essential B vitamins to support your brain, heart and energy levels
- 100% NRV of all eight B-complex vitamins
- Supports immunity and reduces tiredness and fatigue
- Heart, brain and nervous system support
Ginseng (to boost alcohol metabolism)
The dried ginseng root has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine for a range of health needs, including increasing stamina and improving memory.
A study from 2014 has shown that supplementing with red ginseng (a type of Panax ginseng widely used in Asian countries) appears to help metabolise the effects of acetaldehyde in the alcohol (a by-product of the metabolism of alcohol) and reduce the severity of hangover effects, such as memory loss, the inability to concentrate, upset stomach and dehydration.
Ginkgo & Ginseng
For cognitive and mental performance
- Contributes to cognitive function and mental performance
- Supports energy metabolism and combats tiredness and fatigue
- High-quality ginkgo biloba and panax ginseng extracts
Borage oil (to reduce hangover symptoms)
Borage oil is derived from the seeds of starflower, and is a rich source of omega 6-rich gamma linolenic acid (GLA) – a fatty acid that has been found to be helpful in reducing inflammation.
It is also linked to improved liver function after drinking. In one small study, participants given a supplement that included borage oil alongside vitamins B6 and B1, vitamin C, magnesium and silymarin before and after drinking reported an 88 per cent reduction in hangover symptoms.
However, because the borage oil was combined with other suggested hangover 'cures', it is difficult to isolate whether it was the oil itself or one of the other ingredients (or the combination of all of them) that helps.
Starflower Oil 1000mg
Nature's richest source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)
- 1000mg pure natural source starflower oil
- 207mg GLA and 131mg omega 9 fatty acids per vegan capsule
- Commonly taken by women