Hangover cures tried and tested - even 'Hair of the Dog'.

Zip HydroTap
Thanks to our brand partner, Zip HydroTap

Because we all make mistakes sometimes…

I, like most adults, occasionally indulge in a tipple or two. But sometimes that indulgence doesn’t stop at one or two.

Hey, it happens to the best — and even the most responsible — of us.

While 77 per cent of us are aware of a hangover’s delightful symptoms (headaches, trembling, fatigue, dehydration, nausea, etc) scientists aren’t 100 per cent sure about what actually causes them.

Right now the most compelling theory is that hangovers result from a build-up of acetaldehyde. As the body processes alcohol, this is the toxic compound created as a by-product.

But now, to the important stuff: how to make the pain go away. Luckily for us, there are plenty of theories floating around.

1. Greasy food.

For today’s experiment, a greasy burger will gladly suffice. And my stomach feels instantly better, my head feels cleared and I am far less tired.

But much to my dismay, this wears off pretty quickly and I’m right back where I started. Science tells us that it’s not what you eat the morning after but what you ate the night before that will affect your hangover.

So while research might not support a greasy hangover fix, that’s probably not going to stop me when it tastes so damn good.

Verdict: 6/10

2. Hair of the dog.

It is with a heavy heart and a queasy stomach that I attempt this so-called remedy. It is the last thing I feel like ingesting, but I manage to down a poor woman’s Bloody Mary for the cause. And while it eased my symptoms for all of 30 minutes, unfortunately my hangover came back with a vengeance.

And science agrees. Evidence shows that more alcohol won’t cover the underlying physiological problems and will only delay the inevitable, if not make it worse.

Verdict: 2/10

3. Exercise.

The “sweat it out” theory is a popular if not incredibly masochistic remedy, so I opt for a medium-paced stroll. But it turns out there is no scientific evidence to prove that exercise will make you feel any better.

You’re also likely to make yourself even more dehydrated if you’re not drinking enough water throughout. The fresh air does clear my head a bit but the only major benefit I feel is the lessening of my guilt as I burn off all the drinks and grease I’ve consumed.

Verdict: 7/10

4. Sports drinks.

How Stuff Works says that thanks to alcohol’s diuretic nature, you pee out all the salts and minerals that keep your body functioning properly. I have to admit the sports drink does feel like it helps a little – I am way less parched and the shakes have eased. But the excessive sugar content is sending my headache into overdrive.


According to Samir Zakhari, Ph.D., director of the Division of Metabolism and Health Effects at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, research shows that sports drinks are no better for a hangover than tap water — so save your dollars.

Verdict: 7/10

5. Coffee.

While my flat white is giving me my regular buzz, my stomach is not psyched about it — I immediately feel queasy.

Scientifically, there’s disagreement over the effects of caffeine on fixing hangovers. Downing a diuretic could further dehydrate you and studies have shown that caffeine fails to provide tangible relief for your other symptomsMedical Daily suggests that herbal tea like ginger or peppermint might be a better brew.

Verdict: 5/10

6. Pain killers.

Doctors suggest easing a pounding headache with a recommended dosage of painkillers. But stick with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.

This remedy has been the most effective so far — after half an hour my headache is completely gone — but I can’t say the same for the rest of my symptoms.

Verdict: 8/10.

7. Water.

Alcohol is a diuretic and it’s, ahem, excessive consumption can lead to dehydration. It’s this dehydration that inflicts some of your worst hangover symptoms.

After drinking at least a litre of water I feel a million times better but the best method for this remedy is preventative. Drinking a tall glass of water between drinks and a few glasses more before you hit the hay is what will actually ease your hangover.

Verdict: 9/10

Unfortunately the only true way to cure a hangover is to avoid getting one in the first place.

Overall I’ve found – and science backs me up here – that a hangover has to run its course with the help of painkillers, rest and plenty of water.

Note: Mamamia encourages all readers to drink responsibly. 

Do you have a tried and true hangover cure? 

Want more? How about:

Why being dehydrated is just as bad as drink driving.

Can a glass of water help a 15-year-old kid beat a chess master?