We’ve all been there. The jumpy stomach that could give up at any moment and a splitting migraine that no amount of paracetamol and TLC seems to shift. There are few feelings worse than a brutal hangover, and worst of all – it’s all your own fault. If you’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed and your partner has had to fetch you a pan to throw up in, take a look at these weird and wonderful hangover cures from around the globe. Approach with caution – those further across the field don’t depend solely on a trusty breakfast bap like we do.
Lemon Wedges in the Armpit
This hangover solution from the Puerto Ricans is more of a preventative measure, so chances are if you’ve taken the time to search for this blog, it’s already too late. However, if you’re reading this at pre-drinks in anticipation of a long night, slip the lemon wedge from your glass underneath your arms and hope for the best. If the Puerto Ricans are right, maybe you won’t need to re-visit this list again tomorrow. Prevention is better than cure, after all.
It sounds a lot like a cruel prank played on a suffering soul, but somehow it’s one of the most well-known hangover cures in the United States. One raw egg, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Perhaps this is an instant, foolproof hangover cure – I’ll take their word for it, though. I’m much more inclined to opt for a stodgy fried breakfast and a cappuccino.
13 Black Pins in the Bottle
In Haiti, there are some voodoo enthusiasts who suggest stabbing the cork of the bottle you drank from with thirteen black pins to cure your hangover symptoms. It might feel therapeutic to shift the blame to the bottle, but how do you take it out on the five tequila shots you ordered at 4am? You can’t. If, like me, you can’t pin you agony on one solitary bottle of wine, you might need to read on to find a better alternative.
This one doesn’t actually sound too bad to me. Having been known to polish off the leftover vinegar from jars of pickled onions, I personally am no stranger to a like pickled tipple. However, judging by the look of disgust from all those who witness me indulge in the jar’s remnants, I think I’m probably alone in this. The Polish opt for a tall glass of pickle juice to restore the electrolytes lost during last night’s session. I’m on board with it. If the thought of a good sprinkling of vinegar on your fish and chips makes you unhappy, maybe leave the pickle juice in the cupboard. I’m sure that the thirteen pins in the bottle cork will do just as well.
Perhaps not the most readily available or most appealing, but the Sicilians recommend a serving of dried bull’s penis if you’re feeling a little fragile. There is a method in the madness. Bull’s penis is chocker-block full of vitamins, proteins, and minerals that can contribute to a steady recovery. This said, I think I’ll just stick to a Berocca and a bacon sandwich.
It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself when you’re really hungover, and I’m guilty of rolling around in pain wailing like a stray cat in the street. The Germans are clearly accustomed to this too, naming their hangover cure ‘katerfrüstück’. ‘Kater’ ,German for a male cat, is a tribute to the wailing tomcat that you’ve become this morning. Comprising of pickled herring wrapped around onion and gherkin, this Germanic solution to spirit sickness is perhaps more favourable than the Prairie Oyster, but still not something I see myself reaching for next time I’m feeling tender.
Beating with Birch Leaves in a Sauna
It might sound like the last thing you want to do as you clutch your stomach hoping to make it to the toilet in time, but some Russians swear that the only way to overcome a hangover is to take a beating in sweltering heat. It’s certainly not my idea of a relaxing recovery, but at least you’ll sweat out the toxins.
Lying in Wet Sand
Opposite side of the spectrum, but a similar sort of idea. The old Irish tradition to stave off sickness after a long night on the lash is a good lie down… in soggy sand. Perhaps the minerals in the river water penetrate the skin and restore moisture, or perhaps this ritual just serves as a reminder that things could be worse. Either way, it’s probably more pleasant than the sauna thing.
Poached, Fertilised Duck Embryo
This one isn’t for the faint hearted, and if bull’s penis and pickled herring made you shudder, you might want to skip over this one. For anyone brave enough (with some oddly specific resources), the developing embryo of a duck contains cysteine, which breaks down alcoholic toxins in the liver. It’s a far cry from the scrambled egg you might enjoy on your fry-up, but it’s certainly an interesting way to stave off sickness. The fertilised egg is know as ‘balut’, and is a delicacy in the Philippines that is especially known for its ability to cure a nasty hangover.
If I lost you at lemon wedges in the armpits, now is a good time to tune back in. The Netherlands like to stick to the ‘hair of the dog that bit you’ philosophy. Tallying up all of last nights drinks might make you feel nauseous but, from experience, it can sometimes be the only thing that settles your sensitive stomach. Grab your friends and take them back to the scene of the crime (if you’re still welcome there) for a stein or two. Try not to let it turn into too many, though. Two accumulated hangovers can turn into a super hangover that’ll see you downing raw eggs and asking your significant other to beat you with a birch leaf.
Perhaps next time you’re on your travels, you’ll encounter one of these unusual methods of tackling the post-party blues. If you’re brave enough to stomach some of these alternative options, good for you – let me know how it goes. Meanwhile, you’ll find me with a cup of coffee, clutching a bag of frozen peas against my forehead. Just writing this was enough to instigate heaving. Happy hangovers to all of you, hang on in there!