Hangover Cures – Do They Work?

Dr Deb Mills – Brisbane TMA Member

In about 4000BC, agriculture started, some say to make Beer as well as food.

They don’t call it inTOXicated for nothing … those enjoyable drinks also contain cell poisons that can affect all body systems for up to 72 hours. 

Even after your alcohol has fallen to zero, there are still some measurable effects on manual dexterity, memory, reaction time, visual-spatial skills, and attention.

We also recommend that persons avoid alcohol for 48 hours before or after vaccinations to get the best result from vaccines.

There are a host of interesting hangover cures that have been proposed over the years


  • Lemon in armpits before drinking (!)


  • LIQUIDS – cucumber/ tomato /cabbage/ banana peels/ buffalo milk/ coffee / tea with
  • ADDED: tripe/ raw eggs/ dried bullock penis/ sheep eyes/ rabbit droppings
  • FLAVOURINGS: pepper / salt / garlic/ Worcestershire sauce
  • FOODS: pickled herring, pickled plum, cod, deep fried canaries!
    or even …
  • PUNISH THE BOOZE: place 13 black pins in the cork of the bottle
  • MORE BOOZE: ‘Hair of the dog’

Do they work? Or does consuming all these unpleasant things just take your mind off the bad headache?

Needless to say, the above cures do not have much of an evidence base to support them.

A recent study in the BMJ found NO compelling evidence exists to suggest that any conventional or complementary intervention is effective for preventing or treating alcohol hangover. The most effective way to avoid the symptoms of alcohol induced hangover is to practise abstinence or moderation.

Alcohol seems to increases the likelihood of sexually transmitted disease and unintentional injury in travellers. (more info)

Even locally, the figures show that an Australian who consumes more than 8 standard drinks a day is twice as likely to die from injury than chronic disease.

As with many things, alcoholic drinks should be consumed in moderation.

These are Australian Guidelines

  • For healthy men and women, drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day reduces your risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury over a lifetime.
  • Drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion.

Ideally these guidelines should be followed on holidays as well!

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