I don’t want sound as if I’m stereotyping students, but unless things have changed massively since my twenties, hangovers are pretty much an inevitable part of the new academic year for everyone at university – especially, it seems, for freshers!
That throbbing head and parched mouth feeling of a hangover is caused by your liver effectively using the available water in your system to process the alcohol, so other organs – especially your brain – end up becoming dehydrated. The nausea is caused by alcohol irritating the lining of your stomach and interfering with your natural acid balance – and the general groggy feeling is down to loss of vitamins and often a really bad night’s sleep to boot.
It sounds really boring to just say ‘be sensible’, but there are some simple tips and tricks you can try as a hangover cure that mean that the morning after doesn’t have to be too high a price to pay for the fun the night before:
Don’t start drinking too early – if friends suggest a few around lunchtime before a big night out, keep your consumption in check. You will stay compos mentis for longer and can take mortifying pictures of all your friends to bribe them with later. Although drinking in the SU, bars or clubs is more expensive than drinking at home, do avoid the temptation to load up on booze – especially spirits – before you go out. If you are well on the way before you even hit the bar or the club, you are likely to be the one to end up with the really embarrassing video on Vine!
Eat some carbohydrate-rich food such before you start drinking, or if you can’t do that, at least try and drink some milk to line your stomach, This slows down the absorption of toxins created by alcohol into your bloodstream by enabling your digestive system to process it more effectively.
Give yourself a fixed budget for the evening and try really hard to stick to it. Take out a fixed amount of cash if you can rather than just waving round your debit card – but do make sure you keep enough put by to get home safely at the end of the night. You can stretch your budget and help your body by making sure you get a good few glasses of water in during the evening and last thing at night (or in the morning…) before you go to bed.
Some yoga moves such as the Bridge Pose or Cat Stretch are believed to help to keep your liver working effectively by offering a gentle massage for your internal organs – although we don’t recommend trying them for the first time once you’ve had a drink or two!
Give your body a fighting chance to process the alcohol (and subsequent fried chicken or dodgy veggie burger that seems to go with a good night out) by taking a licensed traditional herbal remedy to help boost liver function, such as Milk Thistle from HRI Herbal Medicine. It’s not the same as the faddy (and potentially dangerous) ‘liver detox’ diets which seem to be so popular with celebrities, but it has been used for centuries as a traditional herbal remedy to help boost antioxidants and support liver function, enabling the liver to process toxins such as alcohol more effectively. Milk Thistle can even help repair minor liver damage caused by drinking.
HRI Herbal Medicine makes a range of herbal remedies to help with common ailments such as skin problems, water retention, colds and flu and anxiety and low mood. HRI products are sold through Boots, Superdrug, all major supermarkets, Holland & Barrett and online.
As with all alternative herbal medicines, it is very important that students make sure that they only use products which carry the THR (Traditional Herbal Registration) mark, showing that they have been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the UK regulator.
Patricia Gallagher, Director of HRI Herbal Medicine, offers some hangover cure advice to students who are making the most of the new academic year.