Hangover: A common nonmedical term for the disagreeable physical effects following excessive consumption of alcohol (or the use of other drugs). Veisalgia is the little-used medical name for the condition. It is also called a Spanish headache.

Hangovers been known since Biblical times (or before): "Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink" (Isaiah 5:11). Here are a few postbiblical facts that may help prevent or reduce the dreaded symptoms of an hangover from too much alcohol!

  1. First of all, it is important to realize that many researchers disagree on what may be the exact cause of the syndrome. Some feel that certain by-products that come from the liver's breakdown of alcohol may be responsible, others have postulated that "toxins" such as methanol found in high quantities in some drinks are responsible.
  2. Second, to combat this unwanted side effect, it has been suggested that we eat foods rich in cysteine, such as eggs. The cysteine is used by the liver when it processes or metabolizes alcohol; therefore building back up this chemical may help.
  3. Third, another reasonable approach is to be sure to drink lots of water, since alcohol tends to dehydrate the body and brain. Some of the electrolyte rich drinks can also be of value.
  4. Lastly, blood sugar levels can decrease after alcohol use, so some extra sugar is advised by some experts.

The bottom line here is that physicians do not actually know what causes a "hangover" so these home remedies are based on educated guesses rather than science. The best cure here is, as always, "moderation."