What Causes Hangovers—Plus Remedies

What Causes Hangovers—Plus Remedies

“The reason why one gets a hangover is that your body—your liver in particular—is not able to process and metabolize the break down products from the alcohol quickly enough. In addition to needing enough enzymes, the liver also needs water to process and get rid of the toxins. When supplies run low, it takes water from other organs, including the brain. This is why alcohol is so dehydrating, and why you can wake up with a throbbing headache (and a dry mouth) from drinking too much. It is thus essential to drink a lot of water while drinking and before you go to bed… it can prevent a hangover or at least lessen one.”

“It is thus essential to drink a lot of water while drinking and before you go to bed…it can prevent a hangover or at least lessen one.”

“Assist liver function with the herb milk thistle, and the amino acid N-Acetyl Cysteine, which turns into glutathione, the master of all anti-oxidants and the master detoxifier. A good “morning after” tip is to eat one or two Umeboshi Plums. The Umeboshi Plum is a naturally processed, pickled plum used throughout the Far East for its incredible health-promoting properties including curing hangovers.”

—Dr. Frank Lipman

The Best Hangover Remedies

We asked around for the best options. Here’s what we found.

Over the Counter

We went to Boots, one of the main pharmacies in London and the pharmacist recommended Alka Seltzer, which is Aspirin-based, and Resolve, which is Paracetamol-based (if you have asthma, stick with Resolve) to settle your stomach and get rid of that headache. He also recommended Milk Thistle capsules (also available as drops), which you should take before drinking to prepare your liver for a heavy night.


Full disclosure, this stuff is so good that I went ahead and invested in the company. Mercy is a drink that is almost like a health elixir—packed with amino acids, vitamins, minerals and herbs that protect your system against the inevitable hangover and that flush you can get from drinking. You can drink it alone or mix it with alcohol to create a hangover preventing cocktail. I also drink one if I’m just feeling tired to give my system a boost.

Their mixologist, Alex Ott, provided us with one of their own special cocktail recipes:

Angel of Mercy

  • 1 oz of Svedka Cherry
  • 2 oz of cranberry juice
  • 3 pinches of ground ginger
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 2 oz Mercy

Combine all ingredients, except Mercy, in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain the mix over a ice filled highball glass until its 2/3 full. Float with Mercy. Garnish with a fresh cherry or a lemon wheel.

Note: They suggest drinking a Mercy every 3 to 5 alcoholic drinks.