Sex, Sprite and other ways to cure that 'end of booze ban' babalaas

#TheReturnOfAlcohol means the return of hangovers too

19 August 2020 - 00:00 By Paula Andropoulos
#TheReturnOfAlcohol means the return of hangovers too.
#TheReturnOfAlcohol means the return of hangovers too.
Image: 123RF/Aleksandr Davydov

If you were one of the first in line at your local bottle store on Tuesday and overdid your “end of the alcohol ban” celebrations, you're no doubt feeling a bit sorry for yourself right now.

Here are five novel cures that may help to banish that hangover:


Activated charcoal is the darling of holistic health-food fanatics, but it's long been in use in medical environs for counteracting the effects of overdose.

Please don't go foraging in the charred remains of your braai: this sooty black powder is not akin to its combustible counterpart. It's the byproduct of a variety of charred vegetation — coconut, or bamboo, or wood — which is subsequently exposed to chemicals — “activated” — to enhance its porousness.

Taken in the form of a pill or a powder, activated charcoal is gloriously absorbent: toxins adhere to its prodigious surface area and are benevolently conveyed out of your hungover body.


Coke and creme soda are so passé. If you habitually favour the soft-drink solution, try reaching for a Sprite instead: a study by researchers at the Sun Yat-sen University in China found that the lime and lemon components of this childhood favourite speed up the breakdown of acetaldehyde, an enzyme that assists us in processing alcohol — and evinces its resentment by making us feel miserable.

Incidentally, the same study indicated that some ostensibly healthy alternatives — herbal things — actually slow down the process; Sprite is sugary, delicious and comparatively easy to keep down.


For a hangover cure with a romantically literary bent, take a cue from PG Wodehouse's butler archetype, Jeeves.

I drink too much. The last time I gave a urine sample it had an olive in it
Comedian Rodney Dangerfield

Companion and loyal confidant to Bertie Wooster, pragmatic Jeeves is obviously an old hand at caring for boozy reprobates: over time, he has perfected a concoction that he guarantees to alleviate the symptoms of, as he discreetly puts it, “a late evening”.

To emulate the valet's approach, combine one raw egg, for nutrition; Worcestershire sauce, for colour; and red pepper, “for bite”. Try it: potential risk of salmonella aside, you're good.


Chromium picolinate is an ominous-sounding supplement, sometimes used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Available in pill form over the counter, small quantities of chromium are useful for stabilising your blood sugar levels, which are liable to rise and then tumble, just as you did in front of your entire family.

Since a great deal of the discomfort associated with hangovers is attributable to blood-sugar chaos, popping a few chromium pills before or after drinking might nullify this facet of your fatigue. Take caution, though, and consult a doctor. Chromium picolinate is not suitable for everyone.

5. SEX

If you possibly can, do. Endorphins are the ultimate panacea; and sex is an excellent method of generating them.

The prospect might not be particularly enticing at the height of your hangover: lethargy, nausea and a pervasive sense of self-loathing aren't exactly aphrodisiacs. But sex also has anti-inflammatory benefits, as a flood of congratulatory oxytocin not only augments conjugal euphoria, but also combats the inflammatory immune response to which some experts attribute hangovers.

This article is adapted from one originally published in 2017. Read the original here.