Alternatively Speaking: Happy hangover

Alternative medicine expert Natalie Marx answers your questions: Which vitamins can help cure a post-Purim hangover?

Alternatively Speaking - Natalie Marx (photo credit: Courtesy)
Alternatively Speaking - Natalie Marx
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Q. Dear Natalie, which vitamins can help me cure a hangover post Purim?
A. Heavy alcohol consumption usually decreases levels of Vitamin B1 in the body. Excellent food sources to replenish the vitamin include brown rice, egg yolks, fish and whole grains. I recommend taking a B-complex supplement to replenish B1 and other B-vitamin levels in the body. I suggest taking one B-complex supplement with two full glasses of water before a drinking begins in order to increase B stores before they are depleted. This will also help the body metabolize the alcohol. When you wake up in the morning, take a second B-complex supplement.
Vitamin C is another excellent antioxidant that counter effects free-radical damage to our cells brought on by alcohol. Vitamin C neutralizes the effects of the alcohol. Eat more berries, citrus fruits and green vegetables which are all high in Vitamin C.
Vitamin E is also very high in antioxidants, which help with free-radical damage. Food sources of Vitamin E include avocados, cold-pressed vegetable oils and nuts. As well as these vitamins, I suggest taking a garlic-based supplement for hangovers. Garlic contains S-allyl-cysteine, which neutralizes acetaldehyde found in alcohol.
Ginger, is also good for soothing stomach upsets. By eating foods and drinks that contain fructose (fruit juices and honey) will also help your body burn alcohol faster. Make sure you get plenty of rest and remember most hangovers are gone within 24 hours.
Q. Dear Natalie, are there any herbs I can take before I begin drinking to prevent me getting a hangover?
A. Hangovers are caused by an excessive amount of alcohol consumed causing a buildup of toxins which the liver cannot work fast enough to remove. There are several herbs that act as hangover cures by either supporting the liver's alcohol metabolizing function or inhibiting the alcohol from entering and building up in your bloodstream.
One herb I frequently prescribe for hangover cures is Aloe vera. The juice of the aloe plant can be used  to deter alcohol from entering the blood, therefore quickening recovery from intoxication. I suggest 1/4 to 1/2 cup prior to the consumption of alcohol. Do not take aloe vera if you have diarrhea because it may also act as a laxative.
Milk thistle is an excellent herb which assists with detoxification and strengthens the liver's ability to remove alcohol from the blood. Milk thistle ticnture can be bought from any good health food store. According to Ilene Sternberg for The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Chinese herbal remedy kudzu's starchy root works wonders to treat headaches, hangovers and alcohol dependency. The herb Kudzu contains a chemical compound called daidzin, which is used in Chinese medicine to suppress alcohol cravings and diminish the effects of overindulgence.Q. Dear Natalie, is it wise to exercise whilst with a hangover? Can it help cure a hangover?
A. Exercising may be the last thing on your mind when you wake up with hangover symptoms; however, it can help you feel back to normal faster. Since alcohol acts as a depressant to your body, it slows brain activity, slowing the release of endorphins, which help regulate your mood. This is why we often wake up feeling tired, depressed or lacking energy. By moving our bodies and getting some exercise, it can help stimulate the release of endorphins again, resulting in a better mood and a better state of mind helping you recover from your hangover.
I do not suggest going for a strenuous run after you've overindulged in alcohol. Instead, I suggest a low-intensity method of exercise that can help restore your mood and energy without making you feel sick. As a Yoga teacher, I have run many sessions for post alcohol binging, including gentle stretches which help you feel better without making your hangover symptoms worse.
Always listen to your body and stop if you feel sick, dizzy or your headache worsens. It is imperative that you make sure you drink water before, during and after any exercise. Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on your body, which means you could suffer from exercise-induced dehydration more quickly than normal.
Try the Seated Twist position (Ardha Matsyendrasana):
Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you. Bend your right leg at the knee and cross it over the left leg, planting your right foot on the outside of your left knee. Bend your left leg in, bringing your left foot next to your right hip. On your inhale, sit up taller and place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee. On your exhale, slowly windmill your right arm behind you, turning your torso so your body is rotated as far back and to the right as comfortably possible. Hold for five deep breaths, then slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side. This simple twist will give yourself an internal massage and help you be on the road to recovery!Twisting massages your abdominal organs and improves digestion.
This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments. This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor.
To book a free 15 minute consultation with Natalie, please email She will advise which treatment is best for your individual needs; Reflexology, Homeopathy, Massage or Flower Remedies including nutritional advice. There is no obligation to book a treatment following the free consultation.