Woman who is sitting next to her bed and hungoveristock

A junior doctor gives hangover cures

Starting the year with a hangover? Don't opt for hair of the dog

Catherine Murnane

Oh what a run it's been. First were all the Christmas parties, then the family dos and finally, New Years Eve.

If you've raised your glass to celebrate the festive season on more than one occasion over the last month you may well have regretted your actions when, the following day, the hangover hit. It's been a great time for over-indulging but if only you didn't feel so rubbish after it. 

There are many suggestions out there which all promise to make your hangover miraculously disappear, lifting the sickness, headache and general feeling of 'eurgh'. But it's hard to know which ones really do work. Will you really be 'cured' by gorging on greasy food, downing a raw egg smoothie or eating a banana and honey sandwich? We spoke to an expert to find out. 

Junior doctor Emeka Okorocha begins by laying one suggestion to rest: 'hair of the dog' (indulging in a supposedly 'remedial' pint or two). He explains it doesn't work. “When people ask me whether continuing to drink will help their hangover, I beg them not to do it… You should take at least 48 hours for your body to rest before taking alcohol again.”

So that's off the list but which cures really do work? As a result of the misinformation being shared among his mates, the 25-year-old has decided to reveal his top hangover tips, the result of a period of intensive research in the University of East Anglia’s student bars.

Dr Emeka says he used to be prone to the odd killer hangover after a big night out. “I’d always regret it the night after when my head was spinning and everyone else was functioning.

“I lived in a house full of male medical students and we would often get competitive on nights out, organising drinking contests and seeing who could be the last man standing.”

His search for the perfect cure saw him road-test various solutions that he sourced from YouTube, online and from friends. “Using my medical background, I was able to figure out which remedies were likely to be the most effective. After I had picked the best ones, I tested them when I was feeling rough.”

Here are a few of Dr Emeka’s life-saving hangover cures.

1. Virgin Mary
Kick yourself back into action

Virgin MaryBBC Three

1/2 glass of tomato juice
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 dash of hot pepper sauce
1 celery stick

The science behind it: “Tomatoes contain fructose, which is a sugar that can help the alcohol in your body metabolise faster,” explains Emeka. “It also contains vitamins and minerals, which help fight inflammation and rehydrate your body and brain.”

Dr Emeka’s verdict: Virgin drinks are not just for the morning after. A sensible soul at heart, the good doctor believes in knowing when to switch to a non-alcoholic cocktail during a night out. “When you start telling your friends how much you love them, that should be when you decide you’re done with drink. You’re in a happy place, so there’s no need for more alcohol.”

2. Banana and honey sandwich
A mushy magic potion 

Banana and Honey SandwichBBC Three

1 mashed banana
1 tbsp honey
2 slices of wholemeal bread

The science behind it: “Bananas are a high source of potassium - an electrolyte that gets depleted when you go out on the binge. The honey will give you that spike of sugar in your bloodstream and that energy rush to help you get back on your feet.”

Dr Emeka’s verdict: “This one is a bit of an acquired taste,” laughs Emeka. “You might screw up your face on the first bite, but before you know it, it’ll taste good and you’ll feel better.”

3. Ginger Tea
Guaranteed to make you feel tea-riffic

Ginger TeaBBC Three

12 large ginger slices
4 cups of boiling water
Dash of lemon
1/2 cup of honey
Fresh orange juice

The science behind it: “Ginger is great at soothing the stomach. It also speeds up alcohol digestion and it can even help your throbbing head.”

Dr Emeka’s verdict: “This tea is dope.” Enough said.

4. Seat on the sheets
Dr Emeka’s secret weapon

Hangover IMG6BBC Three

1 chair
Your bed

The science behind it: “Before you go out, put a chair with a pint of water on your bed. That way, you won’t forget to take drink that bad boy before flopping yourself into the bed.”

Dr Emeka’s verdict: This isn’t a foolproof process. “A few times I’ve spilt the water by stumbling into the room and knocking the chair over. The idea behind putting the chair on the bed is to force yourself drink the water and prevent yourself from being even more hungover in the morning.”

Any final words of advice?

Careful preparation can help prevent the onset of a hangover, says the medic.

“If I’m going straight into a night out after a long shift, I start off with a sports drink or fruit juice to help me refresh and rehydrate.

“Most of the time, I find leaving the hospital gives me that kick anyway. The last couple of hours of your shift can leave you feeling drained, but as soon as I start thinking about how fun the night out with my friends is going to be, I get my energy back.”

Naturally, the doctor's parting words of advice are to please drink responsibly. “Do as I say, not as I do,” he laughs.

Go forth and free yourselves from your hangovers.

Dr Emeka featured in BBC Three's Junior Doctors.

This article was originally published on 20 November 2017.

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