Naturally Overcoming Hangovers – Does Ayurveda Really Help?Dr. Surya Bhagwati
The problem of alcoholism and weekend hangovers may seem like a quintessentially modern day problem for urban Indians, but it’s not. Alcohol consumption has been a feature of human societies for millennia, with the earliest evidence of alcohol consumption dating back to 12,000 years ago. In fact, archaeological finds suggest that India was most likely the birthplace of alcohol distillation. Not surprisingly, ancient Ayurvedic physicians had firsthand knowledge of the effects of alcohol consumption. Their accounts show a deep understanding about the impact of alcohol consumption on human health, depending on the quality and amount of alcohol consumed. With such a wealth of information, Ayurvedic hangover cures are among the most effective natural methods to relieve and protect against the effects of excess alcohol consumption or alcohol induced toxicity.
Natural Hangover Cures: Can Ayurveda Help?
Ayurveda recognizes the complexity of human health, with each individual regarded as unique. This also affects one’s response to alcohol consumption and strategies to relieve hangovers, protect against toxicity, prevent liver damage, and lower the risk of alcoholism or alcohol addiction. To begin with, Ayurvedic sages recognized the risk of toxicity of alcohol when used for recreational purposes or in excess. They described these toxins as ama. It has the opposite effect of ojas, destroying vitality of the body, adversely affecting health and increasing the risk of doshic imbalances and disease.
The Charaka Samhita and other revered Ayurvedic texts provide us with valuable information that can help not just in the management of alcohol-induced disease, but also to protect against alcoholism and these diseases. There is great focus on the elimination of toxins from the body to protect against the ill effects of alcohol consumption, including hangovers. This is notable, because Ayurvedic recommendations on overcoming alcohol addiction are now widely recognized as meritorious. They were the earliest physicians to recognize addiction as a disease and they understood the risk of withdrawal symptoms with sudden abstinence, recommending gradual cessation programs.
Based on the knowledge from these classical texts and modern Ayurvedic research, we know that certain Ayurvedic practices can help fight hangovers too, reducing the risk of toxicity buildup and other complications. These include adherence to daily and seasonal routines, called dinacharya and ritucharya, a dosha balancing diet, adequate physical activity, meditation, and abhyanga or oil massages. Broader and more powerful treatments include the use of panchakarma therapy to purify the body and eliminate any toxins, as well as the use of Ayurvedic herbs. In addition to making changes to your lifestyle and drinking responsibly, these herbs also work as some of the most effective natural hangover cures.
The Best Ayurvedic Hangover Cures
Ayurvedic herbs offer various therapeutic benefits and are often most effective when used in a blend to provide different actions. Some of the main objectives are to purify the blood, detoxify and protect the liver, improve metabolic function, and regulate moods to reduce both the physical and psychological impact of alcohol consumption. Some of the best herbs include:
This is one of the most important Ayurvedic herbs when dealing with alcohol toxicity and hangovers. It is highly recommended for hangover prevention and is a primary ingredient in the most effective Ayurvedic pills for hangover relief. The herb is widely recognized as a rich source of phytochemical constituents with powerful biological properties, including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, immunostimulant, hepato-renal protective, liver enzyme modulating, and detoxifying effects.
2. Gotu Kola
Gotu kola is another herb that is traditionally used to detoxify the liver and help balance emotions, playing an important role in the management and prevention of hangovers. Although most valued for its detoxifying and anti-inflammatory effects, which can protect the kidneys and liver from alcohol induced toxicity and inflammation, it also has proven benefits for cognitive function. Studies show that gotu kola can protect the brain cells from toxicity, even lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s. It has also been found to be anti-depressive, reducing stress and anxiety levels.
This bitter herb is still a popular ingredient in home remedies for skin and hair care, as well as for detoxification. Most of its health benefits are linked to the high antioxidant content of the herb. Research findings clearly support the use of neem as a natural detoxifier and hangover remedy, showing strong hepatoprotective action. Additionally, the herb has an anti-inflammatory effect that can protect against alcohol damage to the organs. Weakened immunity is often associated with heavy alcohol consumption, a risk that neem also protects against because of its immunomodulating effect and antimicrobial properties that can help fight infections.
A resin extract that is an important ingredient in Ayurvedic medicines, guggul is most famous for its weight loss benefits. In addition to promoting weight loss and fighting obesity, the herb is known to protect against high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, improving metabolism and digestion. This also aids recovery from heavy alcohol intake as it improves alcoholism metabolism and the elimination of wastes, while also reducing inflammation.
You probably know of amla as the richest source of vitamin C, which is important for healthy immune function. While this is in itself beneficial after a night of heavy drinking, amla also offers other benefits, regarded as one of the best detoxifing herbs with proven hepatoprotective and gastroprotective effects. This increases protection against liver disease and gastrointestinal disorders that can arise with heavy drinking.
In addition to the herbs mentioned above, others like shilajit, haritaki, manjistha, and aloe vera can also help to treat hangovers and other conditions linked to high alcohol intake. While herbs can help relieve hangovers and treat diseases associated with alcohol intake, the most important step you can take is to drink in moderation.
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