Milk thistle is a commonly suggested herbal supplement for a hangover, but there is no clear evidence that it is effective for this use. A placebo effect may aid some people and it may offer other benefits to people who drink, though it can have side effects. The only sure way to prevent hangovers is to abstain from alcohol, though other techniques may help reduce the chance of hangovers. Hangovers can impair physical and mental functioning.
Although milk thistle for a hangover might not be especially effective, it may have properties that can be beneficial for people who indulge in alcohol. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can provide health benefits. Taking milk thistle shows some promise in treating people with alcoholic liver disease, particularly those with milder cases.
People who choose to take milk thistle for a hangover should be aware that it can interact with other medications and cause side effects. Some of the drugs it can interact with include allergy, cholesterol reducing drugs, anti-anxiety drugs, anticoagulants, antipsychotics, and certain seizure and cancer medications. Side affects of milk thistle are mild diarrhea or irritated stomach.
Taking milk thistle for a hangover is usually considered safe. This is especially true for healthy people who aren’t on other medications or supplements. Even so, they should be taken under the guidance of a health care professional.
The only way to completely prevent a hangover is to refrain from drinking alcohol. If an individual chooses to drink, she should limit consumption to one alcoholic drink an hour. Rotating alcoholic drinks with a non-alcoholic beverages such as water or juice will also help reduce the severity of hangovers. Non-alcoholic liquids help prevent dehydration, a main cause of hangovers.
Other than taking milk thistle for a hangover, there are some ways to reduce the severity of hangovers. Eating a fatty meal before drinking may help. Activity, such as walking and dancing, can help the body process alcohol more quickly and reduces hangovers, as long as the person does not drink more alcohol to slake his thirst. Vitamin C may also help reduce hangovers, and a glass of orange juice after a night on the town can help by providing vitamin C and fluids.
Hangovers can impede physical and mental performance. Anyone suffering from a hangover should refrain from driving or other tasks that can be dangerous if done in an impaired state. People should be cautious about drinking the night before important events, such as examinations or other activities that require mental focus.