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What Was the Cure for Hangovers in the Ancient World?

Margaret Lipman
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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If you've ever woken up with a fuzzy head or an unhappy tummy after having one too many drinks the night before, you'll understand the urge to seek out a hangover "cure." Rehydrating with plenty of fluids is probably the best thing to do, although some people swear by other methods, such as "the hair of the dog" (consuming more alcohol to lessen hangover effects), taking aspirin, or drinking coffee.

People in the ancient world were also concerned with avoiding the after-effects of too much wine or beer. For instance, the semiprecious gemstone amethyst was linked to hangover prevention (or the prevention of intoxication in the first place). In fact, the Greek word amethystos means "not drunken." This has led a team of archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) to propose an interesting theory about a special object recently discovered in Yavne, Israel.

A gold ring set with a purple stone, thought to be amethyst, was found in a 7th-century landfill near a major commercial winemaking operation dating back to the Byzantine period. The IAA archaeologists believe that the ring may have been worn either for its purported ability to ward off hangovers, or to prevent intoxication – or perhaps simply to show off the wearer's wealth and high status.

In search of a hangover cure:

  • If you feel nauseous as a result of drinking to excess, eating carb-rich, easy-to-digest foods such as crackers or toast is a better idea than eating foods that are greasy and high in fat.

  • A smoothie could be easier on the stomach than solid foods, especially one containing fruits with antioxidants, in order to ease inflammation.

  • A common myth is that taking a pain reliever before bed will prevent a hangover the following morning. However, combining acetaminophen (Tylenol) with alcohol can actually be damaging to your liver. Ibuprofen and aspirin are better choices, although they can cause stomach irritation.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Margaret Lipman
By Margaret Lipman
With years of experience as an educator, Margaret Lipman produces thoughtful and informative content across a wide range of topics. Her articles cover essential areas such as finance, parenting, health and wellness, nutrition, educational strategies. Margaret's writing is guided by her passion for enriching the lives of her readers through practical advice and well-researched information.
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Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
With years of experience as an educator, Margaret Lipman produces thoughtful and informative content across a wide range...
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