‘Tis the season filled with warmth, joy, good spirits, and unfortunately, overindulgence. Our tradition of toasting family, friends, and colleagues can sometimes lead to feelings of imbalance and downright unpleasantness the next day.
How much is too much?
While I personally tend toward tea as my drink of choice, alcohol is definitely in the mix for adults during the holidays. Luckily, a drink a day does not appear to make or break your longevity plans.
In fact, there has been extensive scientific research into the health benefits of wine due to its high content of the antioxidant resveratrol. Found in the skin of the grape, resveratrol is a compound that can reduce cholesterol and may help prevent cancer with its anti-inflammatory properties.
Wine has also been said to keep blood from thickening in the blood vessels, preventing blood clots, stroke, and plaque buildup. This could be one theory why the French have a lower incidence of coronary disease. But here’s the catch: more than one glass can do a lot more harm than good.
Five Hangover Soothers
Almost all adults have found themselves at one time or another (especially this time of year) guilty of having too much of a good thing. Which can turn bad. It’s called The Hangover.
1. Calm the stomach with ginger
Ginger has long been used in China to fire up the circulation, settle the stomach, and help counteract the bleary effect of that last ironic toast to health and happiness. In addition to hangovers, ginger tea has been found to soothe the digestive lining and balance gastric juices, which can be very beneficial a half-hour after eating a festive meal.
Ginger Tea – drink one hour afterward, or between drinks.
Cut a two-inch piece from fresh ginger root and thinly slice. Bring three cups of water to boil in a pot. Add the sliced ginger and reduce heat to a simmer. Brew for about five minutes. Then strain out the ginger and sip the tea slowly. Drink the tea as often as needed to keep the nausea away. Sweeten with honey if you like. And feel free to use ginger tea bags if that is easier for you.
2. Soothe a headache with lavender
A fearsome headache can be the worst part of the morning after. Here’s a way to please the senses and soothe your aching head: Put five drops of lavender essential oil in one cup of warm water. Soak a small towel in the water, and then wring it dry. Place it on your forehead as a compress.
3. Ease the pressure with herbs
Detoxification is an important part of easing out of a hangover. Here’s a detoxifying herbal tea that will help reduce head pressure: Boil two tablespoons each of chrysanthemum flowers and mint leaves in four cups of water for 15 minutes. Drink this tea throughout the day until your headache subsides.
Other herbs that can help relieve headaches are feverfew, wintergreen, chamomile, and passionflower.
Bonus tip: Some of my patients use Hangover, a Chinese herbal remedy that is helpful for relieving symptoms of hangover.
The biggest culprit of excessive drinking is dehydration, which causes many of the unpleasant symptoms. So rehydrate your body and flush out the toxins as soon as possible (even between drinks) with a few glasses of room temperature, filtered water after a night of celebration.
Bonus Tip: There are ever more powerful filters you can use to make sure your water is free of toxins, such as the one by Aquasana, which is in a pitcher that actively filters out heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, chlorine, and other chemical substances.
5. The very best way to treat a hangover
Don’t get one. First, make sure you have some food in your stomach before you have a drink. Then, if there are many toasts in the evening plan, substitute ginger ale, club soda, or water with a slice of lemon in it. You’ll find a lot more joy in your holiday time if you don’t have to use any of the above remedies. And not only will you be preserving your liver, your memory of the occasion will be a lot clearer.
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine, and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at email@example.com. To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter, visit www.taoofwellness.com.