The Medicandus Guide to Handling Your New Year Hangover

Happy New Year to all Convo readers! Here’s one in your eye to see in 2013.

But sadly, I predict that some of us may overindulge this festive season. I’m sure none of my intelligent and thoughtful readership would be so impious and impulsive as to overindulge. For those who may push the boat out too far, I offer the following information without prejudice or judgement, in a spirit of seasonal generosity..


The Homeopathy Plus website is never short on advice about matters of worldly import. Apparently Nux Vomica and Carbo Vegetabilis are the remedies of choice. According to their website, Nux Vom is useful for headache or migraine following excessive consumption of alcohol; sensitivity to light, odours, or noise; nausea and vomiting; retching or ineffectual urging with vomiting or diarrhoea; and, undigested food sitting like a “rock” in the stomach. Those needing a dose of Nux vomica after over-eating will often say, “If only I could vomit I would feel better!” Sounds perfect for the holiday season! The plant used as a base for this remedy produces strychnine. Apparently When undergoing its homeopathic drug trials, some of the symptoms it produced, and so can treat (remember the Law of Similars), were symptoms similar to those of a hangover. During a homeopathic ‘proving’ ritual, undiluted base product is given to a group of people and the effects are observed and recorded (often in comical detail). I’m frankly gobsmacked that nobody died taking minimally diluted strychnine! Feeling hungover would be a positive relief after strychnine poisoning.

Carbo Vegetabilis on the other hand is made from carbonized vegetable matter. Exactly which vegetables are used to create the charcoal I couldn’t find out. I was thinking maybe I could make some out of diluting the burnt stuff in the bottom of roasting dish on Christmas Day. The homeopaths refer to this remedy as the ‘corpse reviver’. The TGA Advertising Code is very restrictive as it is, but I couldn’t find that necromancy is in fact a specific breach, so they can probably keep that claim going. The ‘indications’ listed on the website are positively melodramatic in their purple prose. Reach for the Carbo veg when there is indifference and apathy; extreme debility or collapse; coldness with an aversion to heat; difficulty in breathing, air hunger and desire to be fanned; unable to lie down - must be propped up; symptoms of heart failure and, extreme bloating, indigestion and belching. These last symptoms make it a useful prescription for over-indulgence, whether the person is at death’s door or not!

I am very indifferent and apathetic. I LOVE being fanned like you wouldn’t believe and often need to be propped up. I have been known to belch fit to make the windows rattle. Carbo Veg, where have you been all my life!

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Ok, so if homeopathy isn’t your bag, what about TCM? Check out Dr Shen’s herbal stuff. Apparently the cause of that overwhelming nausea and retching the next morning is not that the whisky has peeled back my stomach lining like cheap wallpaper, and paralyzed its peristaltic movements. It obviously is my ‘rebellious stomach qi’. Down boy, down. Good qi.

I must say though, there are some sensible types among TCM practitioners. Have a look at this non-story. They go to all the trouble of asking an acupuncturist how to beat hangovers, and the best advice she can offer is….eat some seaweed before the party so the seaweed soaks up the alcohol and you don’t get drunk. That’s outstanding. It really demonstrates why they need to have years of study and their own statutory Boards to regulate the TCM profession. Wouldn’t want knowledge like that ending up in the wrong hands…

How about some spirulina? All you do is put a heap of them in 2 big glasses of water to drink before going to bed, and have the same again in the morning. Genius.

In no particular order, here are a few more tips from


Point LI 4 (between the thumb and index finger) relieves headache and stomach ailments and the B2 points (upper edge of the eye socket) relieves headache accompanied by light sensitivity.


The nausea of hangover may be relieved by drinking an aromatic cocktail of water, lemon juice, and a drop of fennel essential oil before breakfast.


The hangover sufferer may visualize being on a ship in a stormy ocean. The ocean gradually becomes calm until the ship is gently bobbing in the water.


The bacteria Bifidobacterium bifidus is able to remove alcohol breakdown products. To fight hangover, naturopaths recommend taking B. bifidus before going to bed and again the following day.


Taking 50 mg of vitamin B3 before going to bed may relieve hangover.


Drinking a glass of water containing activated charcoal powder before going to bed may absorb alcohol in the stomach and reduce hangover symptoms.

So if you happen to chance upon me lying on the footpath near you tomorrow morning, with empty bottles of probiotics, fennel oil and berocca around, dark smudges around my mouth from the charcoal, with my fingers pressed over my eye sockets and chanting to myself “The ocean calms my bobbing boat”, please don’t call the police like any right-thinking member of the public would.

I’m just being open-minded.