Hangovers are a pain. Drinking too much or mixing many drinks together will cause you to suffer through the symptoms of headache and nausea the next day. Despite the alcohol levels in your blood falling to zero, the effects of a hangover are long lasting. So let’s investigate how we can get rid of those throbbing headaches. Further down we will investigate what essential oils hangover cures work.
What causes a Hangover?
Let’s start by looking into the science behind why hangovers occur. Whilst the exact cause of a hangover remains unknown, we do know that there are many different factors that together give rise to the painful symptoms. For the most part, hangovers are the result of dehydration due to alcohol intake. Ethanol (or commonly known as alcohol) has a dehydrating effect on the body and results in many trips to the toilet whilst the drinking goes on. This in turn leads to an electrolyte imbalance within the body as salts are flushed out. Have you ever wondered why you crave a full on fry up breakfast after a night of drinking? It’s one way that your body is telling you to load up on electrolytes.
It is not just the alcohol itself but many other elements within alcoholic drinks that can induce hangovers the next day. These create imbalances within the body. Moreover, there is also a link between bad sleep quality after a night of drinking and a hangover the next morning.
How can you get rid of a Hangover?
There are various remedies for a hangover including natural, supplements and medical. Doctors and medical students often put themselves on a ‘drip’ in order to replenish electrolytes depleted after drinking alcohol. In addition to drinking plenty of water before going to bed, using essential oils is another safe yet effective natural remedy for a hangover. However, essential oils will cure the symptoms, not the causes of the hangover. So always remember to drink lots (of water) and eat a balanced diet.
How can you use Essential Oils to Cure Hangovers?
Make sure that you have lots of water in order to counter your dehydration. Essential oils often help in flushing out toxins from your body, so hydrate yourself beforehand. The main essential oils to help with hangover cures are lavender oil, peppermint oil, lemon essential oil and rosemary oil. Here are a couple of tips on using these relaxing essential oils to cure hangover:
- Apply the essential oils directly to the skin (or dilute with carrier oils if you have sensitive skin) of the forehead and temples and massage gently; you can also rub the oil on the back of the neck and the ear – the areas with the points that trigger the headache
- Diffuse the essential oil into the air with a diffuser
- Take an aromatic bath via adding a few drops into a bathtub filled with warm water and bath salts
- Inhale the essence directly from the bottle
- Inhale the aroma emanating by boiling water in a pot, adding a few drops of your favored essential oil and inhaling the steam. Cover the pot and your head with a towel to direct the steam towards you.
Remember to test all essential oils in a diluted form first before applying it to your skin. Most people can apply the essential oils without a problem, but some develop a skin rash if applied neat.
Top 5 Essential Oils for Hangover Cure(s)
1. Lavender Oil
Lavender essential oil has a laundry list of health benefits. It not only eases a hangover by relaxing a stressed body, but it’s an all-rounded remedy for several body ailments.
This oil with its sweet, herbaceous aroma aids in reducing the intensity of the headaches that accompany a hangover due to its potent pain-relieving effects. The lavender oil can relax the blood vessels throughout your body and especially those connected to the head, thereby improving the blood flow and reducing the headache.
Additionally, amongst its several other useful components, lavender contains cineole that is anti-inflammatory and minimizes the inflammation that might trigger a hangover episode.
2. Peppermint Oil
The presence of menthol in peppermint oil imparts the characteristic minty aroma to the oil. This minty aroma helps relieve nausea and vomiting associated with a hangover. The cold-and-menthol sensitive channels in the nose respond to the cooling effects of menthol in the peppermint oil. This helps clear the head and rejuvenates the mind, senses and the body of an alcoholic induced stress.
3. Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon is best known for its ability to detox. It also helps calm the stomach and reduce nausea and vomiting that often accompanies particularly severe hangovers. The odor of lemon has been proven to lessen the severity of headaches. That being said lemon essential oil is very powerful, therefore if it is your first time using it, make sure to start with a small quantity.
4. Rosemary Oil
Rosemary oil extracted from the evergreen shrub of rosemary offers amazing health benefits. This pleasant aromatic oil counters brain fog and impaired clarity associated with a hangover. Moreover, research has revealed that a constituent in rosemary called cineole boosts the mental clarity and memory. In that moment when you actually need to be mentally ‘with it’, rosemary oil can help you get back that train of thought. Whilst maybe not the best oil to use by itself, adding this one in with a few drops of peppermint essential oil should do the trick in getting your brain functioning again.
5. Juniper Oil
Juniper oil stems from the fresh or dried berries of the coniferous Juniper tree. It is a robust detoxifier and helps flush out toxins that appear after a night of drinking making you feel groggy. The hangover curing benefits of this essential oil can be attributed to its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that defend our body against the damage caused by harmful agents. The juniper oil augments the body’s natural antioxidants thereby protecting you from the damaging after effects of an evening of heavy drinking. Similar to rosemary oil, use this one in conjunction with lavender or peppermint essential oil to get rid of the nasty hangover headache.
Other Aids that get rid of hangovers
Essential oils can really help you get rid of those hangover headaches and nausea. But a proper hangover cure should also include the following things from this list:
There are a few ways to prevent a hangover:
- One of them is to drink a lot of water whilst you are drinking alcohol during the evening. This will help flush out the byproducts within your beverage and also keep you hydrated.
- Before you go to bed, drink a good measure of water. You will likely have to go to the bathroom throughout the night, but the hangover the next day will be a lot better than if you don’t do this.
- Drinking lots of water throughout the day after a night of drinking will go a long way and help flush the remnants of the hangover cause out of your system.
Replenish your Electrolytes
Since you have been drinking lots of alcohol (and water right? 😉 the night before, the salts within your body will have been depleted. The body needs these salts to function properly (link to Wiki) and therefore you need to do your best to replenish them. Eat things like:
- Salty foods (such as salted nuts)
- A big fry up breakfast
These foods will help your body get back into balance again. You can also try drinking things like coconut water which are filled with electrolytes.
Coffee will not help cure your hangover, but it can make you feel less tired and more energetic. The way caffeine works is to block certain nodes within your body that make you feel tired. Though only temporary, a good cup of coffee or tea will help you feel better. Don’t forget however, that both coffee and tea are diuretics (they cause more peeing). Therefore you need to be drinking lots more water if you do go down this route J.
Exercise on a hangover
The last thing you will feel like doing is going for a run or heading down to the gym. However, exercising is proven to be an effective hangover cure by increasing circulation (therefore allowing your body to carry all the toxins out). Moreover, your body will also release endorphins into your bloodstream which make you feel happier. Don’t go running a marathon as your body is still fragile, but going for a light jog, cycle or doing similar forms of exercise to get your circulation running certainly help.
How do I prevent a hangover?
This question is probably as old as the discovery of alcohol. How can you enjoy the benefits of alcohol without the draw downs? There is an answer:
Drink less (alcohol)
This is probably not the answer you wanted to hear, but drinking less alcohol is going to lead to a more manageable hangover or none at all. Restraining yourself from drinking that extra glass of wine will do wonders. Moreover, it is way more effective than anything else we’ve already gone through on this site.
Taking Milk Thistle extract against hangovers
Milk thistle has been shown to help prevent liver damage when drinking. Whilst this does not mean it will stop a hangover after an evening of drinking, it can help alleviate some of the symptoms. It however, will not stop the dehydration process, so remember to drink lots of water in between glasses of alcohol and preferably before you go to bed as well. Milk thistle extract can be taken in pill form ahead of the night.
Taking Prickly Pear extract (also called Barbary fig)
Prickly pear extract is another pill that can be taken in advance of having your first drink. Research shows that it can help stop inflammation that is caused by some of the impurities in alcoholic beverages. It won’t stop the hangover from occurring as it does not stop dehydration. So remember to drink lots of water during the drinking session.
Essential oils cure the many symptoms of a hangover. They soothe and invigorate the mind and body, and stimulate the removal of toxins. Some people seem to respond to one specific essential oil while others find relief after working with a blend of essential oils. Last but not the least, prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, it’s always ideal to consume alcohol in moderation and with lots of water along the way.