One reader’s hangover remedy? A dip in a pool
Q: Many years ago, when I was a young graduate student, I was faced with a dilemma. Saturday night had seen a great student party, at which many of us had way too much to drink. Sunday afternoon was to bring a faculty-student seminar with a visiting scholar — at our house!
After crawling out of bed Sunday morning with deep regrets, I wondered what to do. I decided a dip in the swimming pool on this very cool Albuquerque morning in April might be just the thing.
The initial plunge in the very cold water was like an electric shock, but the desired effect came quickly and was little short of miraculous.
I’ve learned it’s far better to avoid hangovers in the first place, but short-term cold stress on the body mobilizes its defenses.
A: There is surprisingly little research on hangover remediation listed in the medical literature. We are intrigued that your method worked so well.
We imagine, though, that some people would rather try a solution that was recently subjected to a double-blind placebocontrolled trial in Germany (BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, April 30, 2020). The researchers found that a solution containing plant extracts together with vitamins and minerals worked better than the vitamin-mineral solution or placebo alone.
The plants they used were ginger, ginkgo, willow, prickly pear and acerola (Barbados cherry). Volunteers who took the treatment before and after drinking alcohol had less headache, nausea and restlessness the next day.
Another reader wrote of a favorite hangover remedy: “Vitamins B (complex), C and D along with ginger (nausea), water, coffee, DGL and rest seem to help, along with a breakfast of PB toast and chocolate milk. And time.”
Q: I used Preparation H twice yesterday and once today. I noticed a headache yesterday and attributed it to a lack of sleep.
When I applied the ointment today, my headache returned. I checked my blood pressure, and it was 16 points higher than normal.
I understand that the problem with Preparation H is the phenylephrine. Do I need to avoid this medicine?
A: The active ingredients in Preparation H hemorrhoidal ointment include mineral oil, petrolatum (petroleum jelly) and phenylephrine. The phenylephrine constricts blood vessels. That is why it is also found in some decongestant nasal sprays.
The instructions that come with Preparation H state: “Ask a doctor before use if you have heart disease; high blood pressure; thyroid disease; diabetes; difficulty in urination due to enlargement of the prostate gland.” People on blood pressure medication should generally avoid products containing vasoconstrictors, such as phenylephrine.
Q: I have been using original Listerine for scalp issues for years.
I am no longer able to find amber Listerine. Do the other types of Listerine work as well as the original for other issues than just bad breath?
A: If the mouthwash you put on your scalp is blue or green, you might end up with colored hair. One reader soaked her feet in Listerine Freshburst to treat athletes’ foot. She found it turned her feet green.
You should be able to find house-brand amber mouthwash with ingredients similar to those of Listerine: eucalyptol, menthol, methyl salicylate, thymol and alcohol (26.9%). Early in the 20th century, the maker actually advertised Listerine for “infectious dandruff.” In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Send questions to them via www .peoplespharmacy.com.
Researchers found a solution containing plant extracts with vitamins and minerals worked to fix a hangover.