Don’t let this be you on Boxing Day. Image: Adobe Stock

When your head feels like lead: Natural help for a hellish hangover

Nature’s Pharmacy: Qualified homeopath Hanli Rautenbach gives advice on how to help your body recover from overindulgence.


Don’t let this be you on Boxing Day. Image: Adobe Stock

The Christmas party is a jol, but the hangover the next day is anything but. Here are some suggestions on how you can manage the dreaded holiday hangover.

Hangovers are caused by drinking too much alcohol, but any substance that your body’s eliminatory organs cannot get rid of in adequate fashion will leave you with that sort of feeling.

A period of great emotional overload can also have the same effect as alcohol — yes, the emotional hangover is a real thing and many of us are likely to feel it after Christmas 2020.

In ‘Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down’, Kris Kristofferson sings about a time he was living on the street” “Well, I woke up Sunday morning, with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt, and the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad, so I had one more for dessert…”

The serious side of repeated hangovers

A little too much partying will come back to haunt you. Image: Adobe Stock

When writing about hangovers, the issue of addiction has to be considered. It is obvious that frequent hangovers are trying to tell you something. If your family is commenting on your drinking, if your job is being jeopardised by your drinking habits and if you feel horrible most of the time after frequent excessive drinking then getting help is the answer.

A singular hangover support initiative will not sort out the problem.

The mental and emotional hangover

When considering mental and emotional hangovers, the overwhelm  and fatigue we are all experiencing as a result of COVID-19, in addition to bleak financial predictions and the invisible pressure of having to stay positive and happy, a mental and emotional hangover almost seems inevitable.

Typically a hangover is aggravated by how fast you drink, if you hydrate while drinking and if you had a meal before drinking. There is also some evidence of worse hangovers being linked to drinking darker-coloured alcohol.

It seems the darker alcohols have more congeners in them — toxic substances that formed in the fermentation process. It also seems that an intolerance to alcohol digestion can run in families, so genetically some people are just not as able to process alcohol well.

Home help for your hangover

Going back to bed won’t hurt if you’re battling a hangover. Image: Adobe Stock

Let’s assume a hangover is in existence and needs to be dealt with. Eating a carbohydrate-filled meal will certainly help. Drink water and possibly small amounts of sugar-filled beverages. Taking a Rehidrat mixed with water, apple juice and 20ml of Blackthorn Berry Elixer will correct electrolyte levels and boost blood sugar levels.

If you are able to, go back to bed and sleep. And take comfort from the fact that a typical hangover should not last longer than 24 hours.

Having treated detox hangovers for many years, a trusted friend has always achieved success with activated charcoal. Taken at bedtime with a large glass of water reduces the impending hangover, and taken two to three times during the hangover day also reduces symptoms significantly.

Herbal hangover remedies

The herbs Korean ginseng, Siberian ginseng, ginger, starflower (borage) oil and prickly-pear extract can help with recovery as well as reducing the severity of the hangover. Homeopathically the quintessential hangover remedies are Nux Vomica, Glonoine and Carbo Vegetablis.

Over-the-counter formulations like Magen and Febro 1, made by Natura, should give relief. Emotional and mental hangovers can be supported by the calming colours of green, blue and pink. The Bach Flower remedies Olive, Elm, Clematis and Centaury can also be investigated for emotional support.

It’s been a rough year for all of us, so be gentle with yourself and others this festive season.