14 Historical Hangover Remedies, Ranked By How Likely You Are To Try Them

List Rules
Vote up the historical hangover remedies you'd give a try.

From the ancient world through the Middle Ages and straight into modernity, historical hangover remedies range from tolerable to just plain weird.

People have tried various "foods" - a word that might be rather generous when you see what they were actually eating. Specific clothing, jewelry, and incantations - all attempted. Heck, even washing your privates has made the list. And while it's not always clear from the sources how people felt after trying these hangover "cures," one thing's for sure - desperate times have called for some pretty desperate measures.

We got curious about just how far people would go to get rid of a dreaded hangover throughout history. No surefire cure exists, but people spent a fair amount of energy on finding one. With that in mind, vote up the hangover remedies from history you might actually try.


  • 1
    123 VOTES

    Mix In Some Mint, Lemonade, And Quince

    Kitab al-Tabikh, a 10th-century cookbook written by Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq, contains several recipes for lemonade - all of which were thought to prevent hangovers when added to alcoholic beverages.

    One of the recipes is for "simple lemonade made with lemon juice, sugar, and water," while another mixes lemonade with quince juice. Still one more option is to flavor lemonade with mint.

    Should those fail, al-Warraq also suggested, according to Iraqi scholar Nawal Nasrallah: 

    Avoid drinking [alcohol] in one big gulp. Rather, they need to have it in several small doses and breathe deeply between one dose and the other.

    Should a hangover strike anyway, "cold water first thing in the morning" was recommended.

    123 votes
  • 2
    108 VOTES

    Enjoy A Meal Of Lamb, Peppers, Cucumber, And Vinegar To Take The Edge Off

    When German scholar Adam Olearius visited Russia during the 17th century, he witnessed a lot of drinking among the Russians he met, commenting "drunkenness is prevalent among this people in all classes." 

    Olearius also described how Russians dealt with drinking too much - and its potential after-effects:

    The Russians prepare a special dish when they have a hangover or feel uncomfortable. They cut cold baked lamb into small pieces, like cubes, but thinner and broader, mix them with peppers and cucumbers similarly cut and pour over them a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and cucumber juice. They eat this with a spoon....

    According to Olearius, once the meal was eaten, "a drink tastes good again." 

    108 votes
  • Have A Big Helping Of Kishkiyya Stew
    Photo: Sina Salimi / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0
    91 VOTES

    Have A Big Helping Of Kishkiyya Stew

    Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq's Kitab al-Tabikh cookbook also includes a recipe for kishkiyya stew, which supposedly is a hangover cure. According to Nawal Nassrallah, translator of al-Warraq's work and author of Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens

    They used to think it was easy to digest and alleviated the symptoms of the hangover... It’s a simple dish. They cook the meat with onions, some vegetables, some spices like coriander and cumin and they let it boil. Then they add kishk, which the dish gets its name from, which are clumps of dried yogurt and bulgur.

    To make the stew, one mixes bone-in lamb meat with onion, herbs, chickpeas, galangal (similar to ginger), and olive oil. After cooking until the meat is almost done, add green vegetables, then the kishk (also called kashk), and finally sour grape juice. Once the dish has cooked, add spices like cumin, cloves, and cassia, to taste. 

    91 votes
  • Put On Some Fancy Jewelry
    Photo: The Portable Antiquities Scheme / The Trustees of the British Museum / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0
    85 VOTES

    Put On Some Fancy Jewelry

    In 2021, archaeologists in Israel found a gold and amethyst ring believed to have been an amulet to cure a hangover. According to Amir Golani, an expert with the Israel Antiquities Authority, the ring was owned by someone affluent, "...and the wearing of the jewelry indicated their status and wealth. Such rings could be worn by both men and women."

    It dates to at least the 7th century, although it may be older. The stone in the ring is the key indicator of its purpose because, as Golani explained, it was thought to have powers to prevent hangovers. The ring was also found near a former winery, lending additional credence to the notion of it serving as a hangover cure.

    The belief in the curative properties of amethyst dates to ancient Greece. The word itself means "not drunken" in Greek. 

    85 votes
  • 5
    90 VOTES

    Say A Spell Over Your Drink First

    Among the numerous evocations used by ancient Egyptians was one for Hathor, the goddess of love and dance. She was also called the "Lady of Drunkenness," in part because she was essential to the Tekh festival, also called the Festival of Drunkenness held each year.   

    Calling on Hathor to prevent a hangover went like this:

    Hail to you mistress of Hetpet! When he as set his heart (on it) Seth will not be restrained, when he sets (his) heart on bearing away a heart - in that name of his, "beer" - when he confuses a heart in order to bear away the heart of an enemy, fiend, dead male, dead female, and so on! This spell is to be recited while drinking beer; should be spat out. A means, proved a million of times!

    90 votes
  • Rub A Lemon Into Your Armpit 
    Photo: Annatsach / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0
    96 VOTES

    Rub A Lemon Into Your Armpit 

    It's not entirely clear when the practice of lemon rubbing became a way to stave off a hangover, but the practice is common in Puerto Rico. It's important to rub the lemon under your drinking arm before drinking, however. 

    When Emma Matthews tried it in 2015, she found out for herself that the "cure" - said to keep you hydrated to counteract the dehydration brought on by drinking - was woefully ineffective:

    I still suffered from a hangover and all the after-effects that went alongside it.

    96 votes