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5 Bizarre Hangover Cures to Use on Your Gap Year

Written by Jenny McWhirter on 19 / 04 / 2016

Gap Year Advice

We all know that hungover feeling a little too well...

When you stir from a big night, you’ve got a splitting headache, you feel sick with any slight movement of your body, maybe you’re even experiencing prolonged room spin.

But what if there was a way to reduce your suffering?

Let me note here that obviously the best way to avoid said hangover is to drink in moderation but after that full moon party or that “one beer at the bar” that turned into dancing the night away till 6am, sometimes a hangover is inevitable.

To help you through the pain I’ve found some of the most bizarre hangover cures that you can try out as you're gallivanting around the world on your gap year.

1. Balut – Fertilised Duck Embryo


Have you been wallowing and your mother/friend/housemate suggests drinking lots of water? Yes, you certainly feel a little bit better but it’s not exactly doing wonders: it’s time to try something new.

How about drawing from the Philippines where the hangover speciality is what they call Balut.

This intriguing name refers to a poached fertilised duck embryo that is believed to restore you back to your usual bright self. Used as a morning after pick me up, the dish – if you can keep it down – should have you hitting the next tourist stop bright and early without the need to recover in bed for hours.

The science behind it? Hangovers are in part caused due to your body reacting to the toxin acetaldehyde.

Egg contains lots of cysteine, this is a substance that breaks down the hangover-causing toxin in the liver and therefore reduces the length of time your body is affected.

Keen to try this method for cure? Head out to the Philippines as part of 10 Weeks in Borneo: Jungle + Tropical Island + Mt Kinabalu + Philippines and work alongside local communities.

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2. Pickled Herring


The thought of a fertilised embryo a little too much for you the morning after? Perhaps after a night on the wine this alternative to a bacon sandwich could help you.

If you head over to Germany, they don’t wake you lightly with a tasty bacon sarnie, lots of ketchup and possibly some grilled mushrooms or hash browns on the side. Oh no, instead their hangover breakfast consists of lots of pickled herrings.

Fillets of preserved herring are wrapped around slices of gherkins or onions and served up in extremely generous portions for all who are feeling slightly blurry-eyed.

Personally, even the most die-hard herring fanatic might struggle to stomach this after one to many tequilas the previous night.

But what does science have to say?

Well it actually looks like it could help you. Preserved herring is full of electrolytes, a mixture of sodium, potassium and chloride that replenishes and restores your system. Furthermore, the saltiness of these herrings will encourage you to drink lots of water ultimately helping the dehydration caused by alcohol.

However, if you’re not so keen on the herring idea coconut water is also a great source of electrolytes and a little kinder on a sensitive stomach.

3. Exercise


Ok so possibly at this point you’ve lost all faith that you will ever be able to cure your hangover. But bear with me, I think this could be the most convincing cure…

After a big night out at the local traveller bars (I've got some great bar recommendations in Havana, Cuba), you awake feeling less than great. Now it is not a good idea to try and hit the gym hard straight after you’ve woken up. Or for that matter at all.

Instead after a lazy morning of rest, get up and take yourself out for a gentle work out. Pop down to the beach for a gentle jog or hop on to a bicycle for a meander through the streets of the town.

Be sure to have your water bottle fully filled up and preferably have drunk a good pint of water before attempting exercise. If you exercise and you don’t hydrate yourself, you risk making yourself a lot worse.

Is there any scientific proof of this helping you? Well no, the idea that you can sweat out the alcohol and toxins is sadly all a myth.

However, exercise is known to boost your endorphin levels and give you a mental kick. Whilst it won’t directly remove the alcohol that is coursing through you at least it will mask the misery with a good endorphin high.

Granted this cure relies on whether you are able to get yourself out of bed but coupled with some other remedies and you could be on to a winner.

4. Romanian Tripe Soup


Possibly the thought of dragging yourself out of bed and actually having to move into any form of position ready for exercise is just one step too far.

So maybe stay in bed and try this weird and wonderful remedy designed to take your mind away from your pounding head.

The Romanians believe that if you are suffering with problems of the gut then the obvious answer is to give yourself more gut to help yours that is struggling. They make, what can only be described as a potion of tripe soup that is served to those suffering from a severe hangover.

Is there any scientific evidence that will compel you to endure what makes me feel extremely sick without even being hungover? Well the only evidence is that of distraction, which studies have shown to be a fairly reliable method of pain relief.

In fact, the tripe soup is so spicy that as if by magic, after one spoonful you will have completely forgotten about your pounding head and can only concentrate on your burning tongue.

A somewhat bizarre tactic but if it works then why knock it…

5. Buffalo Milk

Now this is sounding more like a traditional cure, although you are probably questioning this. Isn’t milk a good thing to drink BEFORE the night out?

You are indeed right and on that note, before you head for your heavy night a glass of milk, or as my housemate used to swear by, a teaspoon of olive oil can work wonders.

However, while the name will have you thinking that this is a glass of milk from a Buffalo. There is in fact no milk in this Namibian speciality.

Instead the Namibians prefer a tactic known more commonly to us as the Hair of the Dog.

They have concocted a specific drink to have the morning after. The Buffalo Milk is a mixture of cream, clotted cream, both dark and spiced rum and topped off with a crème liquor.

This protein rich drink is designed to line your stomach in preparation for another drinking session. The alcohol, well that just postpones your hangover.

Is there any science in this? Well needless to say it can work by postponing your muggy head but there should be a warning that the resulting hangover the following day will only be a good deal worse.

Do you fancy giving Buffalo Milk a try? Why not make it part of an adventure-packed trip to Namibia! 6 Weeks in Namibia: Wildlife + Adventure + Teaching

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An Alternative to Water

So there we have it, a few suggestions that provide alternatives to the standard water and sleep that is widely known to help the situation.

Have you discovered the ultimate cure? What’s your go-to after a heavy night to ensure you can still make the most of the next day? We’d love to hear so share them with us and fellow travellers in the comments below.

Now that you’ve cured your hangover for your gap year, what will you spend your days doing? Download our 100% free, comprehensive gap year advice guide: The Gap Adventure Blueprint, which contains several chapters on planning your trip to maximise the fun you’ll have, in your new found time.

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