Fwd: article: Prickly Pear Extract May Be a Hangover Helper
- --- In BEVERAGE-RECIPE@yahoogroups.com, "Lavannda L" <lavannda@d...>
Prickly Pear Extract May Be a Hangover Helper
Study finds cactus could prevent symptomsThe Associated Press
Updated: 11:59 a.m. ET June 29, 2004
Good news for anyone who has ever had that queasy feeling the morning
after tying one on: A study has found that an extract of prickly pear
cactus can prevent a severe hangover.
Prickly pear cactus extract is available at some health-supplement
stores. It has been used in sunburn ointments and as a diet
supplement, supposedly to reduce blood sugar levels.
The study found that when taken hours before drinking, the extract
can alleviate symptoms such as dry mouth and that nauseated, can't-
It does not appear to ease other symptoms, such as headaches and
But unlike raw egg mixtures, cold pizza, greasy breakfasts and other
folk remedies, the extract helps prevent the symptoms instead of
trying to relieve them after the misery has begun.
Do you have a drinking problem?
The study appears in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine and was
led by Dr. Jeff Wiese at the Tulane Health Sciences Center in New
Orleans, a city that knows hangovers.
The authors received financial support from the federal government
and from a nutritional supplement company that markets prickly pear
Wiese and his colleagues recruited 64 healthy young adults. Half of
them took the extract, half took a placebo. Five hours later, they
began to drink. Volunteers drank whatever kind of liquor they
preferred, and downed over four hours the equivalent of about five to
seven drinks for a 150-pound person.
The study participants were then driven home. The next day, they
rated their hangover symptoms. Two weeks later, the experiment was
repeated, with the placebo group and the extract group changing
A protective device?
Each time, the participants who had taken the extract rated their
nausea, dry mouth and aversion to food to be significantly less
severe. The risk of severe hangover was cut in half with the extract,
the authors reported.
Wiese said the study also seemed to confirm the folk wisdom that
brown liquor causes worse hangovers than clear liquor. Bourbon and
scotch liquor with high levels of impurities called congeners
caused worse hangovers than relatively congener-free liquor such as
vodka and gin.
Wiese said the results lend support to his theory that hangovers,
which the doctors call veisalgia, are caused at least in part by
inflammation, which the prickly pear extract has been shown to reduce.
Dr. James Zacny of the University of Chicago Medical School said the
researchers did not measure whether the extract eases that foggy-
headed morning-after feeling. Without knowing that, it
is too soon to say whether the extract is beneficial, Zacny said.
Zacny said hangovers might be a kind of protective device to keep us
from doing something we shouldn't do such as driving or operating a
Wiese said hangovers surely cost the United States billions of
dollars in lost productivity. He cited "Kreitman's Paradox," named
for researcher Norman Kreitman: The people hung over most frequently
are the light to moderate drinkers. And those people tend to be
© 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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