THE “NEW” ANCIENT HANGOVER REMEDY
Has the ultimate cure for a hangover been under our noses all this time? UCLA researchers have found a compound that can seemingly counteract the effects of alcohol. While it’s new to modern science, some cultures have actually known about it for over 13OO years. The team, led by molecular pharmacologist Jing Liang, looked to ancient herbal remedies for inspiration in their study, published in the January issue of the journal of neuroscience, and then used modern science to test them. What they found were: “descriptions of anti-alcohol properties of the Asian tree Hovenia dulcis that dated back to 659.”
In the experiment (which used rats, since their reactions to alcohol are similar to that of humans), all the subjects were given a strong dose of alcohol. Some were also given the key compound, Dihydromyricetin (DHM), from the ancient Hovenia Dulcis tree, and these subjects sobered up faster and showed a higher tolerance for alcohol in general. In addition, DHM fought hangovers; these extra-resistant rats were tested later for signs of anxiety and seizure, associated with hangovers, and showed fewer of those side effects.
The hangover resistance discovery was simply a bonus; the research was intended to develop treatments for alcohol use disorders. The standout result, says Steven Paul of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, is that DHM also curbed alcohol consumption. Rats allowed to drink alcohol gradually start consuming more of it. But rats that drank DHM-laced alcohol didn’t increase their consumption, the team found. The key point, Liang asserted, is that “When you drink alcohol with DHM, you never become addicted.” Researchers hope that their work will inspire human trials of DHM soon. Sometimes, everything old really is new again.