Turmeric has many perceived health benefits including being a powerful natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
In Asia, it’s even used as a hangover cure which naturally sparked our interest.
We’re always on the lookout for new things to add to our arsenal in the fight against hangovers.
Drinking is a part of most of our lives, but even small amounts of alcohol can leave you feeling rough.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at whether turmeric has any hangover preventing properties.
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What are the health benefits of turmeric?
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin which holds all of its health-boosting powers.
Unlike most other natural ingredients, there’s been a lot of research carried out into curcumin, with several studies showing strong evidence for its health benefits.
Understanding the science behind how curcumin works will allow us to see whether it’s actually useful as a hangover cure.
Turmeric is a potent Antioxidant
Toxic by-products of normal day-to-day metabolism are called “free-radicals”. These cause oxidative damage if left unchecked.
Your body has a system of antioxidants which neutralize free-radicals and reduce oxidative damage. Curcumin is well known as an antioxidant because it has been shown in studies to neutralize free radicals.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory
Turmeric is mainly marketed as an anti-inflammatory for joint pain in people with arthritis. Studies have shown that it blocks inflammatory cytokines (chemical signals).
Some studies have even compared its anti-inflammatory properties to medications like ibuprofen and found similar effects at high doses of turmeric.
Other than this, turmeric has also been linked with improving mood, promoting weight loss and reducing heart disease. This all links back to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers of turmeric.
Is turmeric good for hangovers?
Now to link whether turmeric is good for hangovers with how it works, we need to explain how alcohol affects your body in the first place.
Aside from dehydration, one of the main causes of a hangover is the buildup of acetaldehyde.
Acetaldehyde is the main toxic by-product produced from the metabolism of alcohol – and its highly toxic.
In normal circumstances (i.e when drinking small amounts of alcohol), acetaldehyde is quickly broken down into acetic acid which is harmless.
However, during periods of over-indulgence, this process is overrun and you get a buildup of acetaldehyde which is where the problem starts.
Acetaldehyde is highly unstable and breaks down to form free radicals which cause “oxidative damage”. This process activates inflammation and is responsible for most of your hangover symptoms.
As we’ve explained earlier, turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, therefore, its thought to negate these damaging effects.
The end result is less severe hangovers as there’s less inflammation.
Research and reviews of turmeric for hangovers
At the time of writing, there have been no studies looking specifically at turmeric as a hangover cure.
However, in Japan, it’s a well-known hangover cure. In fact, there are several supplements that utilize turmeric for this purpose.
One of the most popular hangover supplements is called Shugo Densetsu (“Heavy Drinker’s Legend”) and contains three types of turmeric.
Other than this, a quick search online will show countless testimonials and blog articles with people swearing by turmerics hangover preventing abilities.
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Does turmeric cure hangovers?
Hangovers are a sign from your body that you’ve been drinking too much for your body to handle.
Once you wake up with a hangover, there’s no way of magically removing all the damage caused by alcohols toxic by-products.
So turmeric, and in fact, any other hangover remedy won’t be miracle cures.
That said, turmeric does have good evidence as an anti-inflammatory and there are many people who see benefit from using it for hangovers as a preventative aid.
How should you take turmeric for hangovers?
Standard turmeric powder only contains around 3% curcumin.
In addition to this, curcumin is very poorly absorbed by the gut. Therefore, if you’re planning to use turmeric as a hangover aid, you really need to have it as a concentrated supplement.
Otherwise, you’ll hardly get any absorption of curcumin.
You’ll also want to look out for a supplement which contains piperine in combination with turmeric. Piperine is extracted from black pepper seeds.
This is because it’s been shown to increase the absorption of turmeric by up to 2000%! so it’s an absolute must-have.
Not only does it increase the absorption of turmeric, but it also increases the uptake of other nutrients such as B-vitamins.
When it comes to taking turmeric for hangovers, the most important step is to take it before your hangover has taken hold.
By this, we mean after your last drink or sometime during your evening out. As mentioned earlier, once the damage is done and you’re already hungover, there’s no going back.
Are there any side effects?
Generally, turmeric is regarded as a very safe natural ingredient to consume. Countless studies have shown that it’s safe to take.
On the other hand, there are a few studies which have reported side effects such as diarrhea, headache, and rash. The negative effects are usually reported at very high doses above 1000mg a day.
It’s always important to exercise caution when trying a new supplement. Although generally safe, everyone is different and you may experience side effects.
If you do, stop taking it and discuss with your doctor for more advice.
Anything else to consider?
Hangovers are caused by several different factors including dehydration, free radical damage and poor sleep to mention a few.
Drinking within your limits and keeping hydrated throughout your night is essential.
In addition, eating a meal before your first drink can slow down the absorption of alcohol and preventing the worst hangovers.
Other than this, if you’re thinking of aiding your recovery, there are many other useful ingredients such as Dihydromyricetin, ginger and milk thistle which can really help alongside turmeric.
Thankfully, there are so many hangover supplements available on the market right now which combine these ingredients for an all-in-one solution.
That brings us to the end of our look into turmeric for hangovers.
We’ve gone over the well-known health benefits of curcumin which is the active ingredient in this “golden spice” and how it could potentially work as a hangover prevention aid.
Combining turmeric with other ingredients which are good for hangovers is more likely to give you a better result.
Nowadays you’ll find many natural supplements designed specifically for hangovers. You can read more about them by following the link below.