Posted by Nicole on March 10, 2014

You've no doubt heard of the “hair of the dog,” or the raw egg as miracle remedies for your hangover. How about the milk of a buffalo, or some old fashioned black magic? From eating parts of animals that probably aren't meant to be eaten, to a few odd ideas on how the human body actually works, hangovers are a battle that humanity has been waging war with for thousands of years.

Since the inception of mass-produced fermentation, we've come up with many new and exciting ways to ward off the nausea, headache, and general malaise that consumption of alcohol brings. Fortunately for us, many of them are no longer here, because you'll find that some are a more menacing prospect than just grinning and bearing it.

Strange Eats

Here's a sample of some of the things that have been eaten by people throughout history to help a hangover, including a few that are still in use to this day:

  • Raw eel.
    A Roman “delicacy.” Like many other raw ingredients of dubious texture and viscosity, eels were associated with the strengths of nature. Clearly, a raw ingredient would provide those benefits in greater measure, or so the Romans thought. Another motivator is the “what doesn't kill you” mentality. If you could manage to stomach a raw eel serving, it meant you could get over the nausea of a hangover. If you couldn't and ended up vomiting, then you would expel the offending poison from your system. A “win win,” unless your terms of victory include “not eating raw eels.”

  • Bitter almonds.
    Another Roman delight that was carried on into the Middle Ages, and not surprisingly, served with eel. Almonds are nutritious, of course, but bitter almonds are likely to wake you up with the shudders as well.

  • Soot (mixed with milk.)
    Probably concocted by chimneysweeps as a way to make money on the side, or just get their head in the game for work. It's exactly what it sounds like; a few spoons of soot, stirred into warm milk.

  • Pickled everything.
    Whether it's fish in Germany, or fruit in Japan, pickled food is just tied at the hip to alcohol and its unwelcome side effects. The traditional hangover breakfast in Germany consists of herrings, wrapped around sliced cucumber and onion. All of it is pickled.

  • Lemons
    In two varieties, neither palatable. The first is the rind of the lemon. In some parts of the world, it's still believed that eating the entire peel of a citrus fruit can help you to fight off the symptoms of a hangover. In another application specific to Puerto Rico, drinkers may rub half of a lemon in their armpit.

  • Your Own Sweat
    Finally, some Native Americans believed that working up a sweat through a healthy run, and then licking that sweat and spitting it out would rid your body of the poison that is alcohol. Moderation never seemed more reasonable.