Hungover summary

What is it?

Asparagus is a popular spring time vegetable high in minerals with anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have found it can help prevent the toxic after-effects of alcohol.

What symptoms does it cure?

  • Effective in preventing hangovers
  • Negates the toxic effects of alcohol
  • Increases the rate at which alcohol is processed

Where can I get it?

Seasonally at your local supermarket or you can buy asparagus extract online all year round.

Description

Asparagus is a widely eaten and versatile spring vegetable that can be cooked by boiling, grilling, roasting steaming or barbecuing. Asparagus officinalis, to give its proper name is grown in most parts of European and in Northern and Western Africa and is infamous for causing urine to take on a pungent smell.

If you can get past the small issue of smelly pee, eating asparagus can be beneficial for your urinary tract, flushing out excess fluids and salts. Asparagus has long been used in medicinal practices as an anti-cancer agent and has also been found to possess effective anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory qualities.

This super veg also has the desirable qualities of assisting with weight loss, boosting your mood and not to mention they’re full of antioxidants - as long as you don’t overcook them!

Given the numerous health benefits, it’s no surprise Asparagus has cropped up as a potential cure for the dreaded hangover and research published in 2009 in the Journal of Food Science lays out promising evidence that this is the case.

What the Science Says

A study by Kim et al. (2009) from the Jeju National University in South Korea investigated the effects of shoots and leaves of asparagus on physiological functions in human hepatoma (liver) cells.

Firstly, the study found that the asparagus leaves contained much higher mineral properties compared to that of the shoots. This is surprising as most people tend to think of asparagus only as a shoot and aren’t even aware that they grow to have leaves let alone that they are more mineralogical.

The more important finding by Kim and colleagues in the context of hangover remedies was seen in the second part of the experiment. Liver cells exposed to ethanol (alcohol), were treated with either asparagus leaf or shoot extract and cellular toxicity levels were measured.

The results discovered that both asparagus leaf and shoot extract significantly reduced cellular toxicity levels in the liver cells. Not only this but levels of two enzymes which metabolise alcohol were measured and were found to have increased two-fold when either of the asparagus extracts were present.

Most interestingly of all, it was found that out of the two asparagus extracts were markedly superior at reducing toxicity compared to two commercially available hangover drinks.

Although the studies using participants has yet to confirm asparagus as a hangover remedy, the research in question provides strong biological evidence that asparagus extract can help alleviate toxic after effects on alcohol over-indulgence.

Sources:

Cragg, G. M., Grothaus, P. G., & Newman, D. J. (2009). Impact of natural products on developing new anti-cancer agents. Chemical reviews, 109(7), 3012-3043.

Lee, S. I., Shin, J. G., & Kim, S. D. (2005). Effect of red ginseng-chungkukjang extracts on lipid profiles of serum in alcohol administered diabetes-induced rats. Journal of the Korean Society of Food Science and Nutrition, 34(9), 1362-1366.

Pelchat, M. L., Bykowski, C., Duke, F. F., & Reed, D. R. (2010). Excretion and perception of a characteristic odor in urine after asparagus ingestion: a psychophysical and genetic study. Chemical senses, bjq081.

Other Hangover Remedies