Thursday, December 30, 2010

Milk Thistle Is My New Best Friend

As we follow the long and winding road to the end of 2010, our thoughts turn to New Year’s Eve. Actually, since old longtime friends are coming over to celebrate, our thoughts have been on New Year’s Eve for a while.

Thoughts also turn to New Year’s Day…with fresh starts, resolutions, hangovers…not in that order. I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. Any time is a good time for personal change. Yours, not mine.

But I’m always interested in hangovers, or rather, hangover cures. Wine Out Loud has a great list of cures but experience has taught me that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But, short of abstinence, can you prevent a hangover?

Moderation is the only sure-fire prevention that I know. But when it’s a celebration, isn’t moderation just a form of abstinence? And moderation becomes ever more challenging as the alcohol levels in wine go higher and higher.

My experience tells me that drinking fine wine significantly reduces the risk of a hangover. Fine wines (which I arbitrarily define as wines worthy of aging) tend to have fewer of those chemical additives that mass-market winemakers rely on for consistency. For the same reason, drinking organic and Biodynamic wines reduces the risk of hangover.

Jancis Robinson recommends Milk Thistle, which contains silymarin. Our homeopathic reference book tells me that Milk Thistle has been used for centuries as a homeopathic treatment for liver disease and for protecting the liver from toxins, including alcohol. Jancis Robinson says she’s been using it for over a decade and swears by its efficacy. Her 2001 article also offers a few other preventions (most anything bitter). Milk Thistle is readily available at many pharmacies. I tried it at Christmas and felt great the next day. It’s on my “to do” list for New Year’s Eve. Here’s to you, Mrs Robinson.

I’ve also found that putting a couple of painkillers next to the bedside table before you start the evening, and downing them when you go to bed, will help get you started early on the road to recovery. But if you’re not sure that you’ll end up in your own bed at the end of the night, you may have more important preventions to worry about.

Just remember that Milk Thistle does not give you a free pass to drink and drive at the end of the evening. So enjoy but play safe.  

All the best in 2011!

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1 comment:

  1. Hey, thanks for that. I'll have to go and get some milk thistle. Happy New Year!