Plants for Hangovers
Reach for these to help ease the exhaustion, bloat, and anxiety that ensues.
Body intelligence is all about nourishing and building a body we can trust—recognizing when, say, that glass of orange wine brings joy, and stopping when it stops feeling good. When we listen to this voice and provide our bodies with what they need in these moments (be that a bowl brimming with leafy greens or a side of crispy fries at dinner), we unearth our most balanced, energized, and joyful lives.
Yet, body intelligence is not a final destination, but something we are constantly navigating. And, because we’re human—and because life consistently unfolds in unexpected and spontaneous ways—we can sometimes find ourselves overindulging in ways that feel less-than-great. A prime example? The dreaded hangover.
We’ve been there. All of a sudden last night’s extra extra dirty martini isn’t feeling like our best idea yet. The next time you get a little too caught up in the moment? Lean on this list of plants, and the body-balancing rituals to go with them.
We have two particularly important neurotransmitters: glutamate, which turns on the brain, and GABA, which turns it off. Under ideal circumstances, our brains produce them in harmony so we feel balanced and blissed out. But, when we imbibe, we tip this delicate seesaw. Alcohol stimulates GABA while simultaneously suppressing glutamate (ie., why our judgment gets impaired). After you stop drinking, your body increases its glutamate production to compensate, leading to headaches and an increased sensitivity to light and sound.
Instead of reaching for the standard morning-after pain relievers—like aspirin and ibuprofen, which can increase acid release and further irritate the lining of the stomach—try chamomile, a delicate flower once worshipped by Ancient Egyptians for its extensive healing properties. Sip on a soothing cup of chamomile-kissed tea, or top your granola with a few petals for a boost of flower power. Chamomile is known for helping quiet indigestion and headaches and, if you suffer from “hangxiety,” is also great for promoting mind-body relaxation.
Vasopressin, a hormone produced by the brain that sends signals to the kidneys causing them to retain fluid, is also suppressed when we partake in wine night—resulting in increased urination and an excessive loss of fluids (not to mention fatigue, headaches, and an unquenchable thirst the next day).
Upping water intake is a great first step. Then, to take hydration to the next level, reset your equilibrium, and nourish down to the cellular level, add a few healing dropperfuls of Detox Water Drops to your glass. Our potent blend of chlorophyll—the green pigment that enables plants to turn sunlight into energy through photosynthesis—helps oxygenate the blood, increase circulation, and rid the body of excess toxins through the G.I. tract.
(Sakara founder and co-CEO Whitney Tingle’s top tip for returning from a night out? A big glass of water with a dropperful of both Detox and Beauty Water Drops—elevating hydration and reinvigorating the skin before alcohol-induced puffiness sets in.)
Gingerol—the major bioactive in ginger—is an effective way to eliminate the free radicals that spike post-happy hour, and ginger’s antioxidant compounds may help moderate the aftermath of oxidative stress.
This zesty, bright root is also an effective way to alleviate nausea, long-implemented in Chinese, Indian, and Japanese modalities, and more recently studied as a safe option for managing the morning sickness that manifests with pregnancy. Ginger accumulates in the gastrointestinal tract, stimulating the production of digestive acids that help enhance nutrient absorption, ease bloat, and quiet reflexes.
When metabolizing alcohol, the liver creates acetaldehyde—an inflammatory, short-lived byproduct that contributes to inflammation throughout the body, including the liver, pancreas, brain, and G.I. tract. A surprising solve? Dandelion.
Dandelion leaves, similar in taste to spicy arugula, contain large amounts of natural potassium, acting as a diuretic to help flush toxins from the system. Meanwhile, its root, which is often dried for teas, can help strengthen the liver after alcohol use, stimulating liver and gallbladder function.
Digestive upset? Nausea? Brain fog? Enter mint. This aromatic plant works to counteract alcohol’s detriments to the body, such as increased acid release, an irritated stomach lining, and system-wide inflammation. Mint’s oils, which are antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant-rich, help relieve woeful stomachs (it's often used to help with IBS symptoms), as well as naturally lift energy, and improve brain clarity and concentration.
(Hangover or not, we love taking tea time to the next level with this Honey-Mint Digestif recipe, transforming a simple sachet into a medicinal, digestion-supporting, stomach-soothing elixir.)
Looking for more tips before, during, and after a night out? Meet The Guide To Mindful Drinking.