Learn More About Dr. Leung's Research Philosophy

Dr. Leung says "My thinking has changed and I no longer trust research findings on botanicals unless... "
Click to read more about Dr. Leung's research philosophy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Herbs for Treating Hangover or Drunkenness

In the traditional Chinese medical literature, drunkenness and hangover are all lumped under jiu du or wine/alcohol poisoning. The following are some better known herbs/foods for this condition*:

1) Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) - various parts of the plant have been used, including the root, flower and seed. The earliest documented use of kudzu root to relieve jiu du dates back almost 2,000 years to the Shennong Ben Cao Jing (Shennong Herbal); that of kudzu flower dates back 1,700 years to the Ming Yi Bie Lu; and that of kudzu seed dates back to Li Shi Zhen's Ben Cao Gang Mu (1593 A.D.)

2) Sugarcane juice - its earliest recorded use dates back 1,700 years to the Ming Yi Bie Lu, and is considered a simple folk remedy for jiu du.

3) Banana - Its earliest use record dates back to the Ben Cao Gang Mu Shi Yi (1765 A.D.).

4) Watermelon - both the flesh and skin are used; dates back to the early 14th century A.D.

5) Chi xiao dou hua [rice bean flower (Phaseolus calacaratus)] - dates back to the Shennong herbal.

6) Mung Bean or lu dou - Mung bean flour, sprout (the well known bean sprout) and flower are all used. Earliest use of the flour dates back to the Ri Yong Ben Cao (1331 AD). The use of bean sprout and mung bean flour for jiu du was first described by Li Shi-Zhen in his Ben Cao Gang Mu.

7) Lotus root (Nelumbo mucirerra) - dates back to the Shen nong herbal.

8) Radish or lai fu (Raphanus sativus) - described by Li Shi-Zhen in his Ben Cao Gang Mu. It is a popular folk remedy for heavy drinking: one can eat it fresh or drink its expressed juice.

9) Zhi ju zi or fruit of Japanese raisin tree (Hovenia dulcis) - also called suanzaozi, meaning "sour jujube kernel", but is not the sour jujube kernel (or suanzaoren) with sedative, hypnotic, and analgesic properties described above. The use of zhi ju zi to treat jiu du was first recorded in the Tang Ben Cao (659 A.D.), that is considered the first official pharmacopoeia in the world, as it was compiled by recognized experts under edict from the emperor. It is said that the great poet of the Song Dynasty, Su Dong Po, liked to drink, but was seldom drunk. His secret was zhi ju zi. And Li Shi-Zhen in his herbal (1593 A.D.) recommends it, along with kudzu flower, chi dou hua (adsuki flower) and mung bean flour for people who drink too much.

10) Chen zi or sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) - both whole fruit and peel are used. First use of the whole fruit was recorded in the Shi Xing Ben Cao (937 A.D.); that of the peel in the Shi Liao Ben Cao (704 A.D.).

11) Gan pi or tangerine peel - first use recorded in teh Ri Hua Zi Ben Cao (908-923)

12) Jin ju or kumquat -whole fruit used; earliest use described in the Ben Cao Gang Mu.

13) Yang mei (fruit of Myrica rubra) - earliest use recorded in the Shi Liao Ben Cao.

14) Gan lan or Chinese olive (Canarium album) - earliest use dates back to the Ri Hua Zi Ben Cao.

15) You (pronounced "yo") or pomelo (Chinese Grapefruit) - earliest use of the fruit recorded in the Ben Cao Jing Ji Zhu (500 A.D.) and that of the peel in the Tang Ben Cao.

16) Shi or persimmon - there are numerous varieties, some of which are very soft and red, while others remain yellowish and firm, when ripe; they are all sweet. The type described in the Ming Yi Bie Lu (3rd century A.D.) for treating jiu du is the soft variety. However, it appears that other types are now also commonly used for preventing alcohol intoxication.

17) Shanzha or Chinese Hawthorn - use first described in the Tang Ben Cao.

18) Others, with earliest use record for treating jiu du in parenthesis, include schisandra berry (1st century A.D.), clove (627 A.D), bai dou kou or Amomum compactum fruit (1765 A.D.), hong dou kou or Alpinia galanga fruit (627 A.D.), rou dou kou or nutmeg (627 A.D.), cao guo or Amomum tsao-ko fruit (1505 A.D.) and bian dou or Dolichos lablab seed (3rd century A.D.)

*Source: L.C. Sun, "Herbs for Relieving Drunkenness/Hangover from Classic Herbals," Jiangxi Zhongyiyao, 23(1): 55-56(1992).

These and more herbal remedies are available from the volumes of Dr. Leung’s newsletter, of the same name as this blog ( Leung’s Chinese Herb News). This newsletter was published and sent to subscribers (most were industry-insiders) from 1996 to 2004. The collected works now serve as an excellent reference work, created with Dr. Leung’s frank, honest opinions and down-to-earth communication style. For more information about Dr. Leung and his writings, visit http://www.earthpower.com/. To order the newsletter containing the remedies mentioned above, visit the bookstore, click “Buy Now” on the newsletter, and select Issue # 9 from the drop down list.

No comments: