Not Exactly The Hair Of The Dog, But Close.
Sometimes the old remedies are the best remedies. Then again, sometimes they're not!
No doubt by tomorrow morning we will all be scrambling for pills, potions and greasy breakfasts in the vain hope that the nausea, pounding in our temples and sensitivity to any and all stimuli will cease. Sure, lots of water and some Advil before bedtime or a Bloody Mary the next morning may do the trick in the year 2008, but way back in the day, folks had other ideas.
In Assyria, the cradle of civilization, they mixed up a paste of crushed swallow's beaks and myrrh (and swallowed it themselves). Since Epiphany is right around the corner, we can expect the myrrh to arrive any day now. However the swallows don't come back to Capistrano for months. Darn!
The Egyptian's invented beer. It had the consistency of gruel and you had to drink it through a straw. Still, this fact trumps all that pyramid and mummification jazz. As for hangovers, they liked a glass of cabbage juice as a chaser.
The Ancient Greeks enjoyed their wine. They also liked to accessorize. A wreath of parsley and an amethyst ring were said to protect one from the ill effects of over indulgence. If that didn't work you could whip up a batch of sheep’s lungs and raw owls eggs.
The Romans may have copied much from their neighbors, but thankfully they preferred to deep-fry their bird bits (much like my Nonna). Fried Canaries after a binge is what made the Empire great.
In medieval times the apothecaries and quacks swore by raw eel and bitter almonds. Bitter almond....isn't that poisoness? Well, I guess if you could get that down and live, you'd be over your veisalgia (that's the scientific name for a hangover) in a jiffy.
Take a hair of the dog that bit you was advised in Renaissance times (if not before). Luckily, it's a metaphor and has nothing do with chewing on Fido! Homeopathy and folk magic uses the principal “Similia similibus curantur” (like cures like). Apparently, they used to treat dog bite by putting a dog hair in the wound. Makes about as much sense as drinking even more alcohol to treat a hangover.
I will never be accused of being eurocentric. I've heard that outer Mongolians drink sheep’s eyeballs in tomato juice in lieu of the standard Bloody Mary. According to recent studies in Japan, the protein in silkworm waste actually helps counteract symptoms. Great, but Marukai doesn't stock that--yet. As far as ancient Chinese secrets go, a small portion of horse brain should settle your stomach. Personally, I'd stick with acupressure. Steady pressure on the point between your thumb and forefinger keeps your head out of the toilet.
Speaking of poo, out here in the wild, Wild West, cowpokes swore by a tea made with dried jackrabbit dookie. See, America has something to contribute, Dang Nabbit!
Now before you go raiding Peter Cottontail's dirty cage, I warn you not to try ingesting any of the above. (Although a bowl of menudo is a good substitute for the eels!) This post is about curiosities and hangover lore. I will not be held accountable for the slaughtering of innocent canaries.
Predictably, there are way too many bogus hangover miracle cure sites out there, trying to sell you potions and pills for your misery. I guess they figure if you were sucker enough to drink all that in the fist place, you'll swallow anything. In lieu of listing any of that hogwash (is that another cure?), I'll refer those in need of fast relief to here. If you are looking for a few fun and fact filled sites about the perils of excess, here's a few gooduns to peruse through bleary eyes:
http://www.hungover.net; http://www.rupissed.com/hangovercures.html; http://www.hangoverremedyblog.com.