Taking the sting out of hangovers is a “prickly” business

Prickly Pear
Flowering prickly pear. Photo credit: Neal Herbert via Wikipedia Commons.

Cinco de Mayo has arrived! Despite one’s best intentions to drink in moderation and hydrate appropriately, some events and celebrations are just conducive to having one too many. Did you know that a cactus might help decrease that dreaded morning after malaise called the hangover?

A long time staple in Mexico for food and medicinal purposes, the prickly pear cactus is pricking the interest of researchers. In a small double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study, Tulane University Health Science Center researchers found that taking a 1600U oral dose of prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus indica, nopal) 5 hours before drinking can significantly reduce hangover severity. Specific symptoms such as dry mouth and nausea were reduced, as well as serum C- reactive protein. Researchers believe that hangover symptoms are due to the activation of inflammation. Use of prickly pear extract is thought to decrease production of those inflammatory mediators*.

You can find supplements with prickly pear at Grass Roots in South Lake Tahoe.


* The content in this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Consult with your primary care physician before starting any supplement to make sure it’s safe for you, and do not disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you read in this post or on our website.

Please share: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone