Prickly Pear Cactus

Using Prickly Pear Cactus as a Hangover Cure

prickly pear cactus hangover curePrickly pear cactus is a folk remedy for all kinds of things in Native American and Mexican culture — everything from burns to diabetes. A 2004 study conducted by Tulane Health Sciences Center found that an extract made from the skin of the prickly pear cut the misery of a severe hangover in half. Specifically, the extract helped with nausea, dry mouth and loss of appetite while not doing much for other hangover symptoms like a headache or fatigue.

Maybe don't go out and take a bite out of a prickly pear if you have a hangover though. Aside from the obvious reason of wanting to avoid getting thousands of those tiny spine things stuck in your tongue and throat (imagine that on top of a hangover); the folks that make the extract used in the study say that you'd need to eat about six tons of prickly pear to get what's in the extract.

So, things to keep in mind with regard to the prickly pear hangover remedy:

  • It only helps with dry mouth and upset stomach (no small part of the misery of a hangover), so you'll probably want to pair it with something for the headache.
  • It's preventative. The subjects in the study took the extract five hours before they even started drinking; so it might not help much taken the morning after a big night out.
  • Just straight prickly pear skin probably won't do much for you. You got to get the extract.