Does Turmeric Really Prevent Hangovers?In Japan, a lot of people go out drinking on Friday nights. And Saturday. And Thursday and Wednesday. Sometimes even Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. If you happen to be in a busy part of your city around 8:00 to 11:00 PM, it’s not hard to find a few people who are clearly drunk out of their skull. (And the next morning, you will see lovely piles of puke dotting the streets.) If you happen to be going out with a group of Japanese people who will be drinking, you might notice them drinking little orange bottles of something before getting started. The little bottles are a Japanese power of turmeric drinks, and the belief is that it helps prevent a hangover the next day. But is this true? Does turmeric really prevent hangovers?

Does the Japanese power of turmeric really prevent hangovers?

Turmeric is a a type of ginger root. It’s often used to season food and gives curries a nice bright yellow colour. And it stains counters and plastic kitchen ware and your toothbrush. It also is said to have a lot of lofty health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and preventing cancer.

I didn’t realize until I came to Japan, but it’s also believed to prevent or lessen hangovers from drinking. There are a few brands of turmeric drink you can buy at the convenience stores. They come in little orange metal bottles. A common brand is called Ukon no Chikara, which means “The Power of Turmeric.”

I’ve been on a bit of turmeric kick lately. Not really sure why. I don’t even remember what it was that got me interested. Anyway, I’ve been drinking turmeric tea and adding extra turmeric to it, and even drinking the little bottles of turmeric juice sold at the convenience stores. I tried one of the bottles a couple weeks because I was curious what it tasted like. It’s a bit sweet, but kind of tastes like medicine. It was not too bad though.

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Prior to my turmeric kick, I knew the Japanese word ukon, but didn’t know that it meant turmeric. It only just recently clicked in my brain, and I was able to put two and two together: the thing people are drinking to prevent hangovers is turmeric! Huh?

My initial reaction was doubt, but then I wondered, maybe turmeric really does prevent hangovers…

I tried to do a bit of research online,  but couldn’t find anything conclusive. There are lots of blogs touting the “power of turmeric” in reducing hangovers because it has curcumin in it. Curcumin is supposed to benefit the digestive tract, and help liver process out the alcohol. However, I have not seen any scientific or published clinic studies confirming that it makes any difference with hangovers.

So…my answer is, no.

It might be one of those things that people want to believe is true.

I’m not going to do my own experiment though. I don’t drink, and I’m not about to start now for the sake of finding out whether turmeric really prevent hangovers. As far as I know, the only way to prevent a hangover is to not drink.

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But what are your thoughts? Does the Japanese power of turmeric really prevent hangovers? Have you found turmeric or any other food or drink that magically prevents hangovers? 

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Does The Japanese Power Of Turmeric Really Prevent Hangovers?

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  1. Do not drink if you do not want hangovers. Wise Jen. You know it is only with the passage of years that it has finally sunk into me. You do not need to get drunk to have a good time. I did not know turmeric could cure one of hangovers though I am a strong believer in the restorative powers of turmeric too. I mean come on I am an Indian. We have turmeric in everything. But how on earth do you manage to sip on turmeric tea?! It must be ghastly!!! When I was young, my mother would make us chew an inch of raw turmeric with molasses every morning, and when I had tummy upsets, she would administer warm water/milk with turmeric powder. It was the terrible-est thing I have ever had in my life apart from oyster water which she also made me drink.

    • I’ve only had a very vague understanding of turmeric and didn’t know that it has so many healing qualities. It was not a spice that I grew up with. I did have molasses growing up, but it was hard for me to eat because it’s so strong. Turmeric and molasses does not sound very yummy. The tea is actually not bad. I bought it, so it has other spices in it to make it taste good. Did warm turmeric milk help with the tummy aches? What was the oyster water for? It doesn’t good at all.

      • Frankly I did not like biting into molasses and turmeric. Double whammy. But my mother would not abide insubordination 😉 (I have often chucked fish out of the window when she had her back turned).
        Hmm spiced-up tea sounds lovely. In India we have chai which is tea boiled with milk, sugar and spices like cardamom. It used to taste delicious as I was growing up but now I cannot abide milk and sugar in my cuppa. How time changes things right?

        Warm turmeric milk/water is healing. You feel the difference it makes quite obviously. And oyster water was for my eyes. Since I started wearing glasses as a child, my mother was paranoid about the health of my eyes and since she is a great believer in leaves and natural cures for everything, she decided oysters were going to be my saviour. I make fun of her but as I grow up, I realise she inspires me (not that she knows that) 🙂

        • Haha, I think this is not the first story of yours I have heard of you disobeying your mother. I do remember drinking chai in India. It was very yummy. That time I was in the Himalayas, our host brought us huge glasses of chai three or four times a day, with each meal. “chai chai!” I like to drink it in Japan too, but it’s not quite the same. Oyster water does not sound like fun, but mother knows best.

          • Let’s put it this way, my mother had her hands full.

            Oh yes, your Himalayan adventures which I shall wait to read when you choose to share them 🙂 Chai would have tasted even better up on the hills where even Maggi or full-boiled eggs served up with chopped onions and chillies taste like heaven. Did you try them at all?
            Count yourself immensely lucky that you did not have to drink goopy oyster waters 😛

          • No, I don’t remember eating those things. And I don’t think I will post about my Himalayan adventures now, since I’ve focused my blog on Japan… so sad, sorry 🙁

  2. I have never tried turmeric drink. I use it frequently in my curries though. As for hangovers…..I don’t drink that much like I used to many many many years ago. Lol… 😉

  3. Similarly, I knew about Ukon before I realized it was turmeric too. Fortunately i love turmeric for making indian and thai food among other things. I do drink (within moderation) and I’ve tried it a couple times. I could swear that it DOES make a noticeable difference when I’ve tried it! I have no evidence… and who knows, maybe placebo effect? But I’m hesitant to discount it entirely. But yes, stay hydrated is the best advice next to not drinking.

    • It is nice to cook with sometimes. I wonder if it is a placebo effect. Or if it really does work, I wonder if one little can is enough. Maybe you would need to drink a bunch of them. Drinking water is often a solution to many things.

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