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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*This is Japan is regular blog series where I write something about Japan. It could be something about Japanese culture, a story about living in Japan, or something random and funny/weird. If you like to read This is Japan, please subscribe below to join my email community. And leave a comment below below and let me know your thoughts on this post!