The holidays are a time when many people let loose and really imbibe, and it’s also a time of year when having a massive hangover is very unwelcome. To help you out this holiday season, we put four of the most notable Hangover Cures to the test to see how they stack up. The contenders for this match up are: Zaca Organic Herbal Hangover Patch, Last Round Hangover Support, Nuun Electrolyte Enhanced Drink Tabs, and Drinkin’ Mate Hangover Defense Tabs. We were surprised to find that, in one way or another, all four of these hangover cures actually worked.
It’s important to note that each product lists itself as a hangover support, defense or patch. No matter which option you pick, if you do not hydrate while drinking alcohol, you will not feel happy in the morning. Whichever option you ultimately select, be sure to have a nice tall glass of water next to whatever you drink this holiday season and hydrate!
Zaca Herbal Hangover Patch – ($20 for 1 Pack of 6 Patches / $3.33 per use) [Ingredients: 3MG Vitamin C, 5MG Lycopene, 3MG NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine) , 4MG B1, 3MG Prickly Pear, 1MG B5, 2MG B3, 3MG Magnesium, 3MG Taurine, 3MG Lipoic Acid, 5MG Milk Thistle]
Of all the hangover cures we tried, we were most skeptical about Zaca. Worn as a patch that you affix before drinking (and then wear for 24 hours), Zaca looks like something you’d use to stop smoking rather than something used to a prevent hangover. We applied the patch before a night of fairly hard drinking and were astounded to find that not only did Zaca help us avoid a hangover, it made us feel better while we were drinking!
What we love about Zaca is that it’s pretty fool proof. More than once, we’ve returned from a night of heavy libations and forgotten to take anything to prevent a hangover. Since you apply Zaca to your body before you start drinking, you are more likely to have the support you need in the morning.
Nuun Electrolyte Enhanced Drink Tabs – ($6.50 per Tube of 12 Tablets / $0.54 per use) [Ingredients – citric acid, sorbitol, sodium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, natural flavors, magnesium sulfate, sodium benzoate, polyethylene glycol, ascorbic acid, acesulfame potassium, calcium carbonate, beet root, riboflavin-5-phosphate.]
To be fair, Nuun does not bill itself in any way as a hangover cure. Nuun was designed as a compact and sugar-free electrolyte beverage for high-impact sports athletes (like marathon running and cycling). Nuun does address one of the key issues with drinking too much – dehydration. We discovered Nuun from a group of bartenders who swear by it, advising us to take one Nuun before drinking and one after. At $0.54 cents a tablet, it’s by far the most inexpensive of the hangover cures we tried and cheap enough to take both before and after drinking.
Nuun is designed to be used in 16 ounces of water, which can be a little hard to get down after drinking all night. We tried Nuun in both 16oz and 12oz glasses of water and preferred the taste and ease of drinking at 12 ounces better. Since Nuun doesn’t have sugar, it is not the most delicious of the hangover cures.
We tried Nuun after a night of particularly hard drinking and found that it did indeed hydrate well. While the next morning wasn’t 100% hangover free, we felt significantly better after using Nuun than when we didn’t. We think that using Nuun in combination with the Zaca patch may just be the best hangover cure you can buy.
Last Round Hangover Support – ( $2.99 per bottle/use) [Ingredients – kudzu extract, Stevia extract, green tea extract, ginko extract, ural licorice extract DGL, water, natural flavor, potassium sorbate, phosphoric acid]
Last Round Hangover Support hangs its hat on kudzu extract, which amusingly has shown in studies to make drinkers actually drink less alcohol. It has also been shown to help reduce the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, which after a heavy night of drinking can be the difference between loads of pain the next day and feeling ready to go. No matter how it works, all we care about is that it actually works.
Drinking the small 2.4 ounce bottle at the end of the night was easy and tasted pretty good, like lightly sweetened green tea. We love that it’s small and goes down easy (unlike 16 ounces of unsweetened electrolyte water), and after a strong night of drinking,the next morning was completely pain free, even for our tester who was the most apt to get a hangover. At $3 a pop, the Last Round Hangover Support was one of the most expensive hangover reliefs we tried, but it also happened to be one of the best.
Drinkin’ Mate Hangover Defense Tabs – ($9 per Tube of 6 Tablets / $1.50 per use) [Ingredients – 100o mg Wild Guava Leaf Extract, citric acid, sorbitol, sodium bicarbonate, naturan and artificial flavors, sodium carbonate, mineral oil, Sucralose, coloring]
The main ingredient in Drinkin’ Mate is Wild Guava Leaf, which is a super antioxidant (like Acai) that helps your body deal with ‘free radicals’ including some of the elements in distilled spirits which give you a hangover. Drinkin’ Mate is taken by putting one tablet in 4-6 ounces of water. The tablet is extremely fizzy and the resulting glass is a murky, dark purple-black color. The taste isn’t nearly as bad as it looks and it’s significantly sweeter than Nuun.
Our experiences with Drinkin’ Mate Hangover Defense were a little more hit or miss. Across the board, Drinkin’ Mate lessened the severity of the hangover but didn’t always prevent it. Since you drink only 4-6 ounces of water with Drinkin’ Mate, it’s especially important to ensure that you are properly hydrated before calling it a night. At $1.50 a pop, it’s a more affordable route to go over Last Round or Zaca, but we felt that the other two were well worth the additional money.
No matter which of the Hangover Cures you chose, we found hydration is really a key. Even with the best of these hangover remedies, if we skimp on water, we suffer from dehydration the next morning.