Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Good News: More Pills for the Modern Drunk 

I love the science section of the New York Times. Usually I read whatever it's running on human evolution and genetics, and then the math and physics articles. The environmental cannot hold my interest and the health articles are even worse.

Today was the exception. I skipped directly to the health article because for once it wasn't about obscure diseases or afflictions that afflict the elderly. It was about something really, really fucking important--The Cure for the Hangovers.
Last summer, a group of doctors reported in The Archives of Internal Medicine that an extract from the fruit of the prickly pear cactus, taken in capsule form, was effective in staving off hangover symptoms like dry mouth and nausea.

Perfect Equation of Vista, Calif., financed the research and has patented the extract, which it says is derived from the skin of the prickly pear, Opuntia ficus.
Of course, I have instructed my smoking hot assistant to get the prickly pear on order stat.

The Times article also discusses a product called Chaser, a pill made from charcoal and calcium carbonate that works by absorbing congeners, impurities in alcohol that are said to cause the worst hangovers. Since there are more congeners in dark alcohols, such as Jameson's Irish Whiskey, this is something I should have picked up a long time ago.

Actually, I read about this in the Village Voice back in July. At the time I decided not to link to it because I was pretty sure that one of the anecdotes was about me. The shame was too fresh. I've since forgotten the entire mess so I don't mind reprinting it here:
Esquire's cocktail writer, David Wondrich, was presented with a package of RU-21 by a "guy who was shockingly hammered" at a Bon App├ętit party earlier this year. Wondrich has yet to take the pills. "He didn't exactly inspire me," explains the professional barfly.

You remember RU-21 right? It was the miracle hangover cure that I was pushing last year around this time. The stuff really works well, even if it slowly dissolves your soul.

It's shocking to me that people think they can still get away with this kind of paternalistic logic:
Most popular remedies, including those sold over the counter, have no peer-reviewed research to back up their assertions. Some experts argue that even conducting such research raises ethical issues.

The development of a foolproof hangover cure, for example, might encourage people to drink more, knowing they could take a pill to avoid suffering the next day.
Uhm, fuck you. No, really, fuck off.

One of these days I'm going to get around to writing out the full Manhattan Transfer hangover prevention system. And I hope it does encourage you to drink more. Because drinking more is really nice. Maybe after I've had a chance to try the prickly pear and the Chaser.