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  • Writer's pictureTea Para Ti

Green Tea for Hangovers: The Remedy I Wish I Knew About in College

A woman lying on a bed with legs kicked up while drinking a cup of green tea for hangover

It's the next morning and the headache hits hard. It's difficult to open your eyes or rouse yourself out of bed. Once you manage to, the nausea comes on strong. Last night was fun, but you start having some regrets.

Perhaps you're thinking of brewing a cup of coffee to fight the hangover that'll certainly be with you the next few hours. But, that may make you jittery and cause you to feel worse, not better.

What about a nice cup of green tea for your hangover, instead?

Though there's really no magic cure for a hangover, there are some remedies that can help alleviate the symptoms, and one in particular is green tea.

Here's how green tea can help with hangovers, and how the same benefits that help you get back to yourself after a long night can also help in other ways, too.

Has Green Tea Always Been Used for Hangovers?

Well, kind of. The benefits of green tea — including what it can do for hangovers — has been studied for a long time.

Tea has been an integral part of Chinese culture and society for over 5,000 years (don't worry, though — you're not THAT late to the game). It was during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) that tea began to gain popularity as a popular beverage. By the time of the Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE), tea had become a major industry in China, and tea culture began to flourish. However, the specific health benefits of green tea were not fully understood until the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 CE), when there was renewed interest in the health benefits of tea.

The Chinese physician Li Shizhen wrote about the medicinal properties of tea in his book Ben cau gang mu (Compendium of Materia Medica), which is considered one of the most comprehensive and influential medical texts in Chinese history. In his book, Li Shizhen noted that tea could help detoxify the body, reduce inflammation, and eliminate harmful toxins. Ben cau gang mu contains detailed information about the medicinal properties of over 1,800 substances, including herbs, minerals, and animal products. (A book we definitely recommend adding to your collection.)

Modern scientific research has confirmed many of the health benefits of green tea that were recognized by Li Shizhen and others in ancient China. Today, green tea is still a popular remedy for hangovers in its birthplace, with many people using it as a natural and effective way to alleviate the headaches, nausea, and overall unpleasant feeling associated with a hangover. Or, simply as a way to get started in the morning!

Green Tea and Hangovers: The Science Behind the Remedy

Couple drinking green tea for hangover outside bakery window

When you drink alcohol, your liver works hard to metabolize it, breaking it down into acetaldehyde, a toxic substance that can cause inflammation and damage to your cells. This process can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and low blood sugar levels, which contribute to the unpleasant symptoms associated with a hangover. Of course, the way we experience hangovers may vary from one person to the next, and it can also vary based on what you drank, how much you drank, what time you stopped, etc.

Enter green tea. Being rich in antioxidants such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) —which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help protect against cell damage caused by acetaldehyde — its just one of the many ways green tea can help recover after a night of drinking.

But, wait...there's more!

Green Tea Reduces Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

As mentioned, green tea is packed with antioxidants and polyphenols, which are powerful compounds that can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. This is particularly important for those suffering from a hangover, as inflammation and oxidative stress can contribute to many of the unpleasant symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, and nausea.

Green Tea is Natural Diuretic

One of the main causes of hangovers is dehydration, which can be worsened by alcohol consumption. Green tea is a natural diuretic, which means it can help flush out excess fluids from the body and prevent dehydration. This is important because dehydration can lead to headaches, dizziness, and other uncomfortable symptoms.

Green Tea Gets You Hydrated

Speaking of dehydration, drinking green tea is also just an easy way to rehydrate your body, as it contains a high concentration of water and electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium. Same reason some people choose to fight hangover with a sports drink. These minerals are crucial for maintaining fluid balance in your body and can help alleviate symptoms of dehydration.

Green Tea Protects Your Liver

Alcohol consumption can be hard on the liver, but green tea can help protect this vital organ from damage. Green tea is rich in catechins, which have been shown to have a protective effect. This can be particularly important for those who consume alcohol regularly or in large quantities. (However, if you're someone who drinks often, green tea will likely not help long term. Instead, it may be worth talking to family, a doctor, and/or counselor and checking out resources about how to curb your drinking and live a healthier lifestyle.)

Green Tea Has a Nice Amount of Caffeine

Caffeine can be both helpful and harmful when it comes to hangovers. On one hand, it can help alleviate headaches by constricting blood vessels, while also reducing the fatigue and brain fog associated with a hangover. But, it can also make you jittery and unsettled. That's why having the right balance of caffeine is important in this situation.

Green tea, thankfully, is a great choice for those who are sensitive to caffeine but still want to reap the benefits without resorting to black coffee.

Green Tea vs. Other Hangover Remedies

Woman peeling eye masks from below eyes to fight hangover

There are many hangover remedies out there, from greasy foods to sports drinks, and most of us have our go-to hangover packet when the time calls for it. The thing is, while these remedies may help alleviate some of the symptoms of a hangover, they do not address the underlying causes of the problem.

Green tea, however, has been shown to have many health benefits that can help reduce the severity of a hangover. By drinking green tea, you are providing your body with antioxidants, polyphenols, and other beneficial compounds that can help reduce inflammation, protect the liver, and prevent dehydration.

Of course, green tea is not a cure-all for hangovers. It is still important to drink plenty of water, get enough rest, and be mindful of how much alcohol you're consuming in order to avoid a hangover.

Giphy of The Hangover movie

Can You Drink Green Tea While Drinking to Ward Off a Hangover?

Just like drinking a cup of water between each alcoholic drink or making sure to eat good before a night of drinking, green tea can also be used as a preventative measure against hangovers if you drink it alongside alcohol. Due to the compounds that help inhibit the activity of certain enzymes that break down alcohol in the liver, green tea may be able to help slow down the absorption of alcohol in the body. This may be a way to reduce the severity of a hangover, but we haven't quite tested it ourselves yet!

At the very least, drinking green tea while drinking alcohol can also help keep you hydrated which also helps.

How to Drink Green Tea for Hangovers

Women smiling holding a cup of green tea for hangover

If you want to try using green tea as a hangover remedy, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Drink green tea in moderation. While green tea can provide many health benefits, drinking too much caffeine can worsen some hangover symptoms, such as anxiety and restlessness.

  • Hydrate with water. Though green tea can help keep you hydrated, most people just have a cup of tea when they do have it. This may not be enough to fully hydrate your body, especially if you are experiencing a severe hangover. Aim to drink at least one glass of water for every cup of green tea you consume.

  • Choose a high-quality green tea. One that's rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. Some of the best green teas for hangovers include matcha, sencha, and gyokuro. These teas are made from high-quality leaves that are rich in beneficial compounds.

  • Consider adding some natural sweeteners. Adding honey or lemon to your green tea can help to soothe your stomach and provide additional health benefits, while giving you a little sugary boost to help with the hangover.

Now that you know what green tea can do for your next hangover, let us know how it goes!

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