Could This Healthy Drink Be a Hangover Cure?

POPSUGAR Photography | Maria del Rio
POPSUGAR Photography | Maria del Rio

We know that gut health is important for a number of reasons — so much of your health starts in your gut! A balanced gut with the right mix of bacteria can help with stomach pain and head pain, and science says kombucha could help!

The healthy, trendy drink is popular for valid reasons. In addition to the health benefits of fermented foods, kombucha delivers billions of CFUs of probiotics. Many people have been drinking kombucha during a night of cocktails as a means to balance out the damage from alcohol, and others have claimed that it's a cure for a hangover — but how does it work?

There hasn't been significant research around kombucha specifically for hangovers. In fact, there isn't a lot of scientific research for hangover remedies in general. So let's address the symptoms and point to ways this bubbly brew could potentially help.

When you're fighting a hangover, you're full of toxins from alcohol, you're feeling dehydrated, you've likely got a pretty killer headache, and your stomach hurts — you might even feel a little anxious. Right? Let's take a look at each of those.

  • Toxins: Research from 2014 said that "It is shown that [kombucha tea] can efficiently act in health prophylaxis and recovery due to four main properties: detoxification, antioxidation, energizing potencies, and promotion of depressed immunity." Recovery? Check. Detox? Check. Additionally, many brands of kombucha have a lot of vitamin C, which can give the liver — your body's detox center — a boost.
  • Dehydration: Kombucha has electrolytes, which help with dehydration. No need to grab a Gatorade when you can have a delicious bottle of kombucha!
  • Headache: A 2014 study looked at the relationship between gut health and migraines. The finding was that because probiotics "may play a role in maintaining or improving gut barrier function in human beings, they can have a beneficial effect in migraine patients." Researchers came closer to more conclusive results in 2015, citing the role of the intestines in migraine and headache management. There's also a small amount of caffeine in kombucha, which can have a soothing effect on a headache.
  • Stomachache: Again, research specifically about kombucha for stomachaches is limited — one study says the "antioxitdant activity [and] the ability to protect the gastric tissues" could contribute to the healing properties of the tea. Another study pointed to probiotics' ability to reduce pain perception. Try sipping on a brew made with ginger or peppermint, as both herbs have been used to alleviate nausea for centuries. Lastly, opt for a brew that has a good amount of B complex vitamins (most of them do!). Alcohol depletes B vitamins, which can cause nausea.
  • Anxiousness. There has been conclusive evidence that kombucha can actually mitigate stress and have anti-anxiety effects. Sip your way to calm and relaxation.

Lastly, there is a bit of alcohol in kombucha, and you know what they say about the hair of the dog . . .