If the aftermath of New Year’s Eve partying has got you feeling like death, know that you’re not alone. According to studies, the first of January is the deadliest day of the year, which at least lends an air of science to your dramatic moaning. Before reaching for your personal hangover cure, take a look at these time-tested (note: not medically-tested) morning-after remedies.

Fried Canary

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The Ancient Romans did their fair share of partying, and in turn had all sorts of bizarre hangover remedies. The most common comes courtesy of Pliny the Elder, a philosopher and naturalist whose recipe for deep-fried canary was basically the greasy egg sandwich of ancient times. Pliny’s recipe called for the bird to be beheaded and defeathered before the frying, with salt added to taste.

Dried Bull Penis

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Yep. For centuries, Sicilian men would beat the vino-headaches and “restore their virility” by munching on the dried penis of a bull. No word on whether or not this worked, but anyone with Sicilian roots can attest to the difficulty of turning down a freshly prepared meal. Apparently this applies even when the meal in question is dick-jerky.

Godard’s Drops (Skull not included)

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Dr. Jonathan Goddard, a respected 17th-century physician, took a particularly morbid approach to the hangover problem with his personal remedy, Goddard’s Drops. A favorite of King Charles II, the elixir called for dried viper, ammonia, and “the skull of a person recently hanged.”

Raw Eel

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via strange-ology

Raw eel was the most common hangover combatant during the middle ages. On the surface this makes total sense, as the delicious fish is a great source of protein, calcium, and various vitamins. But European doctors had a different reasoning for their prescription: They believed that, once ingested, the sea-creature would come alive and drink up any leftover alcohol in the stomach.


This remedy, courtesy of British author Kingsley Amis in On Drink (1972)may not be particularly historical, but it’s probably my favorite of the list. Amis believed that the physical hangover could not be cured without addressing the metaphysical hangover, that is, “the ineffable compound of depression, sadness (these two are not the same), anxiety, self-hatred, sense of failure and fear for the future” that one experiences after a night out. His prescription: “a good cry.”

Feature image via Library of Congress