Celebrating with alcohol may leave many suffering with the dreaded hangover. But according to a study published in the Journal of Food Science, the amino acids and minerals found in the extract of a specific vegetable may alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells against toxins.
Researchers at the Institute of Medical Science and Jeju National University in South Korea analyzed the components of young asparagus shoots and leaves to compare their biochemical effects on human and rat liver cells. “The amino acid and mineral contents were found to be much higher in the leaves than the shoots,” says lead researcher B.Y. Kim.
Chronic alcohol use causes oxidative stress on the liver as well as unpleasant physical effects associated with a hangover. “Cellular toxicities were significantly alleviated in response to treatment with the extracts of asparagus leaves and shoots,” says Kim. “These results provide evidence of how the biological functions of asparagus can help alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells.”
According to HowStuffWorks, in an informal trial the scientists also found that volunteers who imbibed a drink containing the extract reported fewer hangover symptoms.
Asparagus officinalis is a common vegetable that is widely consumed worldwide and has long been used as an herbal medicine due to its anticancer effects. It also has antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic properties.
So while a trial utilizing asparagus extract on human cells isn’t the same as you taking it upon yourself to eat a steamed plate of the greens before a night out, it can’t hurt to try?