Before the Booze: Cactus extract dulls hangovers

11:09am, June 30, 2004

An inflammation-fighting plant extract, taken hours before consuming alcohol, appears to suppress some of the symptoms brought on by a bout of heavy drinking. The new study, supported by the extract's manufacturer, may have intriguing implications for understanding and preventing the effects of excessive alcohol consumption.

Too much alcohol increases short-term inflammation and can cause tissue damage, according to previous data. That may explain the link observed between frequent hangovers and elevated risk of heart attack. In contrast, moderate alcohol consumption seems to reduce risk of heart disease and dementia, possibly by reducing inflammation of blood vessels (SN: 3/8/03, p. 155: Available to subscribers at When Drinking Helps).

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