Prickly Pear Cactus may have anti-inflammatory properties that can ward off hangovers and lower blood alcohol levels
A study from Jeff Wiese of the Tulane Health Sciences Center in New Orleans is showing a huge reduction in hangover effects by taking a Prickly Pear extract.
The study used a pool of 64 volunteers, half of the subjects receiving 1600 IU of Prickly Pear Cactus extract (Opuntia ficus indica) and the other half an identical placebo. Given 5 hours before alcohol consumption, the volunteers were given the Opuntia ficus indica or the placebo 5 hours before given 4 hours to drink their choice of whiskey, rum, vodka, scotch or tequila.
The following morning their blood and urine samples were taken and examined as well as their over all level of well-being. Two weeks later, the study was repeated with the placebo and Opuntia ficus indica groups reversed. Again, their blood and urine were examined and severity of their hangover assessed.
The scientists reported that subjects who received the prickly pear extract suffered from less severe hangovers compared with the subjects given the placebo. In particular, symptoms of nausea, dry mouth and loss of appetite were significantly reduced.
Specifically the recipients of the extract had lower levels of C-reactive protein, which is produced by the liver and is linked to inflammation.
The scientists published their findings in The Archives of Internal Medicine and have theorized that the symptoms of the alcohol hangover are possibly due to the activation of inflammation in the body as the result of alcohol’s toxins. The Extract of of the OFI plant has a moderate effect on reducing hangover symptoms by inhibiting the body’s inflammatory response.