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The World Takes on a Common Enemy: The Hangover

"First you take a drink," wrote American author F. Scott Fitzgerald, "then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you." That final 'taking' is less obliquely described as a 'hangover,' and it's a bugbear which revelers the world over have long sought to slay. Chinese poet and inveterate alcoholic Li Bai preferred the hair of the proverbial dog: His 8th century Tang-dynasty poem Waking From Drunkenness on a Spring Day describes how Li emerged from a sloshed slumber to find wine nearby; so he filled his cup, and "wildly singing I waited for the moon to rise/when my song was over, all my senses had gone." The fruitless search for a hangover cure, or at least a serviceable placebo, borders on universal. Below are some of the most interesting -- we won't say most effective -- sourced from the FP editors:

China: Chinese often turn to herbal teas to ameliorate a hangover. But researchers at the country's prestigious Sun Yat-Sen University in the southern city of Guangzhou have studied the effects of 57 popular liquid remedies, and they aren't impressed. In a report published Sept. 2013, they claim that only two of the dozens analyzed are "suitable for drinking by humans who consume alcohol excessively." One is a Chinese brand of soda water, the other: humble Sprite.

Germany: The first meal of the day after a night of heavy drinking is called Katerfrühstück, and Germans think it does the trick. Katerfrühstück usually comprises marinated herring, pickled cucumber, or food with a sour smack.

Japan: Umeboshi, pickled plums high in vitamin C, are a favorite antidote. So is green tea, although traditionalists may now wish to consider Sprite as a suitable replacement. 

Korea: Sulguk is a specially-formulated genus of guk , or soup, which literally means "soup to chase a hangover." It usually contains dried cabbage, other vegetables, and ox blood.

Philippines: The ostensibly hangover-busting balut is no ordinary egg; those making first contact with the Filipino street food, a duck embryo that's been boiled alive, are advised to swallow the thing whole rather than hazard a chew.

Russia and Poland: Russians and Poles both drink pickle or sauerkraut juice on those miserable mornings, although some of Poland's more daring revelers imbibe soured milk instead.

United States: As with so many matters of culture and cuisine, U.S. citizens are eclectic, generally willing to borrow whatever works. One southern mainstay: Chicken tenders, biscuits, spicy fries, and water at chain restaurant Bojangles. Such traditions may eventually have to make way for UCLA researchers, who claim in a paper published Feb. 17 to have found the particular enzymes that break down alcohol. All that's left is to find a way to turn them into a pill.

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