Adios Gatorade! Here’s Your New Hangover Cure

Flickr/Tamaki Sono/CC BY

You could chug Gatorade, pump yourself with Pedialyte or load up on bananas to cure a hangover, but Japanese salt-preserved plums are just way more exciting. Umeboshi is made from the Japanese ume fruit, which is around the size of a golfball and kind of like a plum, closely resembling an apricot.

If you consider yourself a brave soul (and by brave soul, we mean you used to shove like five Sour Warheads in your mouth at a time when you were a kid) then, by all means, eat umeboshi straight up. For the rest of you who prefer a more mellow approach, soak umeboshi (just one) for five minutes in hot water and then drink the tea and eat the umeboshi together. About two or three of these miracle plums per week is an average amount to consume. You can find umeboshi at most Japanese grocery stores or your local Asian market.

Ume fruit is harvested and cured with sea salt for a couple of months and the result is intensely sour, pickled and salty. The Japanese fruit is usually eaten as a side dish with boiled rice. Umeboshi is also part of a time-honored Japanese folk remedy for colds and flues called okayu, a type of rice porridge.

The process of making umeboshi involves pickling the plums, leaving them out to be exposed to natural elements, packing them into barrels with crude sea salt and shiso leaves and then pressing them down with a weight over the course of six months or more. This whole process creates the natural bacteria, organic acids, enzymes and intense alkaline qualities that umeboshi is known for. Often eaten as a snack in Japanese culture, the pickled plum boasts an incredible amount of health-promoting properties. These organic acids ensure the breakdown of other excess acids in the body and can help to balance, or even eliminate, the symptoms of a hangover, fatigue, morning sickness, car or sea sickness and some headaches and stomach issues.

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