London - Amid the despair of a festive season hangover, many of us will try almost anything to make it go away.
But popular hangover "cures", from black coffee and pickle juice to raw egg yolks, may not work, a study has suggested.
The good news is that scientists have found a remedy for banging headaches and crippling nausea which is likely to actually help – and tastes nice too.
They recommend a drink made from two-thirds pear, a quarter sweet lime and a tenth coconut water.
The cure might work particularly well with a salad sandwich – as cheese, cucumber and tomatoes also super-charge enzymes that break down a toxic by-product of alcohol in the blood.
Researchers at the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai found that coffee the morning after a night of drinking may actually prolong the misery of a hangover.
That is because coffee reduces the activity of two enzymes in the liver needed to get rid of both alcohol and a chemical called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde, created when alcohol is broken down to be removed from the body, is a major cause of hangovers, causing nausea, vomiting and headaches.
The study, which tested 25 different fruits and vegetables, as well as spices, cereals and dairy products, only looked at them in the laboratory and not in real-life people with hangovers.
But in the journal Current Research in Food Science, the researchers conclude: "A beverage made from a blend of sweet lime, pear and coconut water could be used to overcome a hangover."
The cocktail boosted the two important liver enzymes – alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), which breaks down alcohol in blood, and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), which breaks down its by-product acetaldehyde – by 23 percent and 70 percent respectively.
However, Professor Nathan Davies, from University College London’s Division of Medicine, cautioned: "It’s a cliche, but the only certain way to avoid a hangover is not to drink."