Since the advent of drinking, people have been trying to prevent and cure hangovers. The ancient Romans ate raw owl eggs to cure hangovers. My American college roommates would stay up until the next morning and then sleep in the name of hangover prevention. I myself have tried everything from inhaling six bananas to watching police traffic videos to take away the pain.
Now, my Japanese coworkers take a special drink said to prevent hangovers. As I’m not a medical professional, I can’t verify the effectiveness of any of these preventions and cures, so if you really want to prevent a hangover, you should either consult a doctor or not drink. If you happen to be in Japan, plan on drinking, and aren’t adverse to drinking tumeric, you might want to see how this “hangover prevention” works for you.
Ukon no Chikara
One evening before a 飲み会 (nomikai, drinking party), I saw a coworker down a sweet-smelling drink in a small metal bottle. When I asked about the drink, she explained that it is called Ukon no Chikara.
Ukon no Chikara is made of turmeric, a type of ginger. The name Ukon no Chikara itself means “the power of turmeric.” Turmeric is a root said to improve digestive function and, in addition, prevent hangovers. Ukon no Chikara is a specific product name, but several other turmeric drinks are sold in Japan, including Ukon Drink (ウコンドリンク) and Ukon no Genki (ウコンの元気).
In the spirit of scientific inquiry, I tried Ukon no Chikara before a drinking party of one, to be held in my bathtub. The drink is bright orange, the color of mango juice. Much like mango juice, the drink was mildly sweet and easy to drink. I had expected more of an acidic “energy drink” taste because many energy drinks come in similar metal bottles.
A few minutes after drinking Ukon no Chikara, I drank Sapporo’s take on black beer, called “Mugi to Hoppusu” (wheat and hops). Happily, the next morning, I did not get a hangover. I only drank about half the can of beer, though, so I’m hesitant to give the credit to Ukon no Chikara. What I did find is that drinking in the bathtub is a bad idea; I felt a little unwell after this experiment. Here’s to science!
Have you tried a ginger drink like Ukon no Chikara? What sort of hangover preventions or cures have you discovered in Japan?
You can now buy Ukon no Chikara SUPER which is a ramped up version of normal Ukon in a larger bottle, in case you were thinking of having a session. It is the holidays.