By Kara Beussink
In 2012, a study was done on rats. Drunk rats, to be exact. Researchers injected the little critters with enough alcohol to make them sufficiently rat-toxicated (see what we did there?!), followed by injections of isolated dihydromyricetin (DHM), a flavonoid found in hovenia dulcis (AKA the Japanese raisin tree). Researchers took notes on not only blood alcohol levels, but reactions in mazes and time taken to flip over from their backs. They compared control rats (those who didn’t receive DHM) with rats injected with the supposed hangover helper.
Within minutes, the rats with DHM started showing fewer signs of intoxication and hangover and were finally able to flip back over…while the control rats were still hiding in corners, being anti-social, and acting defensive. Poor little guys.
Generally found in East Asia, the Japanese raisin tree is a fruit tree. However, the stalk is where the magic happens – as the fruit grows, the stalk thickens and develops a sweet raisin taste. People in China, Japan and Korea have been consuming it for over 1,000 years as an herbal medicine to alleviate hangovers. (It’s a key ingredient in Zaca Recovery Chewables!)
Another study done in 2017 reinforces the findings done in the 2012 study. This time, researchers studied the specific effects of Japanese raisin tree extract as a whole on hangovers. They found that ingestion can, in fact, help the body metabolize alcohol more efficiently and protect liver function.
It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway): We don’t encourage heavy drinking or using Japanese raisin tree extracts as an excuse to drink more...but it’s a great option for those nights when that responsible little voice in your head decides to take a vacation!
Want more details? Check out our other posts on the Japanese raisin tree!