Hangover Cure From 1,000 Years Ago

September 2, 2014, 2:24 PM
PHOTO: Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq's cookbook from the 10th century
Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq's cookbook from the 10th century
Courtesy Nawal Nasrallah

— -- When you’re hungover, you’ll do anything to make it stop: anti-inflammatory meds, greasy food, even more alcohol.

Here’s one you probably haven’t tried, though -- eating an ancient Iraqi stew.

That’s what Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq claimed as the ultimate hangover cure in his 10th century Baghdadi cookbook, helpfully translated by Iraqi scholar Nawal Nasrallah in her book, “Annals of the Caliphs’ Kitchens.”

“There were things you take before, things you take while you are drinking, and of course after when you wake up in the morning,” Nasrallah told ABC News of the advice in the ancient cookbook. “For example, cabbage before drinking will slow down intoxication. They also encouraged having mezze [appetizers] and alternating between having them and drinking. Take a sip and have, for example, roasted nuts.”

Al-Warraq was especially specific in his post-drinking advice.

“You need to know that drinking cold water first thing in the morning is recommended only for people suffering from … hangovers,” he wrote. “However, they should avoid drinking it in one big gulp. Rather, they need to have it in several small doses and breathe deeply between one dose and the other.”

So, start by taking deep breaths and sips of cold water, and then follow it up with kishkiyya, a meat and chickpea stew, which al-Warraq included as the best hangover food, citing an even older poem about the dish as evidence.

PHOTO: Kishkiyya, an ancient Iraqi stew used to cure hangovers.
Kishkiyya, an ancient Iraqi stew used to cure hangovers.
Laila El-Haddad

“The nourishing dish to have when in the gripes of a hangover one craves some food. ... Having eaten it intoxicated one will be all anew and the hangover will itself renew,” the poem stated.

“They used to think it was easy to digest and alleviated the symptoms of the hangover,” Nasrallah explained. “It’s a simple dish. They cook the meat with onions, some vegetables, some spices like coriander and cumin and they let it boil. Then they add kishk, which the dish gets its name from, which are clumps of dried yogurt and bulgur.”

To make kishkiyya for your next wild night, click here for the recipe.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events