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Kud-zu pass me the bottle?

hangover remedies

Photo by Mario [flickr.com/mariotto52] under CC BY-NC 2.0

Guidelines on the use of medicinal herbs typically address safety and dosage. Often, there is a relationship between these two standards. For side effects are often dose-dependent. That is, an herb that has been shown to cause side effects can feasibly be safely consumed as long as the proper dosage (and frequency) is followed.

An issue that can be overlooked—especially in pop-culture, over-the-counter remedies—is the relationship between herb safety and the part of the plant that is used.

A good pop-culture example: hangover remedies containing kudzu root.

Kudzu is a weed that grows invasively throughout the southern United States. It is also abundant in Asia, and its root has been long-used in Chinese medicine for head and body aches that accompany upper respiratory infections, and to alleviate thirst in feverish conditions.

In the West, it has become common to attribute another healing effect to kudzu root: the ability to relieve hangovers.

Acetaldehyde is a byproduct of alcohol metabolism and is the toxic culprit in hangovers. While kudzu has been shown to aid the breakdown of acetaldehyde in the body…

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Ageing Out

Ageing

Photo by empty007 [flickr.com/empty007] under CC BY-SA 2.0

There is possibly a euphemism for getting old and all that accompanies it: “ageing out.”

Instead of losing your edge, you can age out of competitive sports and become recreational.

Instead of becoming less productive, you can age out of the workforce with a congratulatory early retirement—“Cheers, old chum. You’ve made [room for cheap labor]!

Instead of using a bib, you can age out of fine dining.

Or maybe, rather than being euphemistic, “ageing out” just accurately describes the inevitability of life stages. After all, the term is commonly used in youth as well.

Definitely not a euphemism here, but a sign of encouragement, is that many are ageing out of drug use. With the cost of healthcare (related to drug abuse), the economics and morals of legalizing marijuana, and the overuse of opioids, drug use remains headline material.

In response to current issues, there are several ideas and policies to curb the use of illegal drugs and the abuse of prescription drugs. However, present policies appear to be handicapped, as evidenced by the ongoing attention to the consequences of new cases of drug use.

To balance concerns about the impact of drug use on personal health and the overall economy, there is an optimistic view that many people simply age out of drugs. So, theoretically, no long-term treatment is required (for those that “age out”). This view is evidenced by population studies and surveys. The ageing-out theory is that life stages and changing circumstances eventually preclude the desire for drug use.

There are two issues here. One is that there is still a segment of the population that does not age out of drug use—mostly the impoverished and uneducated. The other is that, [click to continue…]

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