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Penguin Random House
Humankind has outlived the plague, devised countless written and spoken languages, and flown to the moon, but there's one thing humans still haven't figured out: a hangover cure that actually works.

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Writer Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall spent years researching (that's a fancy way of saying "drinking") for his new book, Hungover: The Morning After and One Man's Quest for the Cure, published last month by Penguin Random House. The book's publicity team has yet to send the Stranger a review copy, but this was probably fiscally smart on their part because this sounds like a required purchase for everyone in the Stranger office.

In Hungover, Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall—the name of a professional drinker if I've ever heard one—examines history's different hangover myths and cures, in desperate, head-throbbing search of one that actually works. And he seems to have found one.

Sure, we've all tried ad hoc cures of our own, and we all have our own particular methods of getting through the worst repercussions of an enjoyable night out. What we end up with is usually a muddle of assorted piecemeal bandaids to take the edge off, from Emergen-C to those Java coffee/energy drinks (for replenishing Vitamin B), from greasy cheesesteaks to Pedialyte, from hair of the dog (always a mistake, unless it's during a prolonged wedding weekend) to howling at the void and cursing the various names of God (which basically works as well as anything else). And yet there doesn't seem to be a surefire cure that's readily available and actually does the job. Hey, does anybody remember Chaser? That stuff kinda worked, didn't it?

The New York Post interviewed Bishop-Stall about the new book:

Bishop-Stall recorded everything he drank on a night out and assessed the severity of his symptoms the next day. Then, he proceeded to drink the same stuff another night, but added in a hangover remedy and tracked its effects.

“It was a process of elimination until I got . . . ingredients that I thought held some merit,” he says.

Over the course of his liquor-soaked journey, Bishop-Stall tried hundreds of so-called treatments. These spanned everything from bizarre culinary cures (eels and pickled sheep’s eyes) to high-end hangover helpers (a pricey but effective nutrient IV) to the classic “hair of the dog” strategy (one Bishop-Stall used often; the man was drinking almost every day, after all).

“Pretty much every facet of my health did take a real hit during [those] years,” says Bishop-Stall. “I gained weight, had problems with my circulatory system . . . My mental health took a whack too.”

But his exhaustive research paid off: In the book, he reveals that he did, indeed, find a reliable hangover cure.

The miracle cure, apparently, is something called N-acetylcysteine, or NAC for short. It's best used in conjunction with a bouquet of B vitamins (B1, B6, and B12), and milk thistle and frankincense help, too.

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Frankincense??

Look, desperate headaches call for desperate measures. And I don't know where you can find a steady supply of NAC—you'll probably have to read Bishop-Stall's book, something I plan on doing myself—but I'm curious to find out more. I'm also wondering if Bishop-Stall's research included the burgeoning legal cannabis market and its plethora of CBD products, some of which have anti-inflammatory properties that've been touted to take the edge off of hangovers.

At any rate, it sounds like there's still room for argument over the best hangover cure, but at the very least, Hungover sounds like a step in the right direction. Maybe one day we can drink to our hearts' content and pop cheap, readily available NAC capsules in the morning. Actually, that might not be such a good thing. One of the unassailable truths of existence is that what goes up must come down, and that includes painful, soul-searching ramifications after you spend a night in the cups.