South Korea is one of Asia's hardest drinking countries having the biggest per capita alcohol consumers, so there's no wonder hangover cures are a big business generating about 150 billion won or $126 million sales per year.
Pills, beverages and even cosmetics that aim to help those who had a boozy night are already available in the country, but alcohol drinkers now have a new option for a hangover cure: ice cream.
The convenience store Withme FS launched an ice cream bar on May 20 that they claim can cure hangover. The grapefruit-flavored icy treat was named "Gyeondyo-bar," or "hang in there."
The key ingredient of the dessert is a traditional Korean medicinal remedy for hangover: the oriental raisin tree fruit juice (Hovenia dulcis). It has been used in hangover drinks for years since the 17th century.
The oriental raisin tree fruit juice, which is also often included as ingredient in other products that claim to cure hangover, supposedly works by helping the liver process alcohol. It can also help detoxify the body.
Gyeondyo-bar contains 0.7 percent oriental raisin tree fruit juice.
Does It Really Work?
A 2012 animal study, which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that the oriental raisin tree extract can reduce symptoms of alcohol intoxication in rats.
UCLA pharmacists Jing Liang and colleagues said that based on their study, dihydromyricetin (DHM), the component of the raisin tree extract, can also help alleviate hangover symptoms in humans.
"We determined DHM anti-alcoholic effects on animal models and determined a major molecular target and cellular mechanism of DHM for counteracting alcohol intoxication and dependence." Jing Liang and colleagues wrote.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), harmful use of alcohol results in 3.3 million deaths per year, which represents 5.9 percent of global deaths.
Alcohol consumption tends to be more dangerous to those between 20 and 39 years old as 25 percent of total deaths in this age group can be attributed to alcohol.
Drinking alcohol is associated with risks for mental and behavioral disorders such as alcohol dependence. It is also linked with elevated risk for liver cirrhosis, cardiovascular diseases, some cancers, and road-related violence and accident injuries.