Considering the Georgian era was a time of hard drinking and
mass overindulgence, one would think that finding period remedies for a
hangover would be all too easy. Not so. Either I’m simply not using the right
words* to elicit hits in period books, or they simply didn’t “treat” a pounding
head as we do today. I don’t find any mention of sore heads brought on by drink
in books of housekeeping receipts, or in medical treatment guides, or even in
The Complete Servant, which tells you how to deal with all kinds of other
*I’ve tried every combination of headache, head-ache,
head-ake, head-ach, cure, remedy, drunken, drunkenness, over indulgence that I
can think of.
a hair of the dog that bit you : an alcoholic drink taken to cure a hangover.
So what did I find? Well, “hair of the dog” both the phrase
and concept are period. From the OED:
1611 R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues at Beste,
Our Ale-knights often vse this phrase, and say, Giue vs a haire of the dog that
last bit vs.
1706 E. Ward Rambling Fuddle-Caps 4
We leap'd out of Bed with a strong Appetitus, To swallow a Hair of the Dog that
had bit us.
1834 W. A. Caruthers Kentuckian in N.Y. I.
He presently proposed that we should go..and see some
fine fellers..who were going to have a night of it. Well, said I, ‘a little
hair of the dog is good for the bite.’
1841 Dickens Barnaby Rudge lii. 239
Drink again. Another hair of the dog that bit you, captain!
As close a reference as I could find in The Complete Servant
That Charles II supposedly paid five thousand pounds for the
receipt of his favorite cure, Goddard’s Drops, which appear to be some kind of volatile
salts (aka smelling salts/spirit of hartshorn) that were applied to the temples
Culpeper says Juice of Ivy, inhaled!
And Pliny, who most of the men of the ton would have read at
some point, recommended owl eggs and raw garlic (a precursor to Jeeves’s well
known “Worcestershire sauce, raw egg, and pepper concoction?), or eels
suffocated in wine before being eaten raw.
Anyone out there have a source that I’ve missed?