Leading article: A taste of honey

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The Independent Online

Feeling delicate this morning? Headache? Upset stomach? Sense of guilt over last night's alcohol-lubricated festivities? Time for some toast and honey. According to the Royal Society of Chemistry this sweet snack is the ideal tonic for a hangover. Forget raw eggs, "hair of the dog" and whatever old wives' tale you've been clinging to over the years: honey provides the body with what it needs most after a night out. Syrup also does the job, although it is rather less appealing first thing in the morning.

It's all about something called acetaldehyde. The body converts alcohol into this toxic chemical, which then goes on to cause the throbbing headaches, nausea and vomiting associated with "the wrath of grapes". Another little tip from the Royal Society is that if you are planning a night out, drink a glass of milk first. Apparently it slows the absorption of alcohol, something that presumably makes those new alcoholic milk drinks rather pointless. It also pays to stick to gin and vodka because they have been purified by distillation.

But this information is no cause for rejoicing. Dr John Emsley of the Royal Society points out that while you might reduce the effects of a hangover with these techniques, only time can actually get rid of one. There's a cheery thought for 2007: there is no such thing as a hangover cure. Suffering after overindulgence is inevitable. Or as Francis Bacon once put it: "I have never found any panacea for a hangover. I don't think one exists, apart from suicide."

Happy New Year everyone!