Chinese Herbs for St. Patrick’s Day Hangovers

by John G. McGarvey |

Chinese Herbs for St. Patrick’s Day Hangovers

Despite my Irish heritage, Chinese herbal medicine flows through my body.  So does the desire, spirit and energy to have a good time (traits from both these cultures!).  But as I age, I increasingly experience bad hangovers the next morning.  So on this St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll raise my goblet to my ancestors from County Tyrone, but I’ll start and finish the evening with a dose of Bao He Wan, the powerful herbs behind our incredibly popular Digestive Harmony. As it’s proven for me time and again, Bao He Wan nips my next morning mental and physical fog in the ‘arse (Irish for “bud”).
No more hangovers.

What is Bao He Wan?

Translated to “Preserve Harmony”, Bao He Wan is an 8-herb combination that in Chinese herbal medicine is used to “disperse accumulations, abduct stagnation, harmonize the stomach and clear heat”.  To translate, and as our customers attest, it keeps your stomach happy.  It’s a classic formula that’s great for on-going digestive maintenance, while others find it can be helpful when in a digestive pinch. The herbs are coincidentally also great for next-day hangovers.

A Chinese Formula for Hangovers

Hangovers happen because alcohol is a diuretic, which ultimately leads to dehydration.  With each glass we’re putting down, we’re introducing a toxin into our body, which at first leads to a tremendous amount of fun, but from which we ultimately pay a price.  Our body needs to get rid of toxins (alcohol breaks down into acetaldehydes), a process that eventually leads to nausea and the other side effects that accompany your hangover the next morning.  So how do Chinese herbs help?

Bao He Wan can both help prevent a hangover while also helping if one sets in the next day.  Its ingredients include such herbs as hawthorn fruit and radish seeds which help strengthen digestion, along with tangerine peel and ginger which are great if the hangover side effects ratchet-up.  There are a few other herbs that help with sleep and potential overheating – typical un-pleasantries if we’ve had a bit too much to drink.

“Cheers” to Digestive Harmony

Since I was introduced to Chinese herbs nearly 15 years ago, I’m always amazed by the practical, everyday applications of the formulas.  As one of our original launch formulas, Digestive Harmony is a must-have for me before a night on the town.  I typically drink a packet or two as the night gets going, and always drink one more before I call it a night (with lots of water).  As an added bonus, Digestive Harmony tastes great with the orange-chai flavors, making for a rather refreshing experience when dehydration kicks-in.

For me, the next day results are incredible (and as a descendant of Ireland, I can attest many times over). I wake-up pretty cool, energized and ready to go again (if only my wife would let me).  So as you raise a glass to St. Patrick this year, let Chinese herbs work their magic and make your next day as great as you felt as the celebration began.

John G. McGarvey is a co-founder of DAO Labs and a regular contributor to The Way. A frequent visitor to China and Asia for both business and pleasure, he is an avid consumer of Chinese medicine. He can be reached at

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