New tests of the extract of Japanese raisin-tree seeds (hovenia dulcis) appear to have confirmed that their “active ingredient” is highly effective at blocking the effects of alcohol. Big Think reports:
Scientists at UCLA gave a group of rats the “human equivalent” of 15 to 20 beers during a two-hour binge. We’ll call this group the Rat Blackout Brigade. These rats not only passed out cold, but also lost the reflex mechanism that allows them to flip over when placed on their backs.
Another group of rats got tanked up with the same amount of alcohol, except this group was also given a shot of DHM. While the DHM rats eventually passed out as well, it took them longer to become intoxicated and their stupor lasted only 15 minutes. These rats also regained their reflexes quickly. In other words, the study concluded that DHM counteracts intoxication and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. And most significantly, DHM was found to reduce voluntary alcohol consumption. (After a two-week bender, the rats did not become dependent).
Hovenia dulcis has been used as a folk remedy for centuries to treat a wide range of alcohol-induced ailments, including liver injuries. In fact, the Raisin Tree was recorded in the world’s first pharmacopoeia, Tang Ben Cao. It is said that during the Song Dynasty the poet Su Dongpo, who had a propensity for excessive alcohol consumption, used zhi ju zi, or Raisin Tree extract, to help him hold his liquor.
I don’t know. As far as I can tell, this h. dulcis stuff interferes with all the effects of alcohol, both the ones you don’t want and the ones you do. I know a simpler way of accomplishing that, and it’s cheap, too: don’t drink. (I give that a whirl every once in a great while, and as it happens it’s how I’m spending this January — mainly because I enjoy being able, now and then, to flip myself over when placed on my back.) I suppose this raisin-seed elixir would be good for someone who just wants a nice glass of wine with dinner, say, for purely aesthetic reasons, but I think it’s safe to say that most people consuming alcohol have a motivation that goes beyond finding the perfect pairing for their aumônière d’oeuf poché Périgueux.
On the other hand, if someone were to come up with a medicament that reliably eliminates the existential crisis commonly known as “the morning after”, without interfering with one’s customary enjoyment of the evening before — well now, that would be something worth investing in.