The ancients knew a thing or two about drinking and how to deal with the excess of wine indulgence, so it’s no surprise that they had devised cures and methods of dealing with alcohol’s impact on your inhibitions.
They called wine “the mirror of the mind” and believed the way you behaved when you drank was revealing of your innermost nature. This might not always be a good thing. So in addition to perfecting wine-making and partying, they also had a whole list of things to do before you started partying, as well as cures to handle too much of it.
Rule number one— dilute, dilute, dilute.
The Ancient Greeks always diluted their wine with a bit of water to balance the “heating” effect on the body. Only “barbarians” drank their wine straight— a clear lack of self-control. There are numerous sobering examples in Greek writings about those who preferred to drink their wine straight, like Clemens, the king of Sparta who supposedly went mad for insisting that his wine not be diluted.
Rule number two— wear flowers. Yes, that’s right. Flowers. Make it a wreath or a nice corsage, if you prefer. The smell of roses or myrtle will cool down your “bad humors” and also help relieve headaches.
Hard to believe but the Ancient Greeks devoted entire books on the topic of curative flower wreaths and what types of flower scents work better for various levels of intoxication and hungoverness. Unfortunately, most of these books have been lost to time and only a few excerpts remain.
If you can sense that you’ve had too much to drink, try a swig of vinegar wit the addition of some herbs or flowers. The wine in your belly will be neutralized by the vinegar.
You can also do some things to preempt the effects of alcohol.
The ancient pharmacologist Dioscorides wrote that you should eat five almonds BEFORE you set out on your night on the town.
Eat your Brussels sprouts and other cabbage. The Greeks believed that the grapevine and the cabbage were natural enemies in the garden. They thought the vine had the capacity to perceive the smell of cabbage and refused to grow properly in the vicinity of the pungent vegetable.
By extension, the Greeks believed that cabbage will counteract an excess of wine in your belly. Raw cabbage may work better than cooked.
But of course, the greatest cure the Ancient Greeks gave us were three simple words– pan metron ariston, translated over the centuries as the best advice on practically any of our indulgences: Everything in moderation.