As 2008 winds down, our thoughts go to the celebration of New Year's Eve. Getting a date for this auspicious evening was very important when one is single. Next, finding a place to eat and drink that was not outrageously expensive is important. Imbibing too much on a date is a sure relationship killer.

This column is devoted to the day after the rigors of the night before. I am speaking of the multinational cures for hangovers. After excessive drinking, people are plagued by sweating, nausea, anxiety, headache and a general feeling of "blah."

All this is determined by many factors. How much and what type of alcoholic drinks were consumed. Size and weight of the drinker is also a consideration.

Each country has its own formula to cure a hangover. Bracing soups and "hair of the dog drinks" are based on culture and opinion.

• In Germany, the standard answer seems to be the ingestion of pickled herring. That sounds like it would cause more day-after problems, than it solved.

• In Romania, tripe soup is the remedy for this disease.

• In Italy, drinking coffee strong is the cure. The Italians usually drink their coffee strong and neat (no milk or sugar) in little cups. Drinking strong fluids may or may not work.

• In the Netherlands, beer is the liquid of choice. This is under the "hair of the dog school." More alcohol to ease a hangover doesn't make sense to me, but I will not argue with the people who wore wooden shoes and plant beautiful tulips.

• In Poland, a good sour pickle should either cure you or make you throw up everything in your gut.

• In Mexico, eating shrimp is a remedy for the disagreeable physical aftereffects of drunkenness. Sounds reasonable!

• In China, drinking strong, green tea seems to work. The medicinal effect of a hot drink has restorative powers, according to the Chinese.

• In Japan, pickled plum is the treatment to heal a bout of nausea and lousy feeling.

• In Russia, the sufferer enters a sauna and is beaten with leafy birch branches to whip the toxins out of the hangover drinker. Sometimes it works.

• In the good old U.S.A., tomato juice and eggs are the answer. Doctors recommend water, aspirin and vitamins.

We have just traveled around the world for the suggestions of coping with hangovers. You may try one or all of these cures. However, the best cure is everything in moderation!

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