Ah, Bridgerton. According to Netflix, the Shondaland series was watched by some 63 million households within 28 days of its Christmas Day debut, making it the streaming platform’s fifth-largest original launch of all time.
The TV show has also reached the number one spot on Netflix’s top 10 rankings in 76 countries, not to mention inspired countless parody and fan accounts on social media (we’re particularly fond of our own Billie Bhatia’s @TheDukesSpoon, for obvious reasons).
Sexy, fun, and impossibly romantic, Bridgerton boasts a talented cast, a soundtrack packed full of absolute bangers, and plenty of Easter eggs for die-hard fans to keep a watchful eye out for.
It has also, somewhat surprisingly, dished out not just one, but two so-called “hangover cures“.
That’s right: there’s the claim that “charcoal and oil” will soak up any alcohol in one’s system, which leads to the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page) gobbling up a plate of burnt bread after a wild night on the town. And then there’s Lady Bridgerton’s insistence that forcing down a cup of raw eggs and garlic is guaranteed to banish your hangover, too.
Plenty of people have taken note of these seemingly fleeting moments. Indeed, our SEO expert, Lucy Robson, informs me that ‘raw eggs and garlic’ has seen a spike in Google searches over the last 30 days.
“I am determined to try it for myself at one point,” she adds, much to my concern. I’m so concerned, in fact, that I reach out to Treated.com’s clinical lead, Dr Daniel Atkinson, to ask him if a) the recipes are safe and b) they have any chance of working whatsoever.
“Unfortunately there wasn’t a magical hangover cure back in the days of Bridgerton and there isn’t one now,” he tells me. “Drinking alcohol dehydrates the body and when in a dehydrated state unwanted side effects can occur such as headaches, stomach upset and a feeling of lethargy.
“How you choose to combat these ailments is often down to personal preference.”
Still, though, I persist: could raw eggs, garlic, or charcoal at least help to alleviate the symptoms of a hangover?
“Well, eggs are a good source of protein and contain some essential B vitamins. Perhaps, this is why people used to turn to them when they were feeling a little worse for wear following a heavy alcohol-fuelled night,” says Dr Atkinson, after giving it some thought.
“Some people still turn to an eggy breakfast to help beat the effects of a hangover and it is a good idea to refuel the body. Alcohol is a diuretic and thereby replacing lost nutrients is a good start.”
Remembering that Bridgerton is a period drama, Atkinson adds: “Nowadays, eggs produced under the British Lion code of practice can be safely eaten in a raw or runny state.
“However, back in England’s Regency days this was probably not the case and therefore those partaking in the raw eggs and garlic hangover cure, could have got more than they bargained for… particularly, a salmonella infection.”
Garlic, Dr Atkinson goes on to explain, has been found to have antioxidant properties and was most likely used as part of various health remedies years ago.
“At what level you would need to consume it to reap the benefits and how this would help to cure a hangover, though, is more than a little unclear,” he stresses.
“Perhaps it was added to the eggs in an attempt to make them easier to consume?”
Charcoal and oil
“Consuming charcoal from briquettes mixed with oil, which was presumably how it was done during the Regency era, could be potentially harmful as it may contain other toxic substances,” says Dr Atkinson.
“Nowadays using charcoal as a so-called detoxifying element is referred to as ‘activated charcoal’ and is still talked about today.”
He adds: “Charcoal is able to absorb toxins but once you consume it there is no way of your gut directing the charcoal to specific toxins. Therefore, while it may remove some toxins it could also remove essential nutrients too. It could also be dangerous for those taking medication as it could interfere with how they are absorbed.
“The liver is already fully equipped to remove toxins from the body. Alcohol is rapidly absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream. Trying to counter its effects by consuming charcoal the following day is going to have little effect on your hangover.”
So, what’s the best hangover remedy?
“I’d say that prevention is better than treatment,” says Dr Atkinson.
“Try to avoid drinking to excess where you develop hangover symptoms, and keep your alcohol consumption within the NHS guidelines. Make sure, too, that you keep hydrated by drinking non-alcoholic drinks.
“Eating well and getting a good night’s sleep should all help to keep the after-effects of alcohol within reasonable limits.”
Someone inform Lady Bridgerton at once, please.
Bridgerton is streaming on Netflix now.
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.