The UCLA researchers have found that a chemical from an ancient herbal remedy, seeds from the tree Hovenia Dulcis, makes rats almost immune to the effects of alcohol.
According to researchers, the rats who’ve consumed the drug can consume vast quantities of alcohol without passing out, show few signs of a hangover – and don’t become alcoholics, even after weeks of solid drinking.
The chemical is extracted from an ancient Asian remedy – a seed first used as a hangover cure in the year 659.
Researchers say that rats respond to alcohol in a very similar way to humans.
They now aim to find out if the compound will work in humans.
The Asian seeds from the tree Hovenia Dulcis were first used as a hangover cure in the year 659, according to ScienceDaily.
The researchers began their study by looking at herbal compounds that supposedly had “anti alcohol” effects.
They rapidly homed in on the Asian seed and tested one ingredient – called dihydromyricetin (DHM) in the rats.
The rats were given the equivalent of 15 to 20 bottled beers in two hours.
Most animals passed out, and remained motionless when flipped over.
When given DHM, the rats could “handle” their drink better. They took longer to get drunk, and seemed to sober up in about 15 minutes.
The compound seemed to help rats dealing with hangover anxiety, too.
Rats recovering from a binge seemed to perk up when given the compound.
Perhaps most importantly for medical professionals, the chemical seems to stop rats wanting to drink.
Although rats on DHM can drink more, they don’t.
“When you drink alcohol with DHM, you never become addicted,” says the lead researcher, Jing Liang in research published in Journal of Neuroscience.
The drug appears to work by blocking a brain receptor. Other promising anti-alcohol drugs have targeted the same receptor – but also caused seizures.