What is the Japanese Raisin Tree?
The Japanese Raisin Tree has been used in traditional medicine across Asia for many years, as is used as an active ingredient in many herbal medicines and treatments. The fruit of this tree resembles raisins once dried, hence the name. Hovenia Dulcis (the tree’s Latin name) grows very quickly and is a popular choice for reforestation in areas where the local ecological balance is delicate and can’t be disturbed.
However, this tree is unlike many others. The fruit of the Japanese Raisin Tree is unusual because it cannot be eaten. The fruit itself (despite the name ‘raisin’) is small, hard and tough, it is not used often.
It’s the stalk of the fruit that has numerous benefits, often eaten and is used in many herbal remedies throughout Asia. The stalk grows around the mature fruit, becoming gnarled. While it looks unappetising, it’s actually sweet and can be used as a honey replacement. It’s also been found to help create wine and tastes quite like Asian pear. When they’re dried, coincidentally, these stalks have a similar texture to raisins.
Although it’s unknown, the plant was likely originally from the mountains of China. It was probably brought to areas like Korea and Japan several thousand years ago, where it was used for its outstanding wood. Being fast growing and with no common pests or diseases, it made an ideal tree to be farmed for its wood and grew in popularity. Despite being so commonplace in the East, it’s relatively rare still to find a Holvenia Dulcis tree in Europe or America.
But how have these Asian trees helped cure hangovers?
Can Japanese Raisin Tree Cure Hangovers?
In a manner of speaking, yes!
The extract from the fruit, stalks and flesh of the tree contains a chemical compound called Dihydromyricetin (DHM). When purified, it has been used to treat hangovers (as well as other conditions) for thousands of years. It’s so effective that it has gained renown across the world and is now available over the counter in many countries. Not only is it marketed as a dietary supplement with well-known anti-alcohol properties, Dihydromyricetin also works as a potent neurotransmitter modulator, antioxidant and protects the liver. It’s no surprise that it’s been used in Chinese medicine for so long.
Even if the individual only drinks moderately, alcohol still puts stress on the liver. By consuming Dihydromyricetin when drinking, DHM can help protect the liver and potentially reduce the stress it goes through while you’re drinking.
We recommend taking the powdered extract in either capsule form, or use the powder in a flavoured drink. Despite the extract of the Raisin Tree being rather sweet, when it’s purified to isolate only the DHM it takes on a slightly unpleasant flavour and is best taken either encapsulated or in a strong citrus-y drink to mask it’s taste.
Ingesting between 300mg and 2,000mg before bed (with lots of water) after drinking alcohol can dramatically help to reduce the symptoms of a hangover and help to ensure you wake up feeling great.
Health benefits of Dihydromyricetin from the Japanese Raisin Tree
More research has been coming out that shine a light on the various uses and health benefits of Dihydromyricetin, taken from the Japanese Raisin Tree.
Most notably, Dihydromyricetin has been seen to significantly reduce the effects of alcohol, alcohol withdrawal and subsequent hangover symptoms felt the next day. By greatly reducing the side effects of high alcohol levels, this ingredient is often seen in powerful hangover supplements, for good reason.
Most users find that Dihydromyricetin can:
- Reduce alcohol induced damage to the liver while supporting the liver to break down alcohol at a faster rate
- Prevent hangover symptoms, including anxiety, headaches, difficulty concentrating, tiredness and nausea
- General feeling of alertness the following day, rather than sluggish, sick and tired
A study in 2012 concluded that juice and fermented vinegar created from Hovenia Dulcis reduced liver damage due to alcohol in mice. While the study hasn’t yet been conducted with human subjects, it’s clear that this ingredient has a lot of potential regarding liver protection from alcohol.
Another study from 2017 found that healthy subjects who took Hovenia Dulcis extract reported reduced headaches, nausea, dizziness and general weakness after consuming alcohol.
Is it safe?
Where there are currently no dosing regulations for Dihydromyricetin or Japanese Raisin Tree extract, it has been successfully used in traditional medicine for many years, for numerous conditions. A study in 2010 found that none of the mice used in the research that were given Hovenia Dulcis extract showed any toxic side effects or died during the 14 day observation.
More clinical trials on humans are needed to truly find the full potential of this ingredient.