Oaxaca Has a Minty Cure for Your Hangover
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Oaxaca Has a Minty Cure for Your Hangover

With a cup of iced te de poleo in my hand, I no longer feel on the brink of death.

If you talk to guys who work at distilleries and bars in Oaxaca—the world's mezcal epicenter— you're going to repeatedly hear that mezcal doesn't give you hangovers. It's beer and sugary mixes and lack of sleep that will hit you with a serious crudo the next day.

But should you find yourself hurting from a night of slamming mezcal margaritas and Victoria beers in Oaxaca, don't fret. The region is home to a solid hangover cure: te de poléo.


Outside Oaxaca en Una Taza. All photos by the author.

"The herb is actually called 'drunk guy's herb,' 'drunk person herb,'" says Oaxaca native Nubia Cervantez. We're at Oaxaca En Una Taza, a cafe she's worked at for three years just steps from the city's iconic Santo Domingo church. I'm hungover, very painfully so.

Poleo, a drunk guy's herb.

"Not only does it cure hangovers, but it's also good for your stomach and your respiratory system," she says.

Poleo—known as pennyroyal in English—is minty and refreshing. You can order it hot or iced, and it's going to provide you some instant relief right away with its soothing herbal flavor. Cervantez tells me that you can feel poleo's therapeutic effects within five to ten minutes of drinking it.

Poleo tea served hot at a restaurant in Oaxaca city.

In addition to consuming it in teas, the people of Oaxaca also put it in chocolate and dance with it at special occasions, like weddings.

With a cup of iced poleo tea in my hand, I am no longer feeling on the brink of death. My hangover, while not completely gone, is waning.

Sadly, you can't always get down to Oaxaca when a hangover strikes, but you can find poleo tea for sale on Amazon.com. Thank you, internet.

This first appeared on MUNCHIES in March 2017.