Owl Meat's Tipsy Tuesdays: The hair of the dog
There's an old saying that goes, "Some days, you get to bite the dog, and some days the dog gets to bite you." At least, I think that's how it goes.
Either way, here's Owl Meat with a guest column on the intriguing history and science behind another old saying, "the hair of the dog."
We've all heard the expression "hair of the dog," meaning taking a drink to cure a hangover. The whole phrase is "the hair of the dog that bit you." It has an interesting history.
As a hangover cure, the hair of the dog metaphor dates back to Shakespeare's time. The original literal usage referred a very ill-conceived cure for rabies.
From the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898): "In Scotland it is a popular belief that a few hairs of the dog that bit you applied to the wound will prevent evil consequences.
Applied to drinks, it means, if overnight you have indulged too freely, take a glass of the same wine next morning to soothe the nerves. 'If this dog do you bite, soon as out of your bed, take a hair of the tail in the morning.'" ...
Ironically, the song "Hair of the Dog" by Nazareth is the very last thing you should play when you have a hangover. That guy's voice might make your head explode.
Trying to cure rabies may seem loony today, but it is an example of homeopathic medicine that dates back to at least the time of Hippocrates.
The credo of homeopathy in Latin is "similia similibus curantur" (like cures like). In other words, a wee bit of the thing that would kill you will cure you. I'm not judging, just reporting. Vaccines almost work that way, but it's not the amount of the pathogen that matters but its similarity to the real deal in a more harmless form.
In homeopathy they dilute a substance to the point where there is almost no original molecules left. They believe that water has memory, so you really don't need the original molecules. Sure.
Wow, that's too much science. Now it's time to go out and bite that dog before it bites me. Play me out, Nazareth ...(Photo by Getty Images)