What's Japanese for "Hangover Cure"?

With nicer weather in the air -- a.k.a., it's time to sit on a patio and drink -- and St. Patrick's Day just behind us, chances are most of us may have found ourselves overindulging lately. Obviously, we're grown-up and know how to handle such a rare occasion as a hangover, but in case you find yourself with one too many wild nights behind you, you might want to try and get hold of an umeboshi plum.

Tart, salty plums pickled with red shiso leaves, umeboshi are an ancient Japanese food used to balance and strengthen. They are known for their incredible ability to alkalize the blood, withdrawing toxins and leaving you feeling much better instantly. They are supposedly useful not only for hangovers, but also colds and flu. Umeboshi are highly valued as a digestive aid as well.

After a particularly brutal weekend, we found ourselves seeking out these ancient treasures with their magical healing abilities. We were happy to find them at Whole Foods but quite taken aback to learn that they were $15 a package Nevertheless, hearing the plaintive cries of our liver, we gave in and bought a pack.

We went home and grabbed a brave friend to partake in the umeboshi experience. Luckily, this was the same friend who had been our weekend drinking buddy, so he happily complied with the experiment. We had heard that one could either suck on the plum itself or boil it into a tea, so we tried both methods. Placing the plum in our mouth, we were quickly overtaken by the saltiest flavor assault ever waged against our palate. It was almost vomit-inducing. The tea was milder but still not tasty by any means. The (maybe) good news is that we actually did start to feel more like ourselves soon after ingesting the umeboshi.

If you're up for an extreme flavor sensation and in need of a quick nutritional pick-me-up, head to the store and grab a package of umeboshi plums. But don't say we didn't warn you...