Japanese Raisin

This fruit grows on the Japanese Raisin Tree. Despite its name, this tree is found all throughout Asia, South American rainforests, USA, Central Africa and even Australia. 

The Japanese Raisin is extremely high in a naturally occurring flavanonol called Dihydromyricetin (or DHM). The Japanese Raisin (DHM) has been used for liver ailments for 500 years.  

Recently, the University of Southern California studied the properties of DHM. The findings also help explain how DHM works as a hangover treatment. The liver converts alcohol into an aldehyde with properties like formaldehyde or acetaldehyde, which contribute to headache and nausea. Since it takes about one hour for the body to metabolize one drink, a night of heavy drinking causes the liver to keep churning out the chemicals that make people feel woozy for so long. 

Among other significant effects, the scientists found that DHM: 

  • Triggered the liver to produce more ethanol-gobbling enzymes, including alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). 
  • Boosted the efficiency of ADH and ALDH, enabling the enzymes to convert ethanol into simpler forms the body can eliminate easier. 
  • Reduced lipid (fat) accumulation in liver tissue. Heavy doses of alcohol can negatively affect the liver’s metabolism, leading to an accumulation of fat, increased stress and the eventual progression to liver diseases such as cirrhosis. 
  • Reduced inflammatory agents, called cytokines. Excessive alcohol leads to the release of cytokines in the liver, which contributes to cellular damage to the liver and other organs. 


Hyun TK et al. Hovenia dulcis--an Asian traditional herb. Planta Med. 2010 Jul;76(10):943-9. PMID 20379955