Chris Bax, head distiller at UK-based alcohol-free spirits producer Bax Botanics, says the dry-month trend is here to stay
Rose and Chris Bax, founders of Bax Botanics
From left: Rose and Chris Bax, founders of Bax Botanics

The success of Dry January 2021 is spilling into the following months, with searches for Dry February up 28% on last year and interest in Dry March up 177%, research conducted by our company reveals.

As more people realise the benefits of time off from drinking, we take this opportunity to review some of the lesser-known effects that booze has on our bodies – and leaves readers with an alcohol-free cocktail recipe to boost your wellbeing.

In the UK, Dry January was absolutely immense for Box Botanics – and the whole alcohol-free spirits sector this year. It seems the lockdown has prompted people to keep their detox going.

Interest in Dry February appears to be up by more than a quarter on last year, while some brave people are already thinking about Dry March.

The British public deserves great credit for making an effort to be so healthy at a time of such stress and worry. There are huge physical and mental benefits to cutting down on alcohol, and for those who want to cut down this year, there’s plenty of great-tasting alternatives out there.

How alcohol affects your body

Stress and anxious thoughts

Many of us are feeling more stressed and anxious because of the pandemic, but alcohol can exacerbate these feelings. This can be particularly acute the day following a drink, when alcohol starts to leave your body and a hangover sets in. The drop in blood sugar levels causes more stress in your brain, triggering anxious thoughts and feelings.

An aged appearance

Alcohol can impact your appearance as every time we drink, it dehydrates the skin. People who drink regularly often look older than those who don’t for this reason. Alcohol also inflames the skin, causing redness that can become permanent over time. It may take as long as a week without drinking for the skin to bounce back.

Split hair and brittle nails

The dehydration caused by alcohol can impact your hair, making it appear dull and lifeless and more prone to split ends. This is because our hair is as reliant upon hydration as the rest of your body. Having brittle and very dry nails can also be a symptom of drinking alcohol.

Nightmares and bad sleep

Alcohol has a negative impact on your sleep and can even give you nightmares. While it may feel as though you drift off as soon as your head hits the pillow, alcohol will be disrupting your REM sleep – the period in the night when we dream. REM sleep is supposed to be restorative, but disruption can cause drowsiness and poor concentration during the day.

Itchy, bloodshot eyes

Staying off the booze can improve your eye health. Binge-drinking can cause symptoms associated with dry eyes, such as swollen blood vessels, This can make the eyes look bloodshot, and cause itchiness, irritation and fluctuation in vision.

Killing ‘good’ gut bacteria

Having healthy gut bacteria is important for staving off inflammatory conditions such as eczema, but alcohol can have a negative impact on our microbiome by killing many of the beneficial bacteria. If stomach problems are becoming an issue, cutting down on drinking can allow the “good” bacteria in your gut to come back. 

Loss of memory

We all know alcohol impacts the brain, because of its impact on slurred speech and difficulties retaining memories. This is because booze alters the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. But long-term effects are far worse. A period of prolonged heavy drinking can actually shrink brain volume, which is more commonly a sign of the brain ageing.

Detox recipes

Seabuck-de-tox

  • 50 ml Bax Botanics Sea Buckthorn
  • 50 ml coconut water
  • 5 ml organic apple cider vinegar
  • 10 ml honey water (honey diluted with warm water in equal parts)
  • Quarter tsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • A good pinch of ground turmeric
  • A pinch of crushed sea salt
  • A dash of Peychauds Bitters (optional)

Shake all the ingredients well with lots of ice then tip into a highball glass and serve with a straw.

Coconut water – good for the heart and skin

  • Apple cider vinegar – aids digestion and boosts immunity
  • Honey – great for helping fight infections
  • Ginger – boosts digestion and circulation, and fights arthritis
  • Turmeric – good for the heart, and fights inflammation and depression

About the author

Chris and Rose Bax launched Bax Botanics in January 2019, after two decades of teaching about wild foods and flavours available in their Yorkshire woodland.
The company distils its drinks in traditional beaten copper stills using ethically sourced and sustainable herbs and botanicals.
The spirits manufacturer took home the bronze at the 2020 Global Good Awards for its eco-friendly credentials, including formulations made of sugar industry waste products and plastic-free packaging.
Its product line comprises Bax Botanics Verbena and Sea Buckthorn.

Date published: 25 February 2021

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