pálinka, bedding
Photo: facebook.com/pg/palinkaofficial

There are a lot of reasons for drinking pálinka. You may simply love it, it is a common feature of pig slaughterings, or you might just want to use it against the cold. It is an excellent cure for boredom, too. However, there are more scientific reasons as to why pálinka is good for you, detailed in a video making its rounds on Facebook and YouTube.

What is real pálinka?

First things first, let us clarify what constitutes as real pálinka. Drinks can be referred to as pálinka in Hungary and four Austrian counties, officially. However, while Austrian pálinka can only be made from apricots, Hungarian pálinka can be made from any kind of fruit that is grown in this country, like cherries, plums and pears. So, to make it clear, here are some examples that distinguish the ‘fake’ pálinka from the real deal. If it is made from imported fruits, it cannot be called real Hungarian pálinka. Also, if you produced it in Hungary but went abroad to get it bottled, it is still not real pálinka.

Photo: Tropical Magazine

According to the 2008 regulation on pálinka, it can only be called pálinka if it is made in Hungary, from Hungarian-grown fruits, without the addition of any other ingredients.

If you think about it, this means pálinka is made 100% from fruits, and you are supposed to have 5 portions of fruit a day, so it is totally healthy 😉 An interesting thought to consider is that pálinka did, in fact, use to be called ‘aqua vitae’, meaning the water of life.

Addressing the myths

Can pálinka chase away the cold?

Well, it is true that consuming alcohol leads to a warm feeling spreading inside you, nevertheless, if you want reliable protection, a new knitted jumper might be a better option. However, pálinka can cause blood vessels to dilate and blood to rush to the extremities, raising the risks of hypothermia. So, definitely do not try to save money on heating by drinking more pálinka.

On the other hand, once you are battling a cold or a fever, pálinka might be able to help you. 

It is a good old method to mix 2 teaspoons of honey into 2 cl of pálinka, get it to a boil, then drink it. However, it is best to be aware if you take medicine, too, as they do not mix well with alcohol.

Is pálinka a good aperitif?

jasmine grape pálinka, alcohol, drink
Photo: facebook.com/miskolcnews/photos

It is a widespread belief to regard pálinka as a great appetiser. However, consumed before a meal, pálinka can be really harmful to an empty stomach. On the other hand, consumed after a meal, it does affect digestion positively.

In fact, those who make sure to down a small portion of good-quality spirits after a meal rarely have to deal with bloating or heartburn.

Can pálinka help athletes?

Well, not in the way you immediately thought of – getting drunk does not make you run faster. However, if you suffer from cramping legs, you might want to try rubbing a bit of pálinka onto your calves. Also, thanks to the previously mentioned vasodilating effects, it is considered to be one of the best cures for high blood pressure.

In the past, pálinka was universally regarded as medicine. They used it to prevent gastric infections, to reduce inflammation, while it is also an excellent painkiller.

If you are still not convinced pálinka has beneficial qualities, this last fascinating tidbit might just get you.

The patron of pálinka distillers is Saint Nicholas.

Surely a beverage that is made by people protected by Santa Claus himself can only be a good choice.

Featured image: facebook.com/pg/palinkaofficial

Source: facebook.com, youtube.com

1 comment
  1. The Brabant (Holland) wonder drug against cancer. The 3 explorers, nor their bosses, noticed that it was a wonder. The Netherlands has unique inventions to its name. The microscope (well, the lens) of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, the flute from Hoorn (a ship with which much more cargo could be transported than the competition), the speed camera, the wireless communication system bluetooth. Plus a whole series of Philips inventions: the cassette, the Philishave, the CD and DVD player. Keytruda may gradually be added to that list, pembrolizumab (generally called ‘pembro’), developed by the former Organon in Oss, Noord-Brabant, and a resounding success as a cancer drug. It is effective in different tumors. Jack Burgers and Johan Heilbron, professors of sociology at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, wrote their fascinating book ‘The Case Organon’ (Prometheus) in 2018, partly on the basis of research carried out by their students. In it they argue that it is strange that Hans Wijers – former CEO of AkzoNobel and former Minister of Economic Affairs for D66 – is so highly acclaimed in the Netherlands. The newspapers regularly call him the most powerful man in the Netherlands. Wijers sold Organon in 2007 for € 11 billion, while the Keytruda medicine alone is worth more than 3 times as much. Wijers had no idea, according to Burgers and Heilbron, what kind of jewelry there were in Oss: The € 11 billion that Schering-Plow put down for Organon was a bargain. Keytruda was put on the market in 2015 by the American MSD, which acquired Organon. Initially, it was intended for advanced melanoma, aggressive skin cancer, later it was also effective in about 10 other tumors. In 2015, € 0.5 billion was earned, in 2016 already € 1.5 billion. The former CEO of MSD, Fred Hassan, estimated in 2014 that the drug represents a value of $ 40 billion (about € 35 billion). ‘Pembro’ has gained extra recognition because it cured the cancer of former president Jimmy Carter in 2015. The Brabant Daily was talking about the panacea from Oss at the time. Carter joked that he was busy for 3 weeks before he could pronounce ‘pembrolizumab’. The medicine is not only commercial but also scientifically interesting. It is part of a new and promising approach to cancer: immunotherapy. In the old approach, chemotherapy, common chemicals are used to kill the tumor cells – often with annoying side effects because the healthy body cells are also poisoned. In immunotherapy, the own immune cells (also known as immune cells) are helped in recognizing tumor cells as foreign and then in clearing them. Immunotherapy does not attack the enemy, but strengthens the body – similar to how vaccines work. This also applies to Keytruda and the 2 other medicines that are now available and are also given in many Dutch hospitals: ipilimumab (talking about difficult names, Yervoy) and nivolumab (Opdivo). Tumor cells can become invisible to the immune system. This is partly because tumor cells are essentially derailed body cells. As a result they still bear all kinds of characteristics of their own. But they also have lots of other sneaky tricks. In this way they are able to chemically attack the immune cells. Keytruda (and other so-called checkpoint inhibitors) disables that power. This way the tumor cells are recognized again as the mean invaders they are and the immune system attacks them. The fact that the immune system can be used to attack tumor cells has been known for 125 years. But all this time it was not possible to use it in medicine, especially because tumor cells are so smart. That it is now successful is special and that is why the Nobel Prize in Medicine recently went to 2 discoverers of immunotherapy, the American James Allison and the Japanese Tasuku Honjo. Keytruda gives an intriguing insight into the kitchen of the pharmaceutical industry. About how important coincidence is and that the strategy of pharmaceutical companies, even the greatest, sometimes resembles the child’s play blindman. In the first place, pembrolizumab was not developed because Organon had a vision on the use of immunotherapy against cancer. No, the company was in a completely different sector (reproduction), but gave its researchers some freedom to work at the laboratory on hobbies. The 3 researchers from Oss who were at the birth of Keytruda were playing with the technique of monoclonal antibodies. If they already had a medicine in mind, certainly not against cancer, but rather against autoimmune diseases such as rheumatism where the immune system turns against parts of the body. Keytruda had almost been killed by MSD. Also at the pharmaceutical companies Schering-Plow and MSD, where the Keytruda project ended up after the sale of Organon, they did not realize that they had a jewel in their hands. The Keytruda project was at one point even on the nomination to stop this project, so little faith was attached to it. Only when one of the competitors was about to come up with a medicine that strengthened the defense against cancer, did the Americans realize: huh, we also have something like that in the desk drawer, bought from Oss, ‘that little city in the Netherlands’?

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