Ginger ale: Does it really help cure your stomach ache?

A glass of ginger ale
A glass of ginger ale

I love Vernors. I love a good ginger ale on a flight.

There's something refreshing about it, right? But I've often wondered if the theory of ginger ale being a stomach ache cure was just something my mother told me to stop whining.

Ginger ale history

Ginger ale dates back to 1851. The original, the golden ginger ale, was invented by Thomas Joseph Cantrell, an Irish apothecary and surgeon. He marketed the beverage with an Irish company, becoming the first to offer the product.

Dry ginger ale was invented later, in 1904, by Canadian chemist and physicist, John J. McLaughlin. It would later be patented in 1907 as Canada Dry. It became a huge hit in the U.S. during the Prohibition Era, as many started to use it as a drink mixer in speakeasies. Dry ginger ale far outpaced the popularity of golden ginger ale.

Nowadays, dry ginger ale is still most popular. Golden ginger ale is more regional, like Vernors in Michigan, which is the oldest American ginger ale company, dating back to 1866.

So, does it work?

So, here's the thing: Ginger has been used as a holistic home remedy for stomach pain, motion sickness and other queezy ailments for years and years. Pure ginger has been shown to help quell nausea and vomiting.

But ginger ale pop doesn't have much ginger in it. So, the quick answer here is -- no. It's not healing your stomach ache. In fact, it could be making it worse.

One can of commercial-brand ginger ale can have 10 to 13 teaspoons of added sugar in it, yet contain only a tiny bit of natural or synthetic ginger flavoring. Sugar helps feed bad bacteria in your stomach. You're basically adding fuel to your stomach ache! (Thanks a lot, mom!)

What does work?

Pure ginger works. So, grab some pure ginger from your local grocery store, slice a bit off and add it to your tea. No sugar involved there -- just the pure ginger!

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