Does Ginger Ale Really Help With Nausea?

ginger ale and nausea
Photo Illustration by Amelia Manley for Verywell Health; Getty Images.

Key Takeaways

  • Ginger has been used as a natural remedy to treat nausea for generations thanks to its natural substances which are are suspected to have anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties.
  • Ginger ale and ginger beer can provide these benefits, but it’s important to read labels to ensure you’re purchasing products that actually contain sufficient amounts of real ginger.
  • The anti-nausea properties of ginger may be stronger when consumed in bigger doses, so you may want to try fresh ginger root, ginger tea, or ginger capsules as alternatives.

Ginger is regarded as one of the best natural remedies when it comes to curbing nausea. Some travelers might even have ginger ale on a flight or before a long car ride to prevent or reduce nausea.

According to Aniruddh Setya, MD, a board-certified gastroenterologist at KIDZ Medical Services, ginger contains natural substances known as gingerols and shogaols—both of which are thought to have anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties.

“Ginger may be useful in treating nausea brought on by a range of diseases, such as motion sickness, morning sickness during pregnancy, and nausea brought on by chemotherapy,” Setya told Verywell. “It may also lessen post-operative nausea and vomiting.”

But drinking ginger ale isn’t necessarily the same as consuming ginger, especially when some brands don’t contain any real ginger.

Does Ginger Ale Help With Nausea?

Drinking ginger ale can be one of several ways to get your dose of ginger when trying to treat nausea, Setya said, but not all ginger ales are created equal.

“Some commercial ginger ale brands may contain minimal amounts of ginger or use artificial ginger flavoring,” said Dung Trinh, MD, an internal medicine specialist and the founder of Healy Brain Clinic. “This can be a result of different manufacturing processes, and the ginger content in ginger ale can vary widely among different brands and products.”

So if you’re purchasing ginger ale with the goal of curbing nausea, Trinh said it’s essential to read the labels and choose one that contains real ginger. While some people claim that ginger ales without ginger have helped them cope with nausea, Trinh said this is likely due to the placebo effect.

But ginger ale that’s made with actual ginger can likely help with nausea for more than one reason. There is some evidence that carbonation may help with nausea relief, according to Setya, although further studies are required to understand the mechanisms at work.

One theory is that ginger ale’s carbonation may help stimulate the nerves in the esophagus and stomach, which might lessen nausea, Setya said. The relaxing impact that carbonation can have on the stomach may also help reduce nausea, while some people get a sense of temporary relief in being able to burp after drinking a carbonated drink. But that doesn’t mean any soda is a good option for nausea relief.

“Be careful with any other form of carbonated drink such as colas or sodas as they contain sugars and caffeine which can potentially worsen the nausea,” Setya said.

Can Ginger Beer Have The Same Effect?

Ginger beer and ginger ale are similar in that they’re both carbonated and flavored with ginger, but ginger beer is typically stronger and spicier in flavor. This is because it’s traditionally brewed and fermented, which can give it a more robust ginger flavor. Ginger beer sometimes contains even higher levels of ginger than ginger ale, which means it may be even more helpful at alleviating nausea than ginger ale, Trinh said.

But just like ginger ale, ginger beer can vary depending on the brand and specific product.

“It’s ideal to choose ginger beers that are low in sugar, caffeine, and alcohol if you’re taking them to treat nausea,” Setya said.

Ultimately, though, there are even better ways to consume ginger when trying to treat nausea, Setya said. Fresh ginger root, ginger tea, or ginger capsule are easier for people to gauge the quantity they’re ingesting, he added, and higher doses are usually more effective.

What This Means For You

If you’re looking to treat nausea with ginger ale, be sure to read the label and purchase a brand that contains real ginger. Alternatively, try a ginger beer that’s low in sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, or try fresh ginger root, ginger tea, or ginger capsules.

1 Source
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Lete I, Allué J. The effectiveness of ginger in the prevention of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and chemotherapyIntegr Med Insights. 2016;11:11-17. doi:10.4137/IMI.S36273

By Mira Miller
Mira Miller is a freelance writer specializing in mental health, women's health, and culture.