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Coke for an Upset Stomach

Coke for an Upset Stomach

Coke for an upset stomach has been a remedy almost since the invention of Coke in 1886. Coke was invented by a pharmacist, not a soda marketing manager.   Not only has using Coke for an upset stomach has been used for decades, it has also been used for diarrhea.  The syrup that is used in Coke can be bought in most states from your local pharmacy without a prescription.

If your local pharmacy does sell the Coke syrup, the general recipe is to mix 1 ounce of the syrup with 5 ounces of water for the tried-and-true remedy for your upset stomach.  If your pharmacy does not carry the Coke syrup then the next best remedy is using Coke for an upset stomach.  You simply take the carbonated Coke and let it go flat and drink it warm (room temperature).

Attention race directors: using flat Coke for an upset stomach at races is a great substitute for the Coke syrup that you can get at most pharmacies.  Pepsi does not have these medicinal qualities.  The Coke syrup is concentrated without carbonation.  At one time the Coke Syrup was a staple in the local pharmacy and sold over-the-counter in small quantities for nausea and upset stomach.


Coke Syrup for an Upset Stomach: photo by Laura Fahrenbrook

Using Coke for an upset stomach works because it has some carmative properties.  Carmative means that it prevents the formation of gas in the intestines, or helps prevent the expulsion of the gas (i.e. farting).  The carmative properties also decrease the pressure in the lower esophagus which can decrease the chance of acid reflux and heartburn.

Coke syrup can serve as antiemetics and offers a non-pharmaceutical choice for relief from upset stomach and nausea symptoms. An antiemetic is considered a medication or other agent that relieves nausea and vomiting.  Hence, another medical reason to use Coke for an upset stomach.  And as pharmacist Robert Warren, Pharm.D., who heads Pharmacy Services at Valley Children’s Hospital in Fresno, California, says “Coke syrup is something we use that seems to work real well”.

Even some sailors use Coke for an upset stomach.  It is thought that the phosphoric acid in Coke helps sooth the stomach.  Phosphoric acid is added to sodas to mitigate the growth of mold and bacteria’s, and also to give the soda a sharper flavor.

A Brief History of Coke

Back in 1886 a pharmacist and Atlanta resident named John Pemberton decided to enter a local market for soda fountain tonics that promised health benefits of one kind or another.  He concocted a drink from the extracts of the coca leaf and kola nut, both stimulants.  John’s potion was a thick, caramel-colored syrup that was touted to help a person’s brain and nerves function better.  He poured some of the syrup into a jug and took it to Jacobs Pharmacy in Atlanta, and the pharmacy then made a fountain drink of the syrup by mixing it with water.  The drink was sold to customers for a nickel a glass. Coca-Cola was born. (Source: Psychiatric News August 20, 2004, Volume 39 Number 16 Page 20, © American Psychiatric Association)

Cola Syrup Label: photo by Laura Fahrenbrook

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