Ginger ale, a carbonated soft drink flavored with ginger, has a history of being used as a home remedy to alleviate indigestion, motion sickness, and to relieve coughs and soothe sore throats. But the old wives' tale may have some merit to it. It all started because of the health benefits derived straight from the ginger root, used as a popular spice and herbal medicine for more than 2,000 years.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, China was the first to start using ginger root to help digestion and treat stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea. Today, if a patient goes to the doctor’s office with a stomach ache symptom, health care professionals may recommend ginger to help prevent or treat further nausea or vomiting, and even cancer chemotherapy. However, they probably won’t prescribe a liter of ginger ale.

It may be a treat, but it’s not a treatment, according to a study. When researchers conducted an experiment that compared how cola, clear soda, and ginger ale processed through the body, they found carbonated drinks could not provide adequate fluids and electrolytes, which meant soft drinks cannot be a recommended treatment.