Symptoms like indigestion, nausea, heartburn, stomach cramps, and bloating can make your day suddenly go from pretty good to a total flop. There is a long list of remedies for a stomachache: drink tea, water, apple cider vinegar, avoid lying down, soak in the tub— the list continues. But one of the most common cures for stomach pain is also one of the most misunderstood: ginger ale.

Is it the ginger, or the ale, that helps with stomach pain?

Ginger is effective at treating nausea and vomiting. You can even use ginger to treat morning sickness, muscle pain, and menstrual pain.

The plant’s root, which is used to make ginger spice, may not sound not tasty as a bottle of ginger ale. So, when you’re suffering from stomach problems, why not just go for the ale instead of the root?

The bad news here is that many ginger ales on the market today don’t contain ginger as an ingredient! If you look carefully at the label, the ginger in ginger ale may only be artificial flavoring. If the beverage does have real ginger, there’s a good chance it doesn’t contain enough to relieve your upset stomach.

And, though there may not be much (or any) ginger in ginger ale, there’s plenty of another ingredient: sugar. When treating an upset stomach, carbonated, sugary beverages can often make you feel worse, not better.

When stomach troubles come, reach for the real thing

Though ginger ale may be tasty when suffering from a stomachache, you’re better off opting for the genuine article. So instead of going with the beverage aisle, visit your grocery pick up some fresh ginger root.

Simply add peeled slices to hot tea or plain hot water. And if you’re not comfortable handling the raw ingredient, try ground ginger instead.
And remember: Overtaxing your stomach, even with a good thing, will only lead to more distress. A little ginger tea goes a long way, so don’t overdo it. Drinking small amounts throughout the day is far better than drinking multiple cups in one sitting.