Can you still get coke syrup for nausea?

Quick Answer

Yes, you can still get coke syrup to help relieve nausea, but it may be difficult to find. Coke syrup was once commonly used for upset stomachs, but is no longer widely available over-the-counter. Some pharmacies may specially order it, or you may be able to find it at specialty soda shops. However, other over-the-counter medications are now more commonly used for nausea.

What is Coke Syrup?

Coke syrup refers to the concentrated, flavored syrup that is mixed with carbonated water to make Coca-Cola soda. The original formula contained cocaine as an ingredient, which acted as a stimulant and was believed to help relieve nausea and upset stomachs. However, cocaine was removed from the formula in 1903 due to health concerns.

The syrup is very thick and sweet due to the high concentration of sugar. It contains caramel coloring, natural flavors, and phosphoric acid. Modern coke syrup does not contain any medicinal ingredients, but the sweet taste was originally thought to help settle the stomach.

Was Coke Syrup Used Historically for Nausea?

Yes, Coke syrup has its origins as a medical tonic meant to relieve nausea and stomach issues. John Stith Pemberton, a pharmacist, first invented the French Wine Coca in Atlanta, Georgia in 1886 as a patent medicine. It contained wine, coca leaves, and kola nuts.

The mixture was advertised as a nerve tonic that could relieve exhaustion, headaches, and upset stomachs. The coca leaves provided a dose of cocaine, which acted as a stimulant. By 1890, Asa Candler acquired the formula and began selling Coca-Cola syrup as a cure-all medical tonic.

Coca-Cola soon became very popular as an over-the-counter remedy for nausea, stomachaches, headaches, exhaustion, and other common ailments. The cocaine gave users a mental and physical boost. It was marketed as “delicious, refreshing, and invigorating.”

Removal of Cocaine

Although initially cocaine was touted as a medicinal benefit, views quickly changed as cocaine addiction became a major public health problem in the early 1900s. There were calls to ban Coca-Cola due to its cocaine content.

Therefore, all cocaine was removed from the Coca-Cola formula by 1903. The company instead started using processed decocainized coca leaves for flavor. Coca-Cola then transitioned from a medical tonic into simply a new, popular soft drink.

Is Coke Syrup Still Sold Over-the-Counter?

While Coca-Cola originally contained medicinal ingredients meant to relieve nausea and upset stomachs, modern coke syrup no longer has any direct medicinal purposes. The removal of cocaine eliminated its direct effects on nausea.

So while some people may still anecdotally find that flat Coca-Cola helps calm an upset stomach, this is mainly due to the soothing syrup and carbonation rather than any medicinal ingredients.

Coke syrup is no longer commonly sold over-the-counter as a remedy for nausea or upset stomachs. In the early 1900s, soda fountains might add a splash of coke syrup to water or carbonated water at the request of customers with stomach aches. But this practice has largely died out.

You typically can’t find coke syrup in pharmacies anymore, unlike other products meant specifically for nausea like ginger ale, stomach settlers, antacids, anti-nausea medications, etc. So coke syrup itself is no longer commonly used as an OTC treatment.

Where Can You Still Purchase Coke Syrup?

While most pharmacies no longer carry coke syrup, it can still occasionally be special ordered from drug stores or pharmacies that have custom order catalogs. For example, some independent, old-fashioned drug stores may allow you to place a special request.

Some soda fountains and ice cream parlors also keep coke syrup on hand for making vintage phosphate sodas. You may be able to purchase a small amount from these types of specialty restaurants and soda shops.

Additionally, some websites allow you to order original Coca-Cola syrup online. This can be used to make homemade Coca-Cola. However, availability may be limited and you likely have to buy in bulk.

Major retailers like Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid no longer have coke syrup on their shelves. You would need to find a special order catalog or reach out to independent pharmacies to track it down.

Vintage Bottle Collecting

Another way to potentially source original, old-fashioned Coca-Cola syrup is through antique bottle collectors or soda memorabilia dealers. Some collectors specialize in vintage Coca-Cola bottles and advertising that contain actual syrup from the early 1900s when cocaine was still included in the formula.

The syrup in these bottles would be expired and unsafe to drink, but could potentially be used for display purposes if you want an original bottle with authentic syrup. However, these vintage items are rare and expensive to purchase from collectors.

What Modern Products Can You Use Instead for Nausea?

While coke syrup itself is no longer commonly used for upset stomachs and nausea, some of the modern equivalents you can purchase over-the-counter include:

Ginger Ale

Ginger is known to help soothe nausea and digestion issues. Traditional, non-caffeinated ginger ale contains ginger extract to provide calming relief for an upset tummy. The carbonation also helps settle the stomach. Popular brands like Canada Dry, Schweppes, and Seagrams make ginger ales sold widely in pharmacies and grocery stores.

Ginger Capsules or Lozenges

You can also purchase ginger supplements that contain concentrated doses of ginger. These come in capsule, tablet, or lozenge form for convenience. Pills like Nature’s Way Ginger Root capsules provide 550mg per serving. Chimes Ginger Chews are a popular lozenge option.

Motion Sickness Medications

Over-the-counter motion sickness pills can provide relief from nausea. These typically contain dimenhydrinate as the active ingredient. Popular brands include Dramamine and Bonine.


Pepto-Bismol is an oral antacid medication that helps treat upset stomach, nausea, and other gastrointestinal issues. The active ingredient is bismuth subsalicylate. It coats the lining of the stomach and soothes discomfort.


Emetrol is an OTC nausea medication designed to provide quick relief. It contains fructose and glucose to help calm the stomach. The syrupy, grape-flavored formula is similar to coke syrup, and meant to be taken by the spoonful as needed.

Should You Drink Flat Coca-Cola for Nausea?

While coke syrup itself is no longer used as a nausea remedy, some people still drink flat Coca-Cola to try to settle an upset stomach. Does this work or help nausea?

Here’s a look at the evidence behind using flat Coke for nausea:

Anecdotal Evidence

Many people report anecdotally that drinking flat Coca-Cola helps relieve nausea, stomach cramps, or diarrhea. There are many online reports of using flat Coke to ease stomach flu symptoms. The idea is that flat soda is less bubbly and easier to keep down.

Sugar and Carbs

The sugar in Coke provides carbohydrates and energy when you are feeling nauseated and weak. The sweet taste may also help override feelings of nausea temporarily.

Calming Effect of Carbonation

The mild carbonation can help settle stomach acid and potentially diffuse any gas trapped in the stomach, which may be contributing to nausea. Letting the Coke go flat removes the harsh bubbles.

Caffeine and Nutrients

Coca-Cola contains caffeine, which acts as a light stimulant. This may help overcome fatigue from nausea. The phosphoric acid also provides hydration, as does the water content. These nutrients may help you feel better.

Cold Temperature

Drinking a cold glass of flat Coke may have a calming effect when you’re feeling nauseated and overheated.

Placebo Effect?

There is not wide scientific evidence that Coca-Cola relieves nausea better than other beverages. Therefore, some think the benefits may simply come from the placebo effect of believing Coke will help. The treatment ritual itself may provide comfort.

Lack of Clinical Evidence

While using flat Coke for nausea is generally considered harmless and potentially worth trying, there isn’t direct clinical evidence proving its effectiveness. Doctors don’t widely recommend it as a cure. Overall, it’s considered more of a home remedy than medical treatment.

Can Children Have Coke Syrup for Nausea?

Giving coke syrup to children for nausea relief has not been an accepted medical practice for many decades. Here are some things to consider before giving any products containing caffeine to children:

– Caffeine can be dangerous and over-stimulating for young children. Consult a pediatrician before giving any caffeine products to kids.

– Modern Coke syrup does not contain any actual medicinal ingredients and is not intended as a nausea treatment. It likely provides no benefits over regular soda.

– For child nausea and vomiting, stick to pediatrician-recommended OTC treatments made specially for kids. Popular options include Emetrol, Pedialyte, and Pepsid. Avoid Coke syrup.

– If using traditional soda like Coca-Cola, only provide small amounts diluted with water for older children. And only use caffeine-free or decaf soda, as regular contains too much caffeine for kids.

– For toddlers under age 2, avoid all soda. Stick to medication dosages or natural remedies recommended by your pediatrician to treat child nausea. Coke syrup and soda should be avoided.


In summary, Coke syrup was once a popular nausea and stomach remedy when it contained cocaine. However, it no longer has any medicinal properties now that cocaine has been removed from the formula for over a century. While some still use flat Coca-Cola anecdotally to settle an upset stomach, Coke syrup itself is no longer commonly used or recommended specifically for nausea relief. It can be difficult to find and purchase on its own today outside of specialty soda shops. Instead of Coke syrup, modern medicines like ginger supplements, stomach settlers, and anti-nausea drugs tend to be more effective OTC options for nausea relief backed by clinical evidence. But drinking flat cola in moderation can be safe if it seems to comfort your stomach issues. Just avoid giving caffeinated soda syrups or beverages to young children without first consulting your pediatrician.

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