“So this is something I’ve noticed whenever I have a headache or when I just feel bad, I’ll just go to 7-11 or wherever sells soft drinks and I’ll get a coke and drink a whole bottle of coke. So just a habit. Makes me feel better.”
Soda has been used as a folk remedy of sorts for quite some time now. It seems popular enough that it has been featured on the show South Park in an episode called “Red Man’s Greed” in which people drink chicken soup and Sprite to get over SARS. This is a fitting folk remedy in the United States as we consume more soda per capita than any other country. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that carbonated sugary drinks have become a part of our cultural tapestry.
However, recent research claims Coca-Cola can aid in the dissolution of gastric bezoars. The acidic nature of soft drinks can serve as a first-line treatment for indigestible substances.
Perhaps my informant once had a stomach ache and drank coke, only to realize his symptoms lessened. As a result, he associates coke with a minor remedy for various pains.
Ladas, S.D., Kamberoglou, D., Karamanolis, G., Vlachogiannakos, J., and I. Zouboulis-Vafiadis. (2012) “Systematic review: Coca-Cola can effectively dissolve gastric phytobezoars as a first-line treatment.” Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics 37(2):169-173.