Coca-Cola and Migraine

by James on 20 August 2010

No, this post is not a debate over the benefits or dangers of Coke.  It’s just for fun.

Coca-Cola for Migraine?

You may or may not know that Coca-Cola was originally marketed as a headache remedy.  Of course, it was somewhat different at first than it is today – probably containing much more caffeine, and some other interesting ingredients.

But I thought you might like to see the first label for Coca-Cola, as written by the inventor, John Pemberton, back in the 1880s:

COCA-COLA SYRUP AND EXTRACT  For soda water and other Carbonated Beverages.  This Intellectual Beverage and Temperance Drink contains the valuable Tonic and Nerve Stimulant properties of the Coca plant and Cola (and Kola) nuts, and makes not only a delicious, exhilerating, refreshing, and invigorating Beverage (dispensed from the soda water fountain or in other carbonated beverages), but a valuable Brain Tonic and a cure for all nervous affections–Sick Head-Ache, Neuralgia, Hysteria, Melancholy, etc.  The peculiar flavor of COCA-COLA delights every palate.

Hmmmmmm… not sure if that makes me want to go for a Coke or not!  Yes, "sick head-ache" was the old name for migraine.  Now we know a lot more about what it is (a nervous affection?!  Um, no.), and we know that Coca-Cola, old formula or new, does not cure it.

My, how things have changed!

Taken from For God, Country, and Coca-Cola by Mark Pendergrast

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Parin Stormlaughter August 20, 2010 at 2:03 am

Not a cure at all of course but OH yeah the old, most original formula was a great treatment for sick headache according to my grandmother (born in 1895)! :D

Coca-cola and either aspirin or Excedrin were our family’s medicine treatment for sick headaches for literally decades. We have a strong family history of migraine on both sides of my family and my ex-husband’s father’s side. My ex has an extremely old bottle of Coke – never opened – that his grandmother gave him once as an oddity when she found it in a corner of her storage house.

No telling how many decades old that bottle is or what sort of Coke formulation is in it but he’s proud of it. XD

Interesting article, James!

Reply

marty March 31, 2011 at 4:53 pm

well I’m happy to report that coke does help stop a migraine attack. After years and years and years looking for treatments, including participating in a clinical trial, the one thing that has actually helped me is having 2-3 ounces of coke at the onset of a migraine. works every time! it is not magic…it is the combination of caffeine and sugar….btw…I’m a scientist….

Reply

Laura November 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm

My daughter swears by Coca-cola when she feels a migraine coming on! Excedrin also helps her. For me, nothing touches them but a triptan and/or magnesium and B-2! Weird how different things help different people!

Reply

Kayla February 29, 2012 at 10:15 am

Coca-cola actually gets rid of my headaches in minutes.

Reply

Joseph July 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I have suffered from headaches/migraines for years, ibuprofen used to help and still does, imitrex helps often, but when they both fail if I drink a cold coca cola classic my headache is gone within minutes. Everytime and I am thankful.

Reply

Shawna December 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm

After years of getting migraines, and trying everything doctors could think of for them -. Coca cola is the only thing that works consistently. Cola and KFC will lift a week-long migraine away in a few minutes.

Reply

Roxanne December 5, 2012 at 6:28 pm

I used to swear by Coke and aspirin for my migraines. Some years ago, I gave up sodas. The number of migraines/month went down by half. So while it may have helped in the beginning, it looks like they were causing some of them.

Reply

Ally October 24, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I suffered with migraines since I was 5 years old. I just got back from the 3rd neurologist I’ve seen for migraines. After trying Imitrex and Maxalt with no relieve, guess what? This neurologist who also has migraines said to take excedrine and drink some coca cola. He is a processor at an ivy league school and works at a top notch hospital. Coca Cola took me back. My father used to take BC powder and drink Coca Cola when he had a headache, which is a common remedy in the south. (BC powder is an analgesic and was known as BC Headache Powder). Coca Cola opens the blood vessels, so guess what? I’m going to try it. It just might work!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: