Coke for your headache, sir?
Text and images by Cheryl Teo @ Makansutra
Developed in the mid-18th Century, the caffeine (originating from the kola nut) found in Coca Cola was believed to be the key ingredient in the beverage’s headache curing remedy, as it constricts the flow of blood to the dilated vessels in the head, thus reducing pain.
John Pembeton, a pharmacist from Atlanta, the creator of Coca Cola, started off with Pemberton’s French Wine Cola – the alcoholic version of Coca Cola and it was in 1886 that he launched the non-alcoholic Coca Cola.
Aside from headaches, Pemberton claimed that it also cure ailments like impotency and morphine addiction, amongst other things. Coke concentrate, or Coke syrup, was sold in small quantities at pharmacies then, as an over-the-counter remedy for nausea or mildly upset stomach.
In time, reports came out stating that too much caffeine might in fact give you headaches instead, so over time, the recipe was tweaked and coca cola, which started off as having cocaine and caffeine as their main ingredients, now uses coca leaf extract instead, thus reduces its effect of remedying headaches.