Why Black People Love Ginger Ale So Much

ginger root
Briona Lamback
April 25, 2023

Black folks love ginger ale. For decades, we’ve used it to soothe almost everything. Upset stomach? Ginger ale. Nausea? Ginger ale. Our love for the drink may be rooted in a generations-old tradition.

Ginger has numerous health benefits, including nausea relief, bloating, and managing free radicals. We’ve been using herbalism to heal our ailments since the beginning of time, so it makes sense why we gravitate toward drinks marketed as containing natural ginger.

Capitalism doesn’t play fair, and popular beverage brands like Canada Dry refuse to be transparent about the amount of ginger used in their products, which experts don’t believe is enough to maintain the roots’ healing properties. 

Our use of ginger’s cousin, ginseng, has been well documented. Enslaved folks experiencing a fever would wrap themselves in ginseng leaves to help ease the pain. Hoodoo practitioners believe ginseng is excellent for vitality, strength, and even good luck.

Many of our elders and ancestors might’ve relied on ginger ale because they knew the healing power of plants. Deceiving companies claiming the ale’s health benefits encourages us to return to the roots we’ve always known.

Whether mainstream ginger ale is helping upset stomachs or not, ginger itself has long been a balm for us. What would happen if we returned to the earth-based traditions our people used to heal for so long?