Ginger is traditionally taken to ease digestion and treat nausea, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center. WebMD states that as long as ginger ale contains a quarter to half-teaspoon of fresh or dry ginger as opposed to solely ginger flavoring, ginger ale has similar anti-nausea effects.
In traditional Chinese medicine, ginger's health properties are believed to come from its ability to relax the smooth muscles of the digestive tract and inhibit intestinal gas production, according to Dr. Ben Kim.
While the anti-nausea properties in ginger are speculated to come from its oil and phenol compounds, WebMD states that the exact reasons for ginger's powerful effect on nausea remain unknown. It is used to treat nausea from pregnancy and chemotherapy, with some success seen in treating post-surgery nausea. Studies on ginger's effectiveness for treating motion sickness have been inconclusive.
To obtain maximum benefits from ginger ale, Dr. Kim suggests making homemade ginger ale using a combination of ginger root, sparkling water and fruit. He recommends using fresh ginger root because it has more nutrients and flavor than powdered ginger. More potent than ginger ale is ginger tea, which is made from steeping a slice of ginger in hot water. Dr. Kim also suggests eating ginger with food or using it as a spice for its anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties.