Muscle Cramp Remedies

Last Modified on Jul 28, 2014


Lobelia, Trace Minerals

Approval Ratings
YEA (1)

[YEA]  05/09/2014: Drwelby from California: "Leg Cramps:

LOBELIA Extract (brown liquid available in large health food stores & from herbalists). The most powerful antispasmodic natural medicine. In essence, a cramp is a a 'spasm' or knot of the muscle. A quick liberal spray or splash of the lobelia rubbed into & about 3" around the circumference of the cramped area & relief will be momentary & complete.

The other people's recommendations of trace minerals, AC vinegar etc daily will treat the 'cause' of the cramping if taken daily as an addition to the daily diet..(its a 'food' not a medicine) on an ongoing basis. And..improve digestion (& therefore absorption of minerals from food) & general quality of health in many regards.

I find the following taken at least twice daily approx 15mins before meals is an easy quick & relatively pleasant:

  • 3 T AC Vinegar
  • 1T Raw Honey (NOT pasturized or boiled sold in markets)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup hot water

Stir & drink"


Approval Ratings
YEA (1)

07/27/2014: Ruth from Ct.: "I have hepatitis c and peripheral neuropathy and have terrible calf cramps...I have been taking magnesium for my cramps and getting hives. Don't understand it. I've tried several types (Chloride-citrate etc.) of magnesium except the one that the woman in Hawaii sells. Her ad sound bogus to me....

Why would I have an allergy unless my magnesium level is full and adding to it causes the hives...Any suggestions or explanations. Thank you very much. I have hives everywhere and it's terrible. Even on the bottom of my feet."

07/28/2014: Mmsg from Somewhere, Europe replies: "Ruth, have you tried Epsom Salt baths for getting magnesium?"

05/09/2014: Pinkdamsel from West Orange, Nj: "I used get charlie horses in my legs at night, and would have to get up and walk them off. Then I bought a bottle of liquid magnesium, and wiping the liquid on my legs would stop the cramp even before I finished wiping. This was my solution for over a year, and I was very happy, even though the liquid mag is pricey. Then one night I was half asleep and grabbed the wrong bottle from the counter. It wasn't until the next morning that I discovered I had used Milk of Magnesia instead of the magnesium which had been put inside a cupboard - but the result was the same! I've retested both versions of magnesium several times , and both solutions work. Maybe the liquid mag is a bit faster."

[YEA]  05/14/2007: Phyllis from Rockhampton, Australia: "I have been dealing with the pain of cramps for a lot of years now, however as I am getting older & the pain is now so painfully excruciating I am going to make sure I get a cure for this problem, NOW. I bought a bottle of "BIO magnesium" last night & out of three nights cramps I didn't get any cramping even though I can still feel the cramp lying in waiting, & I had 12 hours sleep, WOW, I feel like I need mores sleep now because I have been so badly deprived of sleep from the extremeties of the pain. I also bought ?Mersyndol" which the chemist herself said would help me get some sleep, in which it did. I will post my latest knowledge back here again soon!.."

Magnesium and Dill Pickle Every Day

Approval Ratings
YEA (3)

[YEA]  Judith from Columbus IN: "Magnesium cured excrutiating leg cramps in mostly right leg & dill pickle relieved leg, feet, ankle cramps or "tightening" & big toe stiffening, not 'painful' exactly, but verrrrrrry uncomfortable. My podiatrist recommended Maginex magnesium supplement about 18 months ago & I have not had a BAD leg cramp since. The past several weeks, my left leg started tighening up, severely, every night, also with my big toe bending straight up & unmoveable until it decided to do it on it's own. I could not even bend it down with my hand. The tightening--that's the only way to describe it, was not nearly as bad as the cramps I use to get, but I was waking up 6-7 times a night with it & not much I could do to help it or get rid of it. My doctor suggested eating a dill pickle every day. She said she had heard it really worked & I was ready to try anything. Since the very first night after eating a Claussen dill pickle I have not had the near-cramping or tightening. A couple of times I have woke up & thought it was going to happen but I was able to "work it out" before it got very far. I have faith in the pickle juice!!"

[YEA]   Sue from Phoenix, AZ: "Magnesium Malate is wonderful for leg cramps and muscle twitching. I take 3 in the AM. Left sided leg cramps can mean that calcium is needed. Right sided leg cramps are often an indicator that magnesium is low. But the very best all around leg cramp annihilator is a shot glass or two of dill pickle juice. If you get up in the midst of a cramp and drink this you will experience almost immediate relief and sleep through the night."

[YEA]  05/30/2011: Azuresea from Singapore, , Singapore replies: "Magnesium does work. I found that out by accident when I took a cal-mag zinc supplement. Almost immediately, my cramps went away in a matter of hours. In fact, I suggest that one takes magnesium at least once a month as adequate amounts prevents body from absorbing other heavy metals like aluminium, lead, mercury etc."


06/19/2008: Larry from Valencia, California: "I have suffered cramps of feet, legs, hands and side for years. I have tried many natural remedies with some limited success. It was recommended that I try a powder mixture called Natural CALM, a mangonese supplement that you drink like a tea. This 'tea', which I added a regular tea bag to for flavor, immediately relieved my cramps. When I started taking 1 1/2 teaspoons morning and night, my irregular heartbeat (Atrial Fitrilation) went away! Wow! This is great! You can find it at your vitamin or healthfood store."

08/05/2009: Harriet from Federal Way, Wa replies: "Natural Calm is MAGNESIUM, N O T Manganese. I know. I've used it for years. Dissolves in hot water."

Multiple Remedies

Approval Ratings
NAY (1)

[WORKED TEMPORARILY]  05/30/2014: May10777 from Tuscaloosa, Alabama: "I have suffered severe spasms for many years. The only thing that ever really helped me was Quinine which is not available anymore. My last scrip was in '04. There seems to be no answer to why I have them. My doctors say "some people just have them and some people don't." These are serious spasms where both feet and legs are sometimes affected alway up so cannot get up and walk it out. Or once I was driving and both hands drew up in knots at the same time. Scary, hurting so bad and trying to hold a steering wheel like that.

The Doctor recommended calcium years ago and at first it seemed to help. Next time I complained she said try Magnesium as you may have a shortage. Again it helped and I was able to sleep through the night. But not for long. I have used a teaspoon of yellow mustard, a little pickle juice, a little vinegar & honey and all these things will give some relief after a few minutes. But getting to them can be a problem and the safest & simplest thing I can do is keep water by my bedside! I have learned if I drink a glass of water right away it helps.

The bar of soap in bed did not work for me.

I have noted that when I run out of milk and don't drink milk I sleep through the night and don't have them. I read somewhere that milk actually leaches calcium out of bones and that may be what is happening. I can get more calcium eating collards greens without the cramps.

I have never heard of using Lobellia before but I will have to try it. I'm always on the look out for anything that helps.

Thank you and I wish everyone who has to deal with this find the right answer."

05/30/2014: Janet from Coventry, Uk replies: "Can you get Schweppes Bitter Lemon or Tonic where you are? They both contain small amounts of Quinine. I always have some in the cupboard and drink a tumbler of one of them when I get leg cramps."
05/30/2014: Dave from Fountain Inn, Sc replies: "To May 10777,

Re Quinine....

I did a Google search and found "Quinine" from a Canadian source.

Also when I get too much carb overload (especially sugar) in afternoon and evening I'm liable to have leg issues. For quick relief I take one third teaspoon of baking soda in a half glass of water and dissolve. Then I "pat" some of the liquid on my knees...twice on each knee cap. And then drink the rest. The aching I relate to metabolism issues, but somehow the dissolved baking soda gives instant relief.

Also, for a bad case, I'll triple up on my AEP (Calcium AEP).

For aching that involves the entire leg...that's a circulation problem. I use natural (NOT synthetic) vitamin E plus added magnesium. And a good soak every week in two cups of Epsom Salts in a tub of warm water is a great help. The key is the E. I take 1, 000 IUs daily. Start at 200 IUs and over months increase to at least 400.

If the aching is from a vein issue...I use Horse Chestnut in pill form. Three daily.

If the aching is due to onset MS, the AEP will work wonders. My mother kept mobile even though she had full blown MS for the last 15 years of her life. Whenever she had a "flare up" she'd take another 6 AEP tablets, and gone were the aches.

So...aching can be the result of a number of issues. Maybe a combo. But get off the sugar as a dietary help."

05/31/2014: Kay from Fl replies: "Spasms are both muscle and nerve related often relating to mineral deficiencies (and dehydration or fluid-transmission problems). Worse, yet, it is very common that when you treat one deficiency, you create an imbalance in the other(s), in a constant see-saw action. Mineral deficiencies are very common in people habitually taking meds/foods/drinlk that deplete certain minerals; also in athletes, outdooor laborers in hot climates, and in habitual drug/alcohol users (esp crack/meth).

The minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc MUST be kept in proper balance with each other in order for muscles/nerves to work properly. (Simply put: Calcium controls contraction of muscles, Magnesium controls relaxation of a contracted muscle, Potassium and Zinc controls many necessary adjunct functions, including the uptake of fluids and minerals into muscle tissue, and transmission nerve signals).

One of the easiest/fastest/affordable ways to rebalance your mineral levels (without paying for extensive testing/measuring and dosing) is by purchasing a homeopathic mix of "tissue salts" (aka "cell salts") available at most good health food stores. Since you dont know your mineral levels, and your problem is ongoing for awhile (and could be from several causes and/or multiple imbalances), I would choose the bottle that contains all the basic cell salts; one of several choices is named "Bio-Plasma" made by Hylands ($18 for 1000 tabs; which will last you 6months or years). Take as directed (under tongue; several times a day) until you get relief, then stop. Since they are homeopathic, they will balance themselves out properly over time (as long as you stop taking them each time you get relief). If/when you have a relapse , start taking them again as directed (until you get relief, then stop; then restart them if/when you relapse; stopping & starting over & over again). This will slowly/surely reload both your tissues and body fluids to the proper levels, correcting any deficiencies (which takes more time in deep/damaged tissue).

Hylands has a great laymans website for more details explaining the theory & practices of homeopathy, and cell-salts, and the particular function/workings of each salt (which can all be bought separately, and in different "combos").

Although the Bio-Plasma combo works slower than single salts, it is much more thorough in re-balancing your entire system; adequately replenishing (and eventually helping to repair) muscles, tissues, nerves, transmitters, etc. Otherwise, using a single salt may just be putting a small bandaid on a much more extensive problem.

When you no longer have any relapses at all (over a much longer period then previously), then put your cell-salts away and be sure to take a (high-quality) multi-vitiamin/mineral supplement dialy; and eat a healthy/balanced diet with lots of fresh (or fresh-frozen) colorful veggies and fruits, and plenty of water daily. Do not eat canned foods; do not drink sodas or exceed 2 caffinated drinks per day (if that)! Stay hydrated!

If cell-salts don't solve your spasms, then at least you know your minerals levels are probably not the primary issue. (Good Luck & Best Wishes! )

PS: Bottle/can "Tonic Water" has similar features/functions as Quinine (in minute doses), so it may be handy in-a-pinch (but not to be used as a substitute for re-balancing your minerals! )."

06/01/2014: Mmsg from Somewhere, Europe replies: "May10777, can you stay away from milk (and milk products)?"

[NAY]  02/12/2009: Shelagh from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida: "This is a bit crazy- I fell on the job last June & tore my anterior deltiod- I am receiving massage therapy and chiropractic treatments which are helping- but the healing is so slow going it's making me nuts! I am 51, I kayak for 'therapy' and have been unable to do this since my fall. And last night I fell again; tripped over a raised bit of something in the concrete... this time I badly injured the opposite elbow- I was actually sitting on the cold ground for a half hour before I could catch my breath & talk myself into biting the bullet through the pain & forcing myself to get up. I had my cell phone and actually considered calling the police for assistance!

I endured interesting muscle spasms all night & even throughout today as I tried to straighten my arm... elbow hurts like hell if I attempt to straighten it- I will seek treatment for this since I am still dealing with shoulder issue.

Ironically, now my 'bad' shoulder is my 'good' one. Sigh.

My question: what to do for acute intense muscle spasms? I rested last night with my arm elevated, iced, rubbed Epsom salts into the area for magnesium... massaged with witch hazel, wrapped in rags with ACV... I took 3 500 mg caps of turmeric. Sleeping was still a miserable ordeal. A slightest movement would send screaming spasms into my elbow and forewrm... causing my hand to clench...

I finally bought otc pain relievers this afternoon because I had to work...

Tonight I can't sleep for the pain... am going to make a cayenne concoction with turmeric... repeat some of my machinations from last evening, see if I can dream up any magic potion... in the mean-time, any other suggestions?

Thanks people. Peace."

02/12/2009: Tess from Palm Beach, FL replies: "Hi Shelagh, not sure this will be of any help, but I found this while searching under Vitamin D3 cures:

"Symptoms and Signs:
Vitamin D deficiency can cause muscle aches, muscle weakness, and bone pain at any age."

There may be other vitamin or mineral deficiencies which can also cause intense muscle pain. I will keep looking."


Approval Ratings
YEA (4)
NAY (1)

02/22/2012: Art from Mt. Marion, Ny: "Many have mentioned the effectiveness of pickle juice to relieve muscle cramps, well dill pickle juice is usually loaded with mustard seeds. Perhaps it's the salt and mustard thing working hand-in-hand."

[YEA]  05/25/2009: BKay from Bozeman, MT: "A great remedy for muscle cramps is mustard. I get muscle cramps in my feet and legs frequently. When I get them, or think they might be coming on, I take a couple teaspoons of mustard and get almost immediate relief."

05/25/2009: Flo from Segamat, Johor, Malaysia replies: "Hello! I've been reading Earth Clinic since yesterday. When I came across this Muscle Cramps.... I just had to tell about this "Cramp Keep Away" remedy. No medication, No explanation as to why it works BUT IT WORKS. Not only for me but for my friends who tried it.

What is needed is a cake of soap - any brand. Keep it close to you - in your pocket, on your table, bed, chair etc. You don't even have to take it out of its wrapper. Cramps leave fast and stay away! I found it in a Korean lady's blog a year ago.

By the way I'm going to start on ACV to lower my HBP."

[YEA]  03/17/2009: Alice from Orem, Utah: "I have suffered with leg cramps since my youth. The best thing I have found after trying several remedies is to take a teaspoon of yellow mustard each day followed with warm water or milk. Once you get it in your system it seems to be o'k if you miss now and then. Soon as I get forgetful and don't take it for awhile, the leg and feet spasms are back. Any brand of yellow table mustard works. Hope it helps someone else."

[NAY]  11/21/2007: Sam from Bournemouth, England UK: "I am currently in extreme pain. MY foot is badly cramping after a lot of exercise this week . . . i knew i didn't need to loose weight!!!! LOL I've read all comments on here and tried mustard to no avail and a hairdryer which eased my pain but only when the heat was over my foot. I'm now sat with my foot in a bowl of boiling hot water which is dulling the pain and making it slightly more bareable. Should i have been able to lay my hands on string at 1:42am i would give it a try. I am praying this is going to be a one off . . . but take comfort in knowing others sit wde awake in agony not knowing what to try next either!! At least your comments have made me smile in my hour(s) of need!!! so thank u"

[YEA]  03/27/2007: Helen from Long Island, New York: "A teaspoon of mustard cured my leg cramps the other night. It worked within minutes."

[YEA]  11/27/2006: Ruth from Banning, California: "A teaspoonful of prepared Mustard like Frenchs brings toe and leg cramps relief. I have tiny packets of mustard (that I purchase at Smart & Fiinal restaurant suppliers) and carry them in my handbag and at my bedside for quick relief. It works fast 99% of the time."

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DISCLAIMER: Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.


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