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Tonic Water Eases Cramps, but Not without Risk

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Q. Since quinine sulfate is no longer available for leg cramps, I wonder if there is any danger in drinking "tonic water" just for the flavor. Quinine is an ingredient, I believe.

A. Although the FDA has banned the use of prescription quinine pills to treat leg cramps, the agency has not proposed eliminating tonic water from the market. If it did, a lot of people who enjoy gin and tonic might revolt.

Readers aware of the quinine in tonic water have put it to use: “I have been drinking tonic water with quinine for about two months now, and my leg and foot cramps have disappeared completely.”

FDA banned quinine from use against leg cramps because sensitive people may develop a potentially deadly blood disorder in reaction to quinine. Although this complication is rare, it is extremely serious. One reader reported being hospitalized after drinking a 5-ounce glass of tonic water. She developed a terrible skin reaction and her blood platelets plummeted. She was told that in her case even a drop could be lethal.

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I have suffered from burning feet, leg cramps and joint discomfort for years. Last year I was prescribed quinine sulfate which for me was a wonder drug. Now this drug, which has been used for 60 years, has been removed by the FDA. Qunine water does not seem to help. any suggestions?

I have been taking quinine capsules for about a year. They worked wonders on my leg cramps. What can I use instead, now that you can't get them anymore. I hate tonic water. What about magnesium?

Many years ago my doctor prescribed quinine for my leg cramps. When I took it I developed a high fever and the Doctor tried everything to find the cause. Finally, I asked my Pharmacist to look in the PDR. Sure enough, there at the bottom of possible reactions was high fever.

Later I read that loss of potassium would cause leg cramps. I got a prescription (not OTC which didn't help) and only have leg cramps when I'm losing fluid and potassium as a result.

For a non chemical alternative find a vibrating pillow and sit on the side of the bed with your feet on the pillow for about five minutes. Don't know why this works but it sure beats walking in circles until the cramp eases.

I have had sever leg muscle cramps for years. Dr. originally told me to drink tonic water-- no help. Prescribed quinine tablets, approx. 200mg-- worked OK, not perfect. Went to 324mg(Qualaguin) when it became the only available pill. Worked perfectly. No leg cramps. Now, Qualaquin is gone and Dr. says try tonic water again. If 200mg was OK and 324 perfect, how is 13-15mg going to help me?

I am now 83 years old, a retired registered nurse. I have used a glass or two of tonic water, with some lime jcc in it, for MANY years. This was at the suggestion of an old time physician. I have NEVER had any bad side effects, and I no longer have leg cramps. THe small amount of quinine in tonic water is more than likely less harmful than the junk you find in soda drinks!!

I have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. One of the early symptoms was leg and foot cramps, often screamers, which occurred early in the morning, usually. The tonic water was by my bed at all times, just in case, as it would provide quick relief. Mustard will help also, if nothing else is available.

I started treating the cramps with additional calcium, magnesium and zinc, and that helped, but it wasn't until I went on the Gluten free diet that I found reliable relief.

I discovered the Celiac by finally becoming anemic due to improper absorption of iron. I still take the calcium supplements, and iron, but your reader should be checked for the possiblity of celiac, as it reduces normal absorption of a lot of necessary minerals.

I am 62 years old and healthier than in years, and thanks for the columns, they are great.

Thanks to you all for your comments regarding leg cramps. For some reason I have suddenly been getting severe cramps on my inner thighs. Sitting in a tub of hot water was the only cure (I thought). I will try tonic water and hold off on the Qualaquin prescription for now. Oddly, I feel better knowing there are others with this kind of problem although I would not wish it on anyone.

For cramps of the calf muscle, step on an ice cube with your bare foot. This will cause the cramp to disappear almost immediately with no lingering feeling of a knot in the muscle. I first discovered this by walking onto a cold floor barefoot. The ice cube is an upgrade to the coldness of the floor.

Hello--my question is about tonic water. I started drinking it after a friend suggested it for my severe muscle spasms. I've been drinking it up until a week ago or so, when I started coming down with a Urinary Tract Infection. It occured to me, that maybe it might be hard on the kidneys for some people--cause my symptoms might be kidney related to. Has anyone heard of this? I'm running a high fever intermittantly. I go to the Dr. tomorrow. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

I see that one case of tonic water poisoning is cited in this web site. Is there a study and more than one occurrence of this happening anywhere else. Tonic water is on sale in almost every store so it seems that the cases of poisoning must be overstated. I noticed that many boys that play football get leg cramps and I was wondering if tonic water could help, especially in the short periods when they play. Please let me know because I found that tonic water does help in my leg cramps at night and I have had a glass every night for years now. Thanks

Tonic water has helped my leg cramps. Had the cramping during the night. Devil of a time getting out of bed. Since I have been on tonic water not a cramp in sight. Have no idea if this related, but since I started tonic water I am so uptight can't relax. Feel like a cat on a hot tin roof. No sleep, can't sit still. Anyone else with this problem?

I have a question: my mom has been suffering with a form of vertigo for almost two years now. She has been consuming between 8 and 10 glasses of tonic water a day. Originally she started drinking tonic water to help ease her leg cramps, which it has. However I am wondering if this much consumption could be causing other symptoms. Some Dr's also think she may have vesticular neuritis. Any suggestions anyone?

This note is for Bob Puckett: my husband had a horrible pain in his inner thigh and finally went to the doctor... nothing was found regarding the thigh, but they did find prostate cancer and completely removed it all in time. Please check with your doctor for a prostate checkup asap... just to be sure. My husband has never had another pain in his thigh.

In 1966 while in Army I drank 4-5 gin and tonics in town. The next morning I could barely get out of bunk or stand up. Extreme weakness . Finally made it to latrine where my urine looked like Coca Cola. Went on sick call where they discovered fever of 104. Urine specimen at clinic was dark brown. Dr. questioned whether I had ate or drank anything unusual. Told him my first experience with gin/tonic. He told me tonic was good for you. Gradually got better in a couple of days. Five years later while at a wedding reception the bartender hits the wrong button and gives me tonic and scotch. Drank one mouthful, realized what happened and threw it away. Later got weak, sick and had fever for a short while.

Hi, I've had leg cramps for years and my Dr. told me to start drinking tonic water. I've been drinking it for about a month and half now, it is working, but now my nose is starting to bleed every day. This is the only thing I can think of (tonic water) that is making me have nosebleeds. I'd like to know if any other people may be experiencing the same thing. Thank you, Wyoma

I tried tonic water for cramps. It worked, but as I didn't like the other ingredients in most waters, I found Q Tonic Water online. It is carried in some liquor stores. Very expensive by comparison, but I am more comfortable with the ingredients, and it works. I also drink a few ounces in the evening which has totally alleviated cramps.

I've had severe muscle spasms in my upper abdominal area. Once, it happened when I was at work, and my coworkers called an ambulance--I finally agreed to them calling 911 cause I was worried maybe it was my heart--but the ER determined it was not--just severe muscle spasms. The next day, one of my coworkers suggested tonic water--and it has really helped! So far, no adverse reactions.

I have been experiencing cramps in my arches for the last year (on and off). I usually use a messager to relieve the cramp. I think it is back referrred. I have managed my back for 20 years. This past week my cramp was in my left calf muscle. It seiezed quickly one day at school. I do not hydrate as much in the morning due to bathroom availability. I do hydrate plenty from 2- 10pm. Today my mother suggested tonic water. I just took it and then google side effects. It mentioned platelets concerns. I did have ITP in 1981 and my platelets went down to 17,000. The doctor determined it to be viral and it never returned since then. Does the above information send up any flags? I am 55 years old at this time. Thank you for your time, Greg.

I have suffered with cramps for too long. I mentioned this to my doctor on my last visit, and she told me to purchase seltzer water with quinine. I had never heard this, but I did as she said. The tonic water took care of the cramps almost immediately. It was over within 3 minutes or less. Now I don't go anywhere without my TONIC WATER w/quinine. Were I used to get cramps even when driving -- it just doesn't happen anymore because I keep a bottle in my car. It doesn't even happen to be cold. I have had no side affects what soever. I thank God for that Dr. telling me after I suffered all these years. IT WORKS!!!

I suffer from burning feet, leg cramps which soap does not help and tendonitis in the left ankle. What is there to help me?

I suffer from restless leg syndrome, also in my arms from the elbow down. I was up surfing the internet trying to find something that would explain what it was, when I found tonic water was used for the symptoms. I bout three bottles the next day. I didnt even have to get through the first bottle, when my symptoms quit, and have been gon for over a year now. i truley believe this is a wonderful natural cure. I hate taking meds for stuff you can try to treat yourself.

I have diabetes and fibromyalgia. I have been suffering from joint pain and muscles cramps for years.

I decided to try quinine tonic water on the recommendation of a friend. The taste was horrible and then I remebered something my athletic daughter relied on, gatorade. I now mix 2 oz. of tonic water with 2 oz. of my favorite flavor of gatorade and it lessens the nasty taste plus I get the added bonus of potassium and electrolytes. It works for me. Maybe it will work for others too!

I am having terrible leg
cramps that wake me up at night. drinking tonic water
did help some, not much any the quinine acidic levels
are low, and am dehydrated,
I drink a lot of water, and
immediately urinate the water.
I am diabetic, but no other
medical problems

I am in terrible pain with horrible inner thigh cramps coming every night now. I'm alone and scared.

I've told my Dr. several times how bad it is but he seems to act like it's a "ouchie" when in fact, I am nearly passing out with pain. It's not easy to "get" another Dr. here. Most do not take new patients. I am at a loss as to what I can do.

If there is anyone out there who could help me, even just to talk, please help me. I am so afraid I am going to die of something like a blood clot or heart attack and my 2 little dogs will be left alone. I can't take this pain as it's unlike anything I ever felt.
my email is

Like so many of the previous entrants, I have been experiencing severe inner/upper thigh cramps in the nighttime hours to the point I cannot move to a different position in search of relief. I will give the tonic water a try. Thanks for all your input and here's hoping everyone gets relief. It's a real bummer problem.

I have suffered with leg cramps for years. Just saw House on TV, and they mentioned the quinine in tonic water. I love gin and tonics, so I immediately opened the fridge and got out my tonic water and poured a glass. Then I found this website. Will keep drinking and see if things improve.

Is there any relation to stomach bloating in women due to too much use of tonic water, i.e. vodka and tonic?

I have had severe leg cramps after back surgery. My family doctor prescribed quinine sulfate. When you could no longer get it via prescription, I tried a pharmacy that mixed it. They then pulled it. I now get it from Canada Pharmacy, no problem, and it still works great. I have absolutely no leg cramps when I take it every night.

I used to suffer from muscle leg cramps, both in the morning and at night, while still in bed. The immediate relief would be for me to step on the floor my heel a little bit elevated, pressing the toes moderately on the floor until the pain is gone and the stiffness of the muscle, softened. I do a little massage on the muscle, followed by a warm bath, and I would be okay for the rest of the day. Now, just the little massage and the warm bath are my morning rituals, as I have not suffered from said cramps for over two years.

Best to ramp up walking and activity, stretching before AND AFTER to avoid leg cramps and improve overall circulation. Who knows what other drugs and syndromes may be avoided? And those who wondered why tonic water is still on the market didn't read that quinine is less than 3%. For those having issues, quit drinking mass quantities of tonic water and keep to one or two glasses a day (probably in the evening). Those who suffer the rare reaction should stop altogether, of course. Some commercial 'tonic drinks' also contain sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, etc, so don't overdo it, esp those with diabetes. And yes, too much tonic AND VODKA can cause swelling of the liver and other adverse reactions...

I had been bothered by Restless Leg Syndrome on and of for about two years. After reading articles to find help/causes, I started the suggestion of drinking a glass of tonic water every evening before bedtime. It has helped amazingly!!! What a relief!
But, I now wonder if there will be any side effects from drinking tonic water daily . Will definitely have to find more information about it. I hate the thought of having to stop drinking it because it has helped me greatly.
These articles were an eye opener.

I have started to have foot and leg cramps in the past 2 weeks. I've never had them before. I would always have the thigh cramps. What causes these types of cramps? They hurt so bad.

I have had leg cramps for years, sometimes so bad that I wake up crying and a day or so later even have bruises. seems like I hardly get them now if I drink 1 or 2 tonic waters a week.

For years I had had severe leg cramps. I had to give up swimming, because every time I stretched my right leg it became cramped. When it was cramped my calf muscle was flattened against the bone that put me out of bed crawling on the floor praying for it to go away. About two weeks ago while browsing the net for treatment, I found Hyland's Leg Cramps. I started taking 4 pills every day, 2 in the morning before going to work, and 2 before bedtime. 95% of my leg cramps are gone. Thank you Hyland's and I hope they will work for you.

I have had Severe Cramps in my Calfs, Thighs and Feet. When I get the Foot Cramps, My Big Toe stands straight up. I try this without the Cramps and I can't force my Big Toe to go straight up.
My Question is if I drink Tonic Water Before Bedtime Each Night, Will this cause other Problems?

Have been diagnosed with "spinal stenosis" and have been having a lot of problems with leg cramps and was wondering if they are related?

A few weeks ago I had terrible leg (calf and thigh) cramps in the middle of the night-called the dr about it, he ran some lab work which was fine and subsequently told me to try tonic water--I thought he had lost his mind! Glad to find the info about it here! :)

I was just looking up stuff on tonic water and came across this site. I had a co-worker tell me to try tonic water for my restless leg. and I have only been drinking it for 3 days and in those 3 days I have notice a different in my legs, but i am getting a rash on my arms. Will this clear up or do i need to stop drinking the tonic water?


My leg cramps take my breath and I have started drinking tonic water. WOW. I am not having any cramps now. I have only been drinking it two days .I would really like to know how much you should drink a day.

I was having problems with my knees cramping at night and a friend recommended tonic water with quinine. I've tried it two nights now and had trouble going to sleep. Is that a side effect?

I have used quinin 325 mg capsules off and on for years, I'm 75 and still kicking.

I am now 80 years old and for
50 I took a quinine pill every night and had no cramps; now I can't get them so I drink 8 oz.of tonic water with quinine each night and no cramps;vis that too much or too less? What would be too much? Thank you for an answer.

I have been having leg cramps & had a scrip from the Dr for Qunine pills, but with the new prescription plan they wouldn't pay for them anymore & my Dr (a Dr of internal meds), said for me to drink Tonic Water with quinine, & i haven't heard from him to stop. thank you jeri

I used to have severe leg cramps 2-3 times per night. Sometimes these were in my thighs but more often in calves or arches. I tried hydration, calcium and magnesium with no effect.

Finally I asked a pharmacist what OTC drugs were available. He told me that Dr.s used to prescribe quinine but they had taken them off the market as unsafe. I immediately purchased a supply of Tonic Water and began drinking 8-12 oz each evening at bedtime.

The leg cramps disappeared immediately. At one point I ran out of Tonic Water and was fine the first night but the cramps returned on the second night. I resumed the Tonic Water and have been cramp free for the last 2 months. When compared to the excruciating pain, lack of sleep and risk of a fall while trying to walk them out, I'll take my chances with a nightly beverage.

actually i have questions. since i stopped all alcohol consumption for the past 4 mos i have really enjoyed diet tonic water with fresh lime juice, club soda also, seltzer water. my concern is that i have about 3 half liters per week and wonder if there is any danger to this. all other eating habits are good and general health is good. unless i find out it is life threatening over time, well so is alcoholism! and if anyone can explain what the significance of phenyketonurics in beverages are, i would appreciate it.

My family drinks tonic water when we get the flu. I really helps me feel better. It is because of the quinine in the tonic water.

my husband is on cholesterol and sugar pills plus other pills, but they gave him muscle cramps until my sister told him about drinking diet tonic water with quinine and my husband no longer wakes from a dead sleep to walk off miserable leg cramps. after reading this site i will also give my neighbor this til for burning feet and the ice cube idea--what a simple solution to a miserable situation--ill let ya know how the ice and tonic water works for him! i am glad i found this site! thanks everyone for sharing

With regards to the topic I really have no experience with Quinine. However with the leg cramps many are dealing with I have found a method and recommended to several with no known bad side effects. I have yet to hear of anyone it was not effective with.
A brown paper sack with white Vinegar poured on it. Stand or place your bare feet on the soaked paper bag. The results are frequently within seconds and it has been a remedy that worked no matter when or why the cramps occurred. There is no source to quote on the technique and as far as I know it is just a home remedy passed down and by word of mouth. I hope you may benefit from this suggestion.

I started using tonic water/quinine, After having back surgery in 1996 I was told to use about 1/3 cup daily for leg and foot cramps. I have been using it ever since. I heard that this is what might have damaged my kidney. My right kidney has shrunk and only works about 5%. Do you have any information on this?

I just changed over to evista from actinol which is used for osteperosis. Evista did cause these terrible leg cramps and hot water seemed to help but someone mentioned leg cramp pills which is quinine. It helped a bit so rather than take the pills I took quinine water every day which really did help. I am in A Fib and went to see my Cardiologist and it was suggested I tell him about the quinine water and when I did he was stunned and I was to stop immediately as it was a choice, cramps or death. I never knew that quinine water was lethal but in my case being on coumadin it was not a wise choice on my part to use it without asking my Cardiologist first.
This is wonderful site and I appreciate hearing the different situations. I hope my experience can help others.

Is tonic water hard on the kidneys?


My dad, who is 65, has been having problems with his legs and unexplainable itch for the last couple of months. He feels like he's going crazy and he's taking me with him because I don't know what to do to help him. He has been to the doctor and prescribed Elavil for the RLS and has tried several meds for the itch but nothing is working. He was told by a friend to drink tonic water for the RLS. I'm afraid he will drink more than he should as he's the type of person who thinks if one dose will help two is better. Is it possible to drink too much? Should he just be drinking it before he goes to bed


Hi All,
I am a person with heart disease, have had 2 h/a and have over 8 stents. I have tons of other medical not "made up health issues". About 4 yrs ago I started getting muscle spasms, generally in my legs but also in abdomen, back, arms etc. The worse ones are in the legs. The spasm would go from foot to top of inner thigh and nothing released the pain. I power walked my house, held a pack of frozen vegetables to the areas, drank water, sat on floor pulling back on toes (stretching), nothing worked.

Had to go to ER more than once. Dr. gave me quinine sulfate, worked wonders. They took that off the market. Now I take gualaquin 324 mg every night. It works great. Over the past 2 years or so, I started having an irregular heartbeat. My heart would skip beats & go into a lull, then beat rapidly for a while. It felt like a trip hammer sounds. I've had to have at least 7 procedures on my heart done. Now I wonder how much was due to taking this meds?

I called pharmacy today and he told me that I should never have been given quinine at all as people have died from the damage it does to the heart. Now I'll have to find something that will work in getting rid of the spasms. I'll check back often and will post only facts that I get from doc's. Good Luck!! btw I'm in my 40's, health issues hit early on. Take Care. Brenda

WOW-SO MUCH...I have dealt with leg cramps, heel pain, arch lifters and leg pains to the point of screaming. I have been placed on diets, mineral and vitamins. Tried tonic, quinine, now qualaquin. been given vitamins til i was told I was too healthy. One dr decided vibration therapy would help, another warm water.

Massage was considered and finally used in the form of air -bags on the legs which left me screaming. Potassium and then water pills and anti-inflamatories and on and on. For a person who hates taking anything I found qualaquin 324 a life saver. now its gone unless I want to go out of the country to get it. after a month I'm back to sleeping little, yelling allot as i hit the floor to eliminate a cramp that has no logical reason to be there in the first place.

So if all this plus didn't do the job how do we replace a drug that does work because we can no longer get it decided by people who are not in the pain we are...

I had terrible leg cramps and inner thigh pain that woke me up in the middle of the night causing me to cry, scream,and several times I fainted. When I woke I was exhausted. My doctor told me to walk more. I did-it didn't stop. A few years later I moved down south and went to a doctor. He put me on a baby aspirin 1x daily for circulation problems.

I have not had any leg or inner thigh pain since.
I have been free of that devastating pain for 3 years now. Check with your doctor about your circulation. I have never used tonic water.

I had had leg cramps for 12 years and seceral times monthly. When I started drinking tonic water recommended by my doctor, for the first times, they had stopped for months.

I now have only the beginning of leg cramps once every two or thre months. Immedately, I drink the diet tonic water and the cramps are gone within minutes. For the past several months, using Hyland's pills for leg cramps are much better. Those that disolve under the tongue are at my bedside and I no longer have to get up, put on slippers and get to the kitchen. Also, \i continue to drink eight to ten glasses of water daily.

I have M.S. and severe muscle aches I also take medication for M.S. Would tonic water be safe for me?

I get leg cramps if I don't drink water with meals - soft drinks, even tea can bring them on - I use OTC Leg Cramp pills and they help but I wonder about taking them before I go to bed to prevent leg cramps - what would be the risk long term?

I play a lot of golf usually during Spring, Summer and early Fall. For many years my toes would start to curl the only solution was to stand up on my tippy toes for a few seconds and the cramp would go away. However during golf season when I perspire a lot the toe cramping is just the start of it next come the calve muscles then the groin. The pain is almost unbearable. A fellow golfer mentioned tonic water. That day I starting drinking it and the cramping has almost completely gone away.

I am 55 years old in good health, considered thin for my height (6') and so far I haven't experienced any side effects. I am drinking about 1 small bottle (8oz.) per day.

I got kneed right into my thigh during a basketball game, and now there's a cramp on my inner thigh (not the part that got hit). Does tonic water help in this case?? I've been told to use a hot patch, mix tonic water with Gatorade, and eat lots and lots of bananas because of the potassium it gives.

In lieu of tonic water try coconut water!!! It is the best stuff for leg cramps. It is hard to find; I have found it at Fresh Markets in Nashville, TN. 11 oz. is like eating 4 bananas of potassium. It is all natural. I use the zico brand, and it comes in different flavors too.


I worked at a pharmaceutical wholesaler during the time quinine was taken off the market. Here's the truth:

Quinine is just as safe as it's always been, nothing has changed.

What happened was, Quinine was never a brand medication that a pharmaceutical company had a patent on. It was sold pretty cheap as a generic. Well one of the pharmaceutical manufacturers saw an opportunity: they did trials with it and got the patent on it, so they'd be the only one allowed to manufacturer it, and they'd be able to charge a much higher price because it would now be considered a high priced brand medication, no longer a generic.

So all this stuff about safety risks...really the only thing that's changed is who makes it and how much they charge. It's still available as qualaquin but they got approval for treating malaria only.

I have been told by a vascular surgeon to drink tonic water 8oz before bedtime. I have been suffering from leg pain for 5 years and I'm only 44 now. The pain is constant, all the time, not more during exercise, not less during rest.

I am an office worker, so sitting at my desk is difficult when the symptoms are high. I have avoided Restless Leg Syndrome because of the descriptions of a "creepy-crawly" feeling whereas my feeling is not that, it's definitely painful. I have been to physical therapy and orthopedic doctors and saw a neurologist to investigate spine trouble with an MRI.

My family Doctor doesn't have any idea. The vascular surgeon just gave me a Rx for Requip, which is for RLS. My next appt with him is not until Oct.14th.

If too much tonic water is bad for kidneys, is there anything else to try? How soon after drinking does symptoms get better for most people? Like the January 8th response says, tonic water does not work for everybody. It may not be working for me. :-( (It tastes horrible anyway. I don't know how that British gentleman who did the commercials for Schwepps could stand it so much!)

My night time muscle cramping has been getting more severe over the years. I am only 40. There are nights my legs seize up every half hour and I spend the night pacing the floors, crying, and full of horrible anxiety. I have nights I wake up screaming with seizing inner thigh cramps that make me delirious and incoherent with pain.

I was not sleeping and was barely functioning in my daily life. Most doctor's did not give my complaints the attention I believe they deserved. They gave me medications that made me feel worse and did not work. I had gotten to the point I was depressed and suicidal. I finally got a Dr to prescribe Quinine Sulfate. I knew and know what the risks are. I take one right before bed and have gone an entire month now without cramping when I could not even go a night. I have not had any side effects and feel better than I have in a year. The doctor's who say the risks do not outweigh the benefits were not living in the waking hell I was in every day.

Had it continued I believe I would have put myself of my misery anyway. I am not going to stop taking it and even got my insurance to cover it, but I think I may try every other day and throw some tonic water in in between and see how I do. I am not afraid of the risks. The sleep is worth it.

Try swallowing a table spoon of mustard in the mornings when you get up.

I got a prescription for Qualaquin 325 mg. in September 2009. Those who think it's no longer available may want to check with their pharmacists.


In my case, the body and leg cramps stem from using way too much salt, even sea salt. I was very disappointed in the unavailability of quinine, I was taking it for years. I now take extra potassium and magnesium (orotate, there are many types) and the amino acid Taurine, which helps balance minerals in cells. Also, drink plenty of water, my cramps usually happen when I'm not drinking enough water. If any of you like to soak in a bathtub, sprinkle a few handfuls of epsom salts (magnesium) into the water, your skin will absorb the exact amount your body needs. This is also helpful for bone health, because calcium won't be absorbed well enough without magnesium, many times supplements will have them together for this reason.

I don't see why our government wants to keep quinine from people who need it. If you are sensitive to it, just don't use it. Don't deny the rest of who who really need it for severe and do I mean sever leg cramps. Tonic water is working pretty good for me. I try to drink a coffee cup full right before I go to bed. Most of the time it helps.

I'm a 55 year old diabetic, and have dealt with cramps ranging from just my toes to cramps clear up my legs, for the last 8 years. Here's what works for me: I use an electric blanket-my legs don't cramp near as much if my legs and feet are warm.

I make sure there's no undue pressure on my feet from tight blankets when sleeping on my back. I drink about 12 oz. Sugar Free Tonic Water with Quinine before bed. (Yes-they DO make it! You may have to look around for it;it's cheaper in the 2 Liter bottles, and tastes the same even when it's gone flat, plus you can gulp it down quicker.)

I eat a banana every night just before bed. I used to mix my tonic water 50/50 with diet 7-up, but I discovered the taste of tonic water isn't bad alone. I was glad to read that the smaller amount of Quinine in the tonic water is unlikely to cause any health problems unless a person's allergic or has other interrelated health issues.

I have been on Tamoxifen for about 8 1/2 wks now for breast cancer. About 4 wks ago, I developed severe leg cramps and could barely walk. Felt like Charlie horses. My oncologist told me this is a potential side effect of Tamoxifen and to take motrin and use hot packs as needed. Also, I have increased my calcium and have started taking glucosamine.

I am getting better but still limp and can't straighten my legs for a while after sitting. Some days are better than others. Today, my podiatrist told me about tonic water and some tablets called leg cramp formula - available at Wal-Mart. I think I should ask my oncologist before taking any additions things. Have any of you readers had this with Tamoxifen? I'll take it for 5 years, so I've got to find something that helps keep me going. Thanks for any info you might share.

I am 62yoa. Been diagnosed as diabetic and hypertension. Also suffer from COPD.
I have been taking 100mg Pregabalin (Lyrica) for neuropathy. (The tingling / burning in both my feet.)

I also rub Bio-Freeze on them without success. Today I bought some tonic water to try. If it even offers a little relief I will be thankful.

I will return at a later time after trying this.

My husband had very bad leg cramps back in 1992. He was prescribed quinine pills which worked but we wanted a safer option.

Calcium with Magnesium resolved his cramping. I don't remember the dosage but you can get a good Calcium/Magnesium blend and take the recommended dosage.

I have had inner thigh cramps, but tonic water seems to help. Also, my decongestant (Sta-Hist) has a belladonna alkaloid that works wonders. I ran out last week and the leg cramps came back with a vengeance, also bladder and colon spasms.

I don't think either the tiny dose of quinine or the belladonna (scopolamine) will do anything harmful and wish those idiots who raised such a stink about scopolamine would mind their own business. After they stopped making Hista-Vent it took my pharmacist and my internist a while to locate the Sta-Hist. I'm not totally settled down yet, and this relapse was miserable.

Just wondering how the leg cramps are going? I just started getting cramps in my upper inner legs also.... sort of between the hamstring and front of the upper leg (but closer to the hamstring).

I haven't read anything about this yet on excruciating nighttime calf cramp, but other than tonic water which out of interest I've just started testing, I've personally found that very gently stretching both calf muscles for 2 or 3 minutes in the opposite direction, once in the morning and once in the evening, has helped quite a lot.

By gently stretching them in the opposite direction I mean where both feet are slowly bent upwards as far as possible towards the shins, rather than - don't try it ! - standing on tiptoe.

Hope this helps ?

What are the side effects of tonic water with quinine ?


I have many bad symptoms from Parkinson's disease, one of which is dystonia and leg cramps and feeling of skin "crawling" at night. Half a can of quinine water sure helped. Now I'm worried it may be dangerous.


I started suffering from leg cramps after back surgery 15 years ago. I have tried all sorts of things and after surfing the web, read about tonic water. I started drinking about 12 oz. every night. It did not help right away, took several days before I noticed a change. I also talked to my doctor who did not get how bad this is. My leg cramps are not the typical "charlie horse" type.

I wish they were. These are so painful and they don't let up. They sometimes last for 20 minutes or longer. I break out in drenching sweat from the pain and have been close to passing out at times. I don't know how people with these cramps make it to a shower or bath. Once the cramp relaxes a bit, if I move even slightly, the muscle will instantly cramp again. The muscle that had the cramp will then be sore for days after.

Back to the tonic water - I was so excited that this seemed to be working. After about two weeks I started getting dizzy, usually when I stood up. Then I started to get shortness of breath with walking. My heart was not beating fast, it just felt like I could not get enough oxygen and my chest felt tight. I could only think that it was the tonic water, so I stopped drinking it and it took about 2-3 weeks for the symptoms to go away, which made me wonder if it was the tonic water.

So I started drinking it again, this time only 4 oz. at night. It helped with the cramps, even though I still had them, just not as severe and the cramp did not last as long. I had no symptoms until about 2 weeks later, started to get dizzy again and the same "heart attack" feeling in my chest when walking. I must be allergic to tonic water.

This site has been so helpful. I have stopped drinking it and now use the only thing that has helped at all, which is trying to stay calm, I try not to scream and try and take my mind to a "happy place" knowing that after a while the cramp will let up. I just have to ride through the cramp and try not to panic It seems to make it worse when I panic and start screaming. It totally sucks that nothing can be done about it, but my neurologist told me it is related to my back problem, the nerves in my spine send the wrong message to my brain and the muscle reacts to what my brain tells it to do.

So I think for those of us that can't drink tonic water, the relief might come from our brains. Let me know when you figure out how to master it!!

I have been drinking 8oz of tonic water every night before bed (at advice of my Dr) for about 3 weeks. My leg cramps are gone! My only concern is that now my taste-buds are highly sensitive to spiced food such as, fig bars, mustard, pepper and just about any strong flavor. Has anyone heard of this before?

Oh, to make the tonic water taste better, I add drink powder (propel, crystal light, etc.). Strawberry Kiwi is the best, ice tea flavor powders not so much.

These comments about quinine water, tonic and cramps seem further evidence that not everyone is the same and not everyone reacts the same to different agents. What is a blessing for one may do nothing for another and for yet another may make them sick and yet another, may be lethal.

Mass marketing, big Pharma and cohorts in the FDA and MD's should pay more attention.


I would like to know if anyone who suffers these leg and toe cramps also suffers from Fibromyalgia. We know Fibro is a muscle and nervous system disorder so perhaps there is a link. I suffer greatly from them and also have benign fasciculations in both calves. Please give me your thoughts. Sarah

I have been drinking gin and tonics for a couple of years now and have developed kidney problems. Get UTIs and cannot get rid of them. Also have abdominal and low back pain. I stopped the drinks for several days now and hardly have any pain. Maybe it is the quinine in the tonic water?

I experienced restless leg syndrome when falling asleep and also had trouble staying asleep, tossing and turning all night and waking up exhausted. It did not occur to me that having restless legs was waking me during the night, but after I started drinking Tonic Water not only did the pre-sleep restless leg problem stop but I am sleeping through the night. It would be interesting to know why quinine cures restless leg syndrome. I have read on other web sites that there isn't enough quinine in Tonic Water to have any effect.... but it looks as though there are a lot of us who feel differently!

I fractured my tibia and fibula in 17 places a few years ago after a simple fall on an icy road. For almost seven months, it looked like the result was going to be a non-union heal so I had to wear a cast for a very long time. Soon after the initial injury, I developed excruciating nightly calf cramps in the affected leg. Because of the cast, I couldn't alleviate them by stretching (I couldn't even jump out of the bed).

The Fracture Clinic doctors recommended drinking 6-8 ounces of tonic water that contained quinine every night before bed. The cramps stopped almost immediately. Without the tonic water, I would definitely have damaged the leg even more.

Two years later, I fractured a vertebra lifting heavy boxes. That's when they discovered I'd had osteoporosis all along.

Medicine: win some, lose some.

This doesn't help me one iota. I have advanced lyme disease. I have more than "muscle cramps'... every muscle in my entire body locks up in a massive 'charlie horse' for as long as an hour and a half! My oncologist wants me to have quinine but can't prescribe it! He said to drink mineral water with quinine but I can't find it ANYWHERE! I'm drinking tonic water with quinine but it has CORN SYRUP in it! I need to find a good SOURCE!

You need to look for Schweppes Tonic Water. This has quinine. Corn syrup is a sweetener. I'm at a loss to understand how it is used in a tart drink like tonic water.

Lyme Disease is no joke. For what it's worth, you have my sympathy and prayers.

I have enjoyed drinking diet quinine tonic water and sometimes I will drink up to 2 quarts in a day when i am particularly thirsty. I am an insulin dependent diabetic and I am 72 years old. I have some tenderness and pain on my left side, about waist level. Could this be from too much quinine water? thank you

I take 100mg tarceva for lung cancer...does quinine or Hyland's pills interact with tarceva? At over $120 a pill, I'd hate for the quinine to render the tarceva ineffective.


There is a fairly common condition called G6PD deficiency or favism. Quinine is absolutely contraindicated and can cause severe and even fatal hemolysis of red blood cells in large enough amounts.

If anyone in your family has this (common among Mediterranean and Middle Eastern backgrounds) be very cautious with tonic water.

A few weeks ago calf pain wake me from my sleep, a friend told me about diet schweppes tonic water, when my calf pain wake me up again (was looking for my GOD to heal the pain), went to kitchen drink tonic water, pain gone away so some nights before bed I drink about cup of diet tonic water. It does help, I did read a lot on this website, it's very helpful, I am not the only one suffers. Thanks to everyone information! Wishing all nice people best wishes. kl.

question, can tonic water with quinine raise liver level, normal is 0.2-1.0 my is 1.2h can the tonic cause this?

Tonic water has help me and my sister, I have spasms in my feet, my sister has them in her thighs and legs. The tonic water is the only thing that gives us relief. We take it twice a day.

I have experienced an occasional excruciatingly painful foot or calf cramp off and on for the past 30 years, usually in the middle of the night. It will awaken me from a deep restful sleep and I am out of bed and standing on the floor in pain in an instant. My wife had the same experience occasionally.

We used to keep a small vial of quinine powder handy. Just moisten the tip of one finger, stick it on the powder and into the mouth and, presto, the cramp is gone in 30 seconds or less. The all-knowing, all-seeing benevolent FDA banned quinine, leaving us with cramps again.

Being medically minded I knew that tonic water still contained minute amounts of quinine because the politically sensitive FDA won't risk a fight with millions of drunk gin and tonic drinkers who also vote. I purchased the cheapest fifty-cent (on sale) liter of tonic water I could find after checking the ingredients to make sure it contained quinine. The next time I jumped out of bed with a severe cramp I took a couple of swallows of tonic water and the cramp went away immediately. It takes less than a minute for ingested ingredients to enter the bloodstream.

I keep a bottle of tonic water next to my bed and can now sleep in peace. I need it only about once or twice a month. The liquor store owner told me that several local M.D.'s had advised their patients to use this method of accessing quinine for cramps. As long as it contains quinine the cheapest brand of tonic water should work.

Like anything else, if you don't overdo it the small amount of quinine in an occasional swig of tonic water shouldn't hurt you.

Tonic water is now available with artificial sweetener.

I have had sever leg cramps for years. A retired nurse told me about tonic water.I didn't care for the taste so I add a little grape juice. I feel like I am drinking a good glass of red wine. I am now hooked on it.

I have really bad cramps all over my body, so bad I would cry. They kept getting worse and coming more often one right after the other. Dr. told me to drink 4 to 6ozs of tonic water with quinine that is really helping the cramps, but I have been itching really bad and am wondering if its the quinine any one out there knows any thing about that?
Thank you, Marie


I had leg cramps all night almost every night, in my thighs and lower legs, I couldn't stretch without having one. However, I haven't had any leg cramps, since I started drinking 4 oz of tonic water before bed.


I have been having severe leg cramps for a while now and a family member told me about Quinine in tonic water so I have been drinking it twice a day, once in the morning and at night. It will be a week this coming Saturday (Oct.2, 2010).

I am still having the leg cramps and wonder if my drinking Budweiser Beer is counteracting any good the tonic water might be doing???

Also, how many ounces of tonic water a day is allowable ie recommended???

I have been having severe "mid" back spasms, only at night after about 4 hours of lying down, and my Dr. told me to drink tonic water with quinine. I do have two herniated discs in my lumbar spine and severe arthritis in both hips. I'm hoping the quinine is as helpful for back spasms as it seems to be for leg cramps. Good luck to all.

I use magnesium tablets 2x500mg in the morning and 2x500mg in the evening. This was prescribed by my Dr in the last couple of weeks. I also drink Tonic water in the afternoon. When I have to get up with cramp during the night I put a small amount of salt under my tongue and let it sit there for a few minutes then have a glass or 2 of water, that usually works after about 10 minutes. I find that keeping my legs and feet warm helps.

Is Tonic Water with Quinine safe to drink if you have high blood pressure?

Just how much quinine is in a 6 ounce glass of tonic water?


I've had bad leg cramps for 70 years. finally my Dr. told me to drink more water. I needed to hydrate my body. Damned if it don't work. That was sure simple. Just drink the appointed 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. I know it sounds too easy. Don't laugh, it works.

I, too, have suffered for many years with severe leg and toe cramps, mostly at night. My family physician told me to put my hands on the wall, extend the leg with the cramps straight out from the other leg and push that leg down hard so that it is very stiff and the heel is elevated. This has not helped at all, but perhaps it will help someone else.

But I did discover something myself that does help. I put both feet flat on the floor and do a few knee bends. You do not have to bend low-only a short way. The pain disappears almost immediately! As suggested by my endocrinologist just the other day, I have started to drink 8 oz. of diet tonic water before bedtime. Last night I had no cramps at all, so let's see if that lasts.

After reading the comments from the People's Pharmacy, however, I will be cautious and alert for any adverse side effects. I would use the knee-bend remedy in lieu of the tonic water, but I do not like having to jump out of bed in pain every night because of these cramps.

For leg cramps, sleeping with a pillow under my knees works for me.

I have been taking quinine sulfate capsules for many years (200 mg.) which I buy from Canada. My doctor gives me a prescription once a year with three refills. I am stopping this drug because it is causing severe itching at night, so I must be allergic to the drug. I will try tonic water for the leg cramps... hope it works.

I am glad to find this site as I have felt such a wimp for dreading these cramps! I don't feel so weak to hear that other people find them very painful too. I have had very intense pain in my thigh which was painful enough to make me sweat from head to toe.

I have found lately that mine seem to be related to dehydration. I have discovered that it helps to make myself relax, and I know you will all understand how much effort that takes. I try not to leap up when the spasm first grips my muscles, but to try to breathe evenly and gently move my leg, stopping instantly if it gets tighter and trying another direction. The spasms makes me think of lockjaw(!) so I try to be calm and quiet which of course takes quite a bit of will power.

I think having given birth a few times helps, as I use the Lamaze techniques I learnt 30 years ago, picturing the muscles and giving in to the pain, letting it wash over me, rather than tightening up and trying to fight it.When you are in such pain and pretty desperate you will try anything, so I tried these things and they help lesson the severity and length of the spasms.
I hope this may be of help to someone else.

Whole Foods store has tonic water without corn syrup. If you don't have a Whole Foods store near you, you can check with some other health food store in your area.

Try Q Tonic water found in liquor stores... it is more expensive but very low in carbs... I find it tastes better also even though it is still a little bitter... I drink 4 oz a day and it has helped my foot, leg and thigh cramps (excruciatingly painful)... all my blood levels are good so doctors can't figure out what is going on... it is worse when I work out even though I stretch. I had stopped the tonic water for a while but the cramps came back, so now I am back to my 4 oz a day.... my cramps get so bad that when I try to rub them out I can feel the muscles contracting under my hands (my husband has felt this too). When trying to stretch them, it often sets off the opposing muscle, then I can't do anything but yell for help. My daily dose works wonderfully. Good luck!!

I am 72 years of age and have PAD. I have 3 stents in one leg and an artificial artery in the other. I have had leg cramps for as long as I can remember. Before Quinine was discontinued, my doctor had prescribed tablet for me and they seemed to have worked very well. Now, when I get leg, feet, toes and hand cramps, I drink tonic water which seems to relieve the cramps right away. Hopefully, others will find this relief as I have and try a glass of tonic water when they have muscle cramps.

Thank God for Quinine water (tonic water). My horrific, EVERY single night leg cramps have totally disappeared. I drink ONE 8 oz. glass every afternoon. For those who don't care for the taste... try different brands. There is a huge difference in taste. I have had no side effects. And QUIT worrying everyone. Even an egg has had a bad rap.

I find that if I take an enteric coated aspirin every 6 hours and a SloMag at the same time (Time-released magnesium) it helps keep my toe cramps at bay. I am under medical treatment for an ulcerated toe, which is caused by poor circulation. I use 2 oz of tonic water in 2 oz of Gatorade when my cramps flare up and that helps.

Hi Jewel, I feel for you because I too suffer from leg cramps in my thighs, inner thighs and calves. Sometimes they are so bad I can't walk and they usually happen in the middle of the night. I end up on the floor rubbing and stretching it until it goes away.

And I know what they mean by "Screamers." I scream when it happens and cry cause it is so bad. When this first happened 5 or 6 years ago, my sisters suggested Gatorade only because my dad who was in his 70's then, had the same problem. It runs in the family. It helped immensely. Drink 8 ounces every day. You may have to acquire the taste for Gatorade. There are so many different flavors now and they are good. Plus, lots of walking and stretching.

I walked every night. In the winter, I purchased a walking CD by Leslie Sansone. This is low impact and great for the legs. This has helped me up until this month, March, 2011. They are starting up again. So, I spoke to my doctor about it and she suggested Tonic water with Quinine in it.

I tried it and couldn't stand the taste. I was reading an article in the Readers Digest regarding quinine. The article stated that if you can't stand the taste, mix in grape juice. I've been drinking it that way now. Also, I tried it with Crystal Light and it was good. Also, keep drinking Gatorade. That is my lunch drink every day. The tonic I drink at night. I'm trying to get it back in shape again. I can't handle these pains myself. Exercise helps a lot. I try to do it every day even if it's only 15 to 20 minutes, it helps. I too, would never wish these on my worse enemy. I have had them for years and they hurt. Good luck!

Tonic water:
I have 35yr husband that is a paraplegic with muscle spasms and I was wondering if this will help him?

My wife sleeps on a magnic mattress about three nights per week, and this helps to keep down the cramps, and for years if she gets a leg cramp at night when sleeping [mostly after about 3 am] I give her 1/2 of a tum, this at least releases the cramp very quickly, for her it seems to be a potassium shortage. She has tried tonic water, but it does not agree with her.

Did the tonic water help relieve your fibromyalgia pain? If so, how how much do you drink and how often. What does it do for your diabetes?

I haven't had leg cramps for a while. Tonight was an exception! I had a change in my normal diet. I ate pizza, bread sticks and drank carbonated soda. I am wondering if the carbonation had something to do with this cramping?! My ankles get very sore on the outer sides. It becomes very dangerous for me to stand up, at all. When I do manage to stand up the pain seems to increase.

I have no arch in my feet and sometimes that cramping has started with my toes. I can break the spasm with that by putting my fingers in between the toes that are drawing together. I am thinking the cramping is coming from poor circulation. I had no idea that Quinine helps cramping in the legs.... Garlic and Onions thins the blood, so I will start to drink the Schweppes Tonic Water with Quinine along with foods cooked with added garlic and onions! This pain always occurs in the wee morning hours around 3a usually!

How much can a person take? It has slowed down my cramps but I am worried about the amount that is safe to drink.


I had some severe leg cramps... also some abdominal and other body muscle cramps for a couple of years.. a year ago, my doctor suggested I drink TONIC WATER w/QUININE... I did and the cramps and pains lessened over time.. However, if you go several days or a week without taking the tonic water w/quinine, you may experience the cramps coming back.. Some people can't handle the taste of the tonic water by itself so I mix mine with a fruit juice (to taste)... I'm still drinking my tonic water (with quinine and juice mixture).. Good luck all.

I have been drinking Gin & Tonics for years & having 6 or 7 large glasses of the Gin/Tonic is better than going to medical doctors and costs a lot less than doctor co-pays!!


I've had severe calf cramps for years and found out I was having the side effects of Lipotor. Unfortunately, ALL statins (and grapefruit) do this to me.

They pretty much disappeared until the other night when I had one of the worst ever. I've been drinking tonic water and am afraid of the kidney issues (I'm diabetic). I ate a banana and drank 12 oz of water and it stopped.

Maybe bananas on a nightly basis would help?

Hi Dave,

I was diagnosed with osteoporosis in 2002, and had been taking Fosomax until January 2011, when I began taking Forteo (a synthetic parathyroid hormone that increases bone density) injections to reverse the osteoporosis (hopefully in two years). NONE of my doctors ever mentioned Forteo to me.

The only way I found out about it was during a phone conversation with a male friend, a D.O. (Osteopathic Doctor), who just happened to request a bone density test when his wife was getting one--come to find out, he had osteoporosis, she did not.

He took daily Forteo injections for 18 mos., after which time his bone density had returned to normal. One cannot take Fosomax during Forteo regimen, but must resume something similar once Forteo is stopped, to maintain the progress attained, since osteoporosis is a progressive disease.

My primary care doc became concerned about my long-term use of Fosomax due to the recent research showing increased risk of femoral fracture with long-term use of Fosomax. She consulted with an endocrinologist who suggested I stop the Forteo for a year, then resume again. I told her I was not comfortable with this treatment plan since osteoporosis is a progressive disease. When I asked her about Forteo, her immediate response was "no" because of the incidence of osteosarcoma [a type of bone cancer] in lab rats who were given extremely high doses of Forteo (and, by the way, these rats were not fully grown).

What I wanted to say to her is that my current risk for fracture is 8 times that of a person with normal bones, MUCH HIGHER than my chances of getting osteosarcoma. BTW, I was unable to find any documented evidence of humans getting diagnosed with osteosarcoma while taking Forteo.

Luckily she gave me her blessing to consult my own endocrinologist, who was following my thyroid issues. My endo doc wholeheartedly supported my taking Forteo, and she said it's the only medicine that actually builds bone mass. The Forteo must stay refrigerated and the daily injections are easy, given either by my husband or myself. I am blessed that my insurance covers the cost. It is recommended only in those with osteoporosis, not with osteopenia. One can only do the Forteo regimen once in a lifetime. I have noticed no side effects.

Keep in mind that the death rate related to complications from falls dramatically increases in people over age 65. I do not want to be at higher risk for broken bones and permanent disability if i don't have to be. My paternal grandmother had severe osteoporosis and was in unbearable pain in her 60s due to this devastating disease and to the fact that there was no treatment for it during her lifetime.

Be proactive and best of luck!

I am so sorry that you are so scared. I get them in my legs, and now in my thighs. They are extremely painful. It is actually a sleep disorder. My mom has been using tonic water with Quinine and it has worked for her. I just bought some diet Tonic Water with Quinine last week, and so far, so good. Sleeping great! I also have restless legs, which I have not had in a few weeks and sleep apnea, (I am not overweight). Maybe you could try a glass at night. I love the flavor. I hope you have a neighbor that you can check in with, so you are not scared. Good luck, and God Bless you!

May 13, 2011, I am suffering from severe muscle spasms in my left leg. They feel like I got a "short circuit spark" on the top of my foot just behind the toes, the ball of my foot, and in the instep area. This causes my leg to contract at the speed of light. Then these areas that sparked have a sharp burning pain, also when my leg contracted I have muscle cramps in the top of my big toe, that causes my toe to flex up, cramps in the outer ankle side of my foot that causes my foot to flex, cramps behind my knee that keeps my knee bent.

Additionally the muscles in my thigh and calf feel as though they are vibrating from the rapid jerk of the contraction and they are extremely painful (I can almost hear the boing, boing, boing.) These all last moments during which I can't move my leg. but they happen in quick succession both day and night. I don't know the cause of this yet, it just started 5 weeks ago.

I have discovered that putting cumin (a spice) on my food helps with removing a tight band across the top of my knee and behind the heel, and with the spasms by spacing them further apart, but it does not help the pain. then I discovered that putting turmeric on my food helped the pain immediately, but it only lasted 1/2 hour. Following that I discovered that using cinnamon helped the turmeric work longer, but the relief was on and off. (Cumin give food a Mediterranean flaver and works with stews and casseroles. Turmeric is expensive, a cheaper form is yellow mustard--Kroger, Frenches, etc. any would do, as long as it lists turmeric as one of the ingredients.

When the Doctor gave me flexerol for muscle relaxor, it made the cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon less reliable, but still helps. What I do, despite the odd taste is put 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp cinnamon in 12 oz water-based hot chocolate-2 packets, that I get at the 99 cent store, in the a.m. and p.m. I put as much mustard as I can stand, on two turkey dogs, no bread, every p.m. This helps me. Does not cure but helps with pain and spasms.

After reading some of the previous comments I started taking Magnesium also. I've only taken one does so far so I don't know if it will help.

I really like tonic water. I asked my doc about it. He said as long as I drink diet tonic water, go ahead. I probably drink three or four cups each day. Is this harmful? Sometimes I add 1/8 cup of fruit juice for a variation in flavor.


For the last 4 nights and even into the day yesterday, I've had a horrible aching from the outside of my thighs on down. I feel as I've saved a ton of money from not going to the doctor and checking on-line. I went and bought tonic water with quinine last night for under a dollar - diet.

I was surprised it tasted like pop. I had a glass before bed and it worked well. The only thing is this terrible headache I've had all day, which I now realize could be a side effect. I will stick with water for my choice of beverage as it always has been, but maybe just have an ounce or two of the tonic water before bed. I've learned a lot in just a couple days about all this. Funny how I thought I was going through some rare disorder or something. I hope everyone finds the right level of this drink has luck with it.

When I get a leg cramp I press the the space under my nose very hard... This seems to stop the leg cramp.... You can also bite your upper lip hard. That seems to work too.

LOL, that cracks me up, only because I am sometimes jolted out of bed w/ torturous leg cramps and find myself walking in circles. At least I know I'm not alone...

take magnesium pills. helped me a lot

I used to having cramps on my legs, calves, toes, infrequently but it would stop after standing and walking a little. But this morning, my right leg or calf was hurt like crucial pain for more than 20 minutes. Also the pain seemed climbing directly to my heart causing a very mild pain for a few minutes. Then I started feeling
nausea, and sweating profusely on my forehead. But these symptoms all lasted only a few minutes. Since it seemed targeted my heart, my husband called ambulance to a hospital.

After all kinds of tests, every result came out alright. I only feel weak now. But the doctor did not make may recommendations for my cramps. The Discharge paper only made some suggestions to take Tonic water with Quinine. I don't know how much water I should take, that's why I wanted to find some information from
you same suffers. Thank you for sharing your experiences re Cramps, it was not really pleasant.


Commenting again. 8 oz. glass of Tonic water with quinine in it is best taken after dinner or before bed time to relieve symptoms of leg cramps. It will help but not alleviate your cramps totally. Of all the brands out there I have found Shasta to be the most palatable. Hope this helps.

I drank tonic as recommended for leg and foot cramping. The only side effect
little bloating. The cramps went away and i am fine now. I had been weed whacking all day, and got a little dehydrated. My tummy is big anyway, it went down because I lost some weight, but I needed more waters throughout the day. I drank one 2 liter bottle of Tonic and the cramping subsided. I also took one tablespoon of caster oil for the bloating... which was relieved by a lot of peeing and farting.

Last night a few friends came over we were playing cards, all of a sudden I got a Cramp in my upper thigh I jumped up and walked around on the cold tile floor. The only thing I had was Gator Aid, Peanut butter always worked for me, and I think I am going to keep that and Tonic water close by, my leg still hurts, I don't wish leg cramps on anyone!

Phenylalanine is an amino acid found in foods. Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a rare genetic disorder that limits the ability to break down phenylalanine, causing mental retardation, seizures, and death. Babies are tested for it at birth (heal prick blood test). There is no cure or treatment. The disorder is managed by close monitoring of the phenylketonuric's diet.

Equal (aspartame) contains phenylalanine, so any diet food products that use aspartame as a sweetener will also contain the warning "Attention phenylketonurics: contains phenylalanine".

I do not have PKU but have benefited greatly from this warning on food products because aspartame triggers migraine headaches for me. I head the warnings and stay away from diet foods sweetened with aspartame!

Saw my GP last week and told him about the foot and leg cramps I've had for several years. He mentioned that he took about 4oz of tonic water before going to bed and it stopped his leg cramps. He's in his late 50's, I'm late 60's. Bought the tonic water and have not had leg or foot cramps since (except one time I forgot to take some but the cramp was mild and didn't last long). Firm believer in TONIC WATER - don't much like the high fructose corn syrup, but the end result is better sleep and no more leg cramps. I'm assuming that the quinine content is minimal as it is the last ingredient before 'natural flavors.

I have been drinking diet tonic water a few months now, i just love the taste,some days i drink a large bottle or more but now i don't feel very well, i have dreadful headaches, dissiness and feel like i have a major hangover, could this be related to drinking so much tonic water.
Feedback would be appreciated. thank you.

Suggest you stop the tonic completely. A blood test might be in order. Please discuss with your MD.

I have 2 forms of Lymphoma, which result in abnormally low platelets and abnormally low hemoglobin. I told my Hematologist/Oncologist of my night-time calf cramps. She advised that I keep myself hydrated, but to drink one glass of tonic water before bed, and eat dried apricots. Tonic water is an acquired taste, but now I like it. A British friend of mine said to try mixing with OJ, for taste.

I do not overdue it, but a glass during the day and one just before bed has reduced the number of times I am awakened with calf cramps. I have been doing what my Doctor advised for about a month, and I notice improvement.

For me, leaning against the wall, with my foot behind me, then lowering my heel to the floor, immediately stops the cramp but, at times, that has caused a cramp in the front of my calf. I feel tonic water helps. One just has to be alert to the side-effects.

Some of the burning and short circuiting feeling in the toes might be peripheral neuropathy. Supplementing with Inositol, a B vitamin has helped me regain some feeling as a result. Plenty of literature on it, too.

Supplementation with calcium, a small amount of potassium and L'Carnatine has helped the muscle spasms and cramps, along with an occasional glass of tonic water.

I've found that vitamin supplementation has helped mitigate lot of diabetic symptoms - along with Doctor prescribed medication, of course and lots of walking.

I ran out of my diuretic Trimaterene w/hydrochlorathiazide for about a month.... I put on abut 10 pounds of water weight and could feel it. After going back on the medication the last two nights excruciating leg and foot cramps. I went to a pharmacy and they couldn't advise me ANYTHING except having a blood test done. Over and over this pharmacist kept saying that (she looked about 20). I was leaving and she said...."quinine isn't OTC anymore, that used to help". So I started researching and found this message board. I just got some tonic water and am trying it. I cannot imagine living with these horrible cramps one more night. I shall report back. Thank you!


I have had leg cramps for 50+ years. Started drinking tonic water with quinine three weeks ago and cramps are gone. I am noticing some diarrhea now. Is this common???

I have severe leg cramps at night started drinking tonic water with quinine, magnesium and calcium and it seems better but I can't control my kidneys at night. Is it a symptom?

I have been suffering from bouts of foot and calf cramps for over 25 years. Same symptoms as many folks list above, i.e., it wakes me in the early morning, excruciating pain, can't stretch it out, fades after a long time but if I move the foot it comes right back, muscles in the calf and foot become hard as rock and unmovable. I've even pulled and torn muscle tissues from the cramping.

It seems to get worse with caffeine consumption (coffee, colas). Also seems to get worse from drinking the cheaper club sodas, which I used to try to wean myself off of cola.

My sure cure is heat on the cramp, and it works almost immediately, so if I can't make it to the sink/tub for a hot water soak, I use an electric heating pad by the bed.

I think I'll try a tonic water with quinine before bed to see if that helps. I believe the long-term solution is completely quitting caffeine, but I can't seem to stick to that.

I have been taking Quinine Sulphate tablets for the past 25 years and have had no reactions!


I have found that pickle juice from a dill pickle jar is effective to release the cramps.

I have used mustard, tried Quinine in Tonic Water, an abundance of other methods, but none of them are 100%. I have had no cramps for the last 3-4 months until just last night when I had cramping on 4 different occasions in 4 different places.

I have been on Quinine Bi-sulphate for the last 60 years and have had NO bad side effects. To live without them would be murder for me.
I am prescribed Q/ B every night. Sometime during the day I get shin-splints, which is cramp at the front of the leg. As I swallow my tablet it is effective in seconds.
I have checked with my GP and pharmacist and they know nothing about this. They both say if there were any danger they would have been notified immediately.


I was diagnosed in 2003 with small-fiber peripheral neuropathy and just last month I was diagnosed with autonomic neuropathy and hypoglycemia with a suspicion of rapid gastric emptying. Am having the GE Study done tomorrow at USF in Tampa. One of the delightful side effects of the neuropathies is severe leg cramping. I have been drinking diet tonic prophylactically for about a year. I have come across some literature that speaks of hypoglycemia being caused or exacerbated by tonic with quinine. Does this opinion have any merit?? My cramping is virtually non-existent with the tonic but the low blood sugar is very disabling at times. Please comment, and thank you in advance.


2nd attempt/ Hello Edwin, pls explain you used 325mg of QUALAQUIN VS 13-15 MG OF TONIC WATER/I am using tonic water &potass/magnesium & coconut water
plus tomatoes, bananas, ect/working for me/does it help you?Tks, Steve

When all else fails take a hot shower and the muscles will release (make sure the water hits the area in pain), Quinine pills were great took them for years now the only alternative is tonic water with quinine or hot showers.

Recently I was flying from Newark to Delhi and after about 5 hours into the flight I began feeling cramps in my finger as I had just stated to work on my lap top. Even after I stopped that the cramps would not go away. I asked the air hostess if she knew what might help, she suggested tonic water. Soon it want away. The same thing happened two moths later while flying from Delhi to Singapore. I am 70+ male in very good health otherwise.

I get severe cramps whenever I eat jelly-type sweets such as snakes, milk bottles etc after dinner. It doesn't make any difference if the packet of sweets is a top brand or generic. How many others are getting severe cramps because of the 'treat' they eat after dinner?

I started having leg cramps about a year ago. Someone told me about the tonic water w/quinine.... Wow... really works. Now... let's go back a little...When I was 70, about 3 years ago, I had a cold... it then hit the bronchial tubes.. Turned into Pneumonia... the doctor who was treating me did not give me the right medication and it turned into congestive heart failure...

I was hospitalized for 8 days and thought I was going to die. The heart specialist said I had no heart damage... but I did... a year later they installed a D-fib... What a pain!!!!! Then they discovered I was gluten intolerant. I also have CPOD. (DON'T GET OLD) My question is...Will the tonic water cause other problems... I have so many now... thanks for reading this.

I've been experiencing symptoms of possible RLS for a few years. Creepy crawling feelings that start in my legs and work their way up my torso, give me a feeling of ice water running through my chest, and even body twitches. My doctor tried Requip for me. Hated it! It made every cell of my body feel horrible. I take clonopin for anxiety and that helped a bit at first. She suggested iron and magnesium. It didn't do anything for me. Just yesterday she suggested tonic water. I said "Oh, you mean quinine? I thought that was only good for malaria". Cross your fingers for me because Most days when my symptoms wake me up out of a dead sleep (on the nights that I'm lucky enough to get some) I have been feeling worse and worse. I feel on some days like I'm going crazy! I'll stay in touch to tell if the tonic water helped.

Hi Chris W. : I had Leg Cramps for some time for a couple of years, bur very infrequently and very slightly. When I was feeling some discomfort on my leg, I simply jumped out of the bed, and the cramps would be gone. But about half a year ago, I had a real bad one. It wouldn't stop for more than half an hour, unable to stop it. Then I found out this page online, and tried Tonic water, and taking magnesium or a cup of milk before bedtime, as suggested by friends and relatives. It worked for a while, but continued.

One day, I don't know what kind of inspiration making me to try TO PUT A KNEE SUPPORT FOR EACH KNEE, at night, not in daytime. For the past several months, the cramps HAVE NOT SHOWED UP at all. Sometimes I did feel the coming of cramps, but it would stop and not come the whole way. So I don't feel any discomfort or pain. The KNEE SUPPORT can be obtained either in a pharmacy or a $0.99 store, they all work well with me.

Maybe you want to try this. Hope you feel better.

WOW lots of stories confused. Yet I have purchased the tonic water; but don't know after reading so much; yes drink it or don't. Tell me what I should do Thank you..

Hi Q Odza.... The best thing to do is try it... all you have to drink is about 4 oz later in the evening... see if it works... All the best

I say drink it! Eggs, coffee, tea, pop, sugar, butter, etc. Everything is supposed to be bad for you. Just drink the darn stuff. It really helps a lot for me with 7 to 8 oz. a day.

I don't have leg cramps but after reading the above article I have a question. If the lady drank a five ounce glass of tonic water and they said a drop could kill her she should have been dead many times over already. I think they really need a new story that makes sense.

cliff, RE: Muscle aches for a patient with MS and a NP(plus I teach nursing) DO NOT USE TONIC WATER!!!!! At the very least, it won't work and at the most it could make you very sick!!!! What is happening is the nerves are mis-firing and it is making the muscles hurt. There are muscle relaxers that your health care provider can prescribe that won't interact with your other meds and will not make your fatigue worse (fatigue is a big problem in MS, I know it is with me). I take Zanaflex for a muscle relaxer. PLEASE speak with your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Hi I have been suffering with leg cramps for a number of years- never knowing what to do about them. I have had every test I can think of - been to a vascular doctor who ruled out any of those types of problems. Finally my doctor recommend that I drink tonic water which I have been doing and it does work. I try to drink about 4 ounces a day and as long as I do I don't have leg cramps. The moment I stop they come back. Leg cramps are horrible and so painful. I wish there was some way to prevent them.

I get cramps in the hamstring area on occasion. I was reading a book on the anniversary of vinegar. It said vinegar mixed with calcium lactate was good for cramps. I had a doctors appointment last week and asked him about this. He is a very good, sharp doctor. He said this would work but tonic water would do the same thing and advised me to try it. I am a 76 year old male in pretty good health overall.

Bananas are the best thing for leg cramps. Cramps is usually a lack of Potassium. Try eating a banana every day and you will notice in days a big difference. I suffer from leg cramps but notice that when I eat bananas as a dietician recommended, they go away.

Very interesting comments re: tonic water/quinine...I was looking for "side effects"...I have been drinking at least 8 to.16 oz. a day....for leg cramps...just wondered if the "need" for sleep could be caused etc. Otherwise...I don't have leg cramps anymore, but do have "fascitis" (?) at nite on the pads of my heels...I am 80 yrs old...have COPD & CHF...but in good shape for an "older?" lady...Thanks, Lois T.

I just bought a 2 liter of tonic water with quinine today. Unfortunately, I can't stand the taste, so very bitter. I put in a flavored packet used for water, but it still was bitter.

I have had leg/foot cramps very bad the last year. I was on a medication for sleep, Temazepam, which seemed to also help the cramps, but now my insurance won't cover it. I am trying to get the Dr. to do a special authorization so I can go on it again. In the meantime I was trying pickle juice and that did seem to help the cramps, but I was not liking that taste every single day so that is why I bought tonic/quinine water. I don't like that.

Stepping on an ice cube seems worth a try, but I am more concerned about being woken up in the middle of the night with the cramps. I want something done so they don't even happen. Actually I read that a person will wake up and then they get the cramps, the cramps don't wake them up or maybe there is a twinge or something and the person wakes up. I know so many people who get these cramps. I also take supplemental magnesium, potassium, and other vitamins.

tonic water tastes better over ice with lime.

Amazing how drugs like Celebrex are allowed to stay on the market despite being known causes of death yet drugs that have some allergic reactions but are otherwise safe like Quinine are removed from the market. It just goes to show you the power of the pharmaceutical lobby. They don't make money off quinine, so who gives a turkey? But people with bad arthritis are willing to take the risk to get rid of the pain, so they just put a warning on it.

Why don't they put a warning on quinine? It was safe for the past 100 years, but now it's so dangerous they take it off the market entirely? You have people that drank gin & tonics for 50+ years with no issues and others that took prescription pills for the same amount of time and no issues, but NOW it's unsafe? Sorry, but that's a load of horse manure!

The FDA should stop sticking its nose in places where it doesn't belong. Give proper warnings with drugs that can have dangerous side effects, but don't leave people suffering horrible pains because they MIGHT have a bad reaction to it (yet all these new drugs on TV that 'cure' relatively non-life threatening conditions like depression have HORRIBLE potential side-effects that 100x worse than what they treat, but they aren't pulled from the market! No, a warning of blindness is sufficient for Viagra (heck, they don't even put it like that as it would be a little TOO truthful), but ban the evil quinine that is perfectly harmless to 99% of the world's population (and tastes pretty darn good in gin & tonics seeing as gin by itself is pretty darn unpalatable, yet gin & tonic water is refreshing and delicious and relatively low-carb if diet tonic water is used).

Magnum...Very welll said. Thank You.

Go to they will verify this: try putting a new bar of soap in bed with should stop your leg cramps. I have tried this and it seems to work most of the time....

I took Quinine tablets for years before the druggist was told not to sell them anymore. Why? They were an inexpensive cure all for leg cramps. Not sure if they did any good for other disorders but know the little pills worked wonders for those of us that had cramps.

I just started drinking Tonic water with Quinine today. It helped with the cramps (I usually get almost daily).

As to the person that was told not to drink any... I think this is a rare condition. Is there a test for this to see if Quinine in Tonic Water will harm you?

I took quinine for 15 years because of cramps.

Last June (2011) I had a mild heart attack at which time the cardiologist at the hospital removed the quinine. From what I understand the problem was a blocked artery because a stent was installed to clear the artery.. Cholesterol caused the blockage and to my "limited" knowledge it was not brought on by quinine.

My family doctor almost had a coronary himself when I said I wanted to go back on quinine. Friday last, I saw my neurologist and he gave me a prescription on which he stated that the patient (me) is aware of the quinine scare. He does not feel strongly against the drug. My cramps are like a heart attack in my leg as all of you know.

My neurologist suggested tonic water and I almost laughed in his face. I feel really bad about that now after having read all of what you people have said about it. I think I will wait on the quinine prescription and see how the tonic water works.

Many thanks to you all.

Here is a very weird remedy for foot & leg cramps if you get them in bed at night: put a bar of soap under your sheet down around your lower legs or feet. My mother told me about this--I thought she was crazy, but I tried it, and it really did cut down on the incidence of leg cramps, although it didn't eliminate them completely. I have no idea why this would work.

I am also experimenting with mineral water (Gerolsteiner's has the highest mineral content) and electrolyte water (available at Whole Foods markets). I have tried tonic water but I don't care for the flavor and sugar content.

First off I am NOT a doctor of any sorts just someone who has studied a lot of holistic and natural health/wellness nutrition and way of living. I am a firm believer but not 100% conventional meds of absolutely needed. I do not suffer from leg cramps either but I do know that organic coconut water is very hydrating naturally with a naturally high abundance of electrolytes. I drink them often on top of a good quality alkaline water in a bpa free bottle.

I seem to stay super hydrated when I do this daily. Now as far as pain I've seen a few people mention mustard and my guess as to why this works is because it contains turmeric which is very effective in treating pain and inflammation. So maybe there is an alternative than just eating mustard such as including the spice in soups or other dishes. I know it also comes in pill forms in health food stores as an alternative to Davila and such but may be cheaper to buy the spice itself.

I do however recommend studying up on it or anything you may want to try naturally because I have found out it can also have blood thinning effects so if you take blood thinners or other meds already maybe not a good option. I believe garlic and ginger are also very similar roots as far as their healing properties plus they help many other problems so worth looking into. Seems nowadays the meds they are mass producing and feeding everyone all have negative side effects so why not look into a more natural approach first!! Sorry for the long post just wanted to throw my opinion in there hope everyone finds a solution and feels better ASAP!! :)

Some people have an immune response to the quinine in tonic water. This can cause high fevers and mess with your blood coagulation (decrease blood platelets). However, this isn't the norm and not everyone is sensitive. Some people are more sensitive than others. Someone mentioned in earlier posts about a daily nose bleed... Yes it could be the cause.

All in all, however, tonic water just cannot be as bad for you as so many of the terrible things we have in our diet anyway (unless you have a sensitivity). Where I live, tonic water with quinine is still given in some nursing homes when the patients' cramps get unbearable. Please keep in mind the milligram of quinine in tonic water is very small. If you have your gin and tonic and enjoy it without reaction... Have at it. Your probably not one of the sensitives.

I've been on Arimidex for 3 1/2 years for breast cancer... and have been suffering from horrible leg/feet cramps since 2004, but much worse since October of 2009. Just yesterday 07-08-12 an elderly lady (94) at church told me about tonic w/quinine. I immediately went to Cub and got 2 bottles. Called druggist to see if it was okay with meds I need to take. She said she saw no problem. So, I consumed about 12 oz after 5 o'clock yesterday. I SLEPT until 4:00 without waking up with screaming leg/foot cramps, but than I did have 2 close to 6:00. Needless to say once you get the "charlie horses" it's hard to get to sleep again. I will call my cardiologist and put it past him since reports on this website speak of heart damage.

IT WILL BE A SUCH A RELIEF IF THIS TONIC W/QUININE WORKS. By the way, my physician said to drink Gatorade and eat bananas which didn't do nothing. I have kept track of liquid input which is 7 - 8 oz a day so that's not the problem. Am anxious for output of this tonic/w/quinine.

I have been suffering with the problem of leg cramps/charley horses ever since I started to take a statin for high cholesterol 5 years ago. After a blood test, my internist recommended additional magnesium to tame the pain. That helped for a year. Next I added co enzyme Q 10. That also stopped working after a while. Then a new internist told me to add Complex B vitamin as long as there was at least 50 mg of B-6 in it. Everything worked for a while and then didn’t!

Foot and leg cramps every half hour throughout the night. Sometimes the cramp was in two places in one leg, sometimes in two different legs at the same time. I became afraid to fall asleep. I often had a tingling sensation in my legs and feet when I lay down to sleep. This is not to be confused with Restless Leg Syndrome. My legs did not move or shake. At my wits end and not sleeping for too many nights, my internist told me his mother orders quinine sulfate with a prescription from Canada and it helps her. We also talked about tonic water. I was mistakenly under the impression that I would need to drink at least 8-12 oz before bed time. And then be up peeing all night! Really not restful, but at least not painful!

Until 2005 one could get Qualaquin, quinine sulphate, in the U.S. It is obtainable in Canada as quinine sulphate from legitimate company. Google quinine sulfate and you will learn that it comes in 200 and 300 mg tablets which cannot be scored to take a smaller dosage. If you crush it, you would need to take some of the grains with food.

People in Canada can buy quinine sulfate with a prescription. It is not expensive. Are they in any more danger from the product than people in the U.S.? It’s an interesting story about why the FDA took Qualaquin (quinine sulphate) off the market in the U.S. Politics and influence play a part through big pharma and what they get away with.

Beware that quinine sulfate can cause serious side effects for some people. Look at the list of contraindications on the Canadadrugs or mayo clinic website. If you have any of those conditions, talk to your doctor.

I have low red blood platelets- thrombocytopenia. And others may not know they have it. My condition was discovered through a routine blood test. I am watched and tested regularly. You know you are in trouble when you bruise easily and begin to bleed from the nose, eyes, etc.

Having read all of the posts about leg cramps, I noticed that few people addressed the cause. The research I have done on the web, including, reveals that taking a statin (pravastatin, lipitor, crestor, and all ofl them) for high cholesterol is one of the main culprits.

Certain water pills taken with blood pressure meds (thiazides and two others I don't remember) can also cause the terrible cramps/spasms. There is an interesting study done in Canada and released earlier this year. To read it, google:T he JAMA Network Archives of Internal Medicine Jan 23, 2012, Vol 172, No. 2 >

Most of us can't go off our statins because we risk heart disease-the build up of plaque which causes heart attack or stroke. With my doctor’s approval I went off my statin for one month to see if the leg/foot cramps would stop. After three days no problems. So I knew it was the statin causing the problem. My doctor asked me if I wanted to take a CT scan which is a heart count of the amount of plaque around my heart. The test is not paid for by insurance, and cost me $125-a cost I was comfortable paying to get peace of mind and knowledge about my count. I was in the 75Th percentile and could view my CT online and knew I must continue to take the statin or pay a higher price—death at an earlier age, like my mother and grandmother..

So my dilemma was what to do. Tonic water comes in 34 oz bottles normally and there are sugar free options. Not all food markets have it. I got the store brand at Redner’s for 99 cents a bottle. There is 87 mg of quinine in a bottle or about 18 mg in a 6 oz glass, which I started taking before bed time five nights ago. Miracle—no more cramps. Less than 6 oz and I get the cramps. Finally, a restful night’s sleep.

The 200 mg pill from Canada would probably cause me lots of problems because it is more than 10 times what I am currently taking. Unless I travel outside the U.S. in a country where tonic water is hard to find, I could obtain some of the pills in advance, crush them, keep the grains in a dry condition and use a few grains in food at night. Cruise ships have bars and bars carry tonic water. Third world countries might be a problem. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. For now I am sleeping better.

P.S. A faster way to stop the cramp is to use a large hot water bottle, the kind with the large screw on top. Drug stores still carry them. At first sign of the spasm as you jump out of bed, find the bathroom and the water bottle and fill it with very hot water. Apply the hot water bottle to where it hurts and try to relax in bed while the pain eases. Be careful to screw on the cap very tightly—or you will find you have wet the bed. The pain will ease and disappear within a few minutes to 8 minutes depending on how long it took to apply the hot water bottle. Easier than a hot shower. And a heating pad takes too long to heat up and one risks getting burned if you fall asleep with it on your skin.

Hope my story has helped you.

I sip Diet Canada Dry Tonic Water with Quinine every few hours, probably 12 ounces total per day, to keep the misery of Restless Leg Syndrome from starting up. Whenever I get too busy and forget to take the periodic 6 or 7 sips I immediately start to feel the beginnings of Restless Leg Syndrome. In about 10 minutes the Q-Water stops the RLS cold!

Not only do the cramps start in my left hip and get my legs needing to move, I begin to feel so agitated that I find I cannot concentrate on anything else. It may help to walk around vigorously for about 15 minutes, but I get much quicker relief from sipping a few ounces of the Q-Water.

One night recently, having neglected the regular sips for about six hours my legs became so uncontrollably restless that I fell out of bed during very disturbed sleep. I only suffered a bad bruise on my shoulder from falling against some furniture as I landed on the floor, but was distressed enough to buy a bed rail for security.

For me the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome may be related to Parkinson's Disease.

I have bad kidneys and my doc told me to drink tonic water to combat cramps from water medication. So if he said to drink it I would think it's ok. but check with your doctor to make sure.

This has been an excellent site for me, so thank you so much.

I am so grateful to see this information today. I have suffered for YEARS with leg cramps. Cramps started first in my feet then in my calfs, next in my shins and the sides of my legs. Recently, I had the worst cramp in my right inner thigh and my husband called an ambulance because I could not straighten out my leg and the pain started in my right arm (not nearly as severe) also. They gave me Lorazapam (generic for Ativan), as I had used some time ago, and sent me home. I am back to drinking tonic water (diet) again and try to only take a pill if the pain is just too stringent and the tonic water and water are not helping.

I am so tired of these cramps. I am afraid of using too many pills because of the side effects and addiction issues. The hot water is not as quickly effective as it used to be but it does help. I only wish we could find out WHY these horrific cramps come and not just treat the symptom. I get them both day and night. Needless to say, I am very tired.

Thank you so much everyone, especially, you Gail, for sharing so much helpful information. I have had these cramps for years and never knew how to tackle them.

As an update, I have increased my intake of organic coconut water and tried to reduce my intake of diet tonic water. My older brother had "Essential Thrombocythemia" and I was afraid of reducing blood platelets.

I also purchased a hot water bottle per someones suggestions on this site. So far, these "remedies" are working. I also take calcium and vitamins daily. Still feel slight aching pain in my inner thigh and underneath when I sit on stools for any length of time, but so far, so good.


On rare occasions, quinine can cause thrombocytopenia, a significant reduction in the number of platelets in the blood that may result in easy bleeding. Because of this problem - and doubts about the drug's effectiveness - the FDA stopped the over-the-counter sale of quinine in the mid-1990s, although you can still buy quinine tablets because of the loophole for dietary supplements. The very small amount of quinine in tonic water (about 15 milligrams per 8 ounces) is low enough not to pose a danger, but probably too low to offer any benefit.

This is so true. There are more drugs on the market now that have terrible side effects and nothing is done.

If they can not patent it... then get rid of it. There is no money to be made. So much progress in many areas but it seems we have gone backwards when it comes to prescription drugs.

I have suffered leg cramp for the last two years and lately I have been drinking a small glass of tonic water before bed time and I no longer have cramps but if I miss a dose the cramps return I suffer from severe unstable angina and so far no side effects hope this helps.

Does anyone know how to alleviate a heavy burning sensation in the soles of the feet?
I have peripheral neuropathy, and this tingling/burning happens when the temperature goes above 24Celcius/75Fahreneit and keeps me from sleeping at night. I usually only feel it when my feet are off the cold tiled floor, though walking in a hot climate will also bring it on.

High doses of calcium pantothenate (pantothenic acid) helped once but it doesn't work any more.

I'm 67 and also suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, though the burning feet pre-dates the RA.

Any suggestions?

I have been drinking two glasses of Schweppes Diet Indian tonic water for cramps for 2 months. I am getting less cramps, but am trying to lose weight. Will the drink make it harder for me to lose weight?

Would QTonic water be a better option for me? Thank you in anticipation.

I have CHF and am on a hefty regimen of diuretics. One of the drawbacks to diuretic use is gout...the other is severe cramping. I would get severe cramps across my ribcage, down my back and in my neck that would often put me on the floor. I have been prescribed potassium and slo-mag but they never seemed to help.

At bedtime I drink a glass of tonic water with lime and I have not experienced cramping in weeks. Just my personal observation. Tonic water contains sugar and for those of you using diet tonic water there has been no appreciable difference found in weight gain or loss using diet or regular.

I have had legs cramps occasionally for years but after I injured my back (herniated disk/pinched nerves) the cramps hits daily several time. Will Tonic Water with Quinine work? Also how much should I start out drinking and are there any side effects?

Quinine water DOES help tremendously for leg cramps. Take one 8 oz. glass a day preferably late afternoon or early evening. Shasta tastes the best (if you can find it) & it is also cheaper than Schwepps or Canadian club. I've been taking it for years with NO side effects. I add a tablespoon of Grenadine to add a little sweetness. It has eliminated my leg cramps by probably 90%. That's huge.

I have been taking magnesium tablets every night as the leg cramps is unbearable. It is like have a heart every morning. I am constantly on a diet and would diet tonic help or is there something new on the market that will help me.

I cannot find anything regarding the use of the quinine in tonic water and a skin reaction. What type of skin reaction? Where is the source of the information? Also, what is the name of the blood disorder that was mentioned as a possible reaction to quinine?

First, I want to say thank you to all who have shared about their excruciating leg spasms. I thought I was the only one, as no one I know can relate.

Two years ago, before I had knee replacement surgery, I went to a P.T. for therapy, as I was so worried about possible cramping post surgery. I honestly did not think I could survive the pain of the spasms in addition to the surgical pain.

The PT used an ultrasound machine on my thighs. She also used hot packs and used a tens machine. I had no problem with the spasms throughout the surgery or after, and have only had two bouts with spasms since then.

I had tried the tonic water with quinine, and think it helped to shorten the spasms, but it did not get rid of them. The physical therapy was a miracle for me.

I have been suffering with severe leg cramps and weak, painful muscles for over a year.

Two months ago, I decided to switch from drinking wine to drinking gin & tonic. After two weeks, I noticed a great improvement in my muscle pain, so I switched from drinking water during the day to slimline tonic water. Now, I never get the slightest cramp and my muscles have improved beyond belief. Plus, when I add a spot of gin in the evening, I have cut the calories by 90%.

Have the Dr check your potassium and electrolyte levels my potassium runs low and take medication. Certain meds you take will alter your levels too. I still struggle from time to time with these horrible thigh and calf cramps I hope this helps.

You are not alone jewel - I get these inner thigh spasms when getting up off couch. And you are right! They are excruciating. Mine bring me to tears. Nothing seems to stop it once it starts - I just hobble off to kitchen and hang onto counter with leg up and trying all sorts of positions until it passes. But it is truly a terrible pain that cannot cannot cannot be ignored. I talked to my doctor about it and the only thing she said was she thought it might be coming from my lower back problems. Not sure abt that. Strangely enough - my late sister had them so it perhaps runs in my family. These pains are worse than child birth as far as I'm concerned.


I suffer from severe excruciating calf and inner thigh spasms. The thigh pain is worse than child birth in my opinion because with that you had a breather in between - the thigh pain does not stop until its good and ready. I get the thigh spasm when getting up off couch and the calf at night. They are wearing me out at nite especially.

Drs can't help. I also am afraid of knee replacement due to this spasm issue. when they hit you cannot just lie there. I jump up out of bed nearing killing myself in process but at least the calf will ease up in short time. stretching does not help me. As for the thigh one - that is the killer and makes me cry and ask god for relief. If I have knee surgery - I don’t think the surgeon will care about the spasms afterwards. Not his arena! I need the knee replacement badly too. Good luck to you - you are not alone.

For cramps, high doses of magnesium can help, as well as monitoring electrolyte levels.

Tonic water has an immediate effect but watch out for those quinine tablets. I took them regularly for a while and ended up hallucinating.

I suspect side effects were the reasons they took them off the market. But the small amount in tonic water doesn't seem to do any harm and can relieve the night cramps.

People's Pharmacy response: Keep in mind, before taking "high doses" of magnesium that overdoing it will result in diarrhea.

I get cramps in my feet, legs, hands, chest, and back, so I started drinking tonic water, my question is how much tonic water should I drink per day to relieve these cramps?

I now take potassium tablets, one in water each evening and I drink a large amount of low calorie tonic. My muscle spasms, cramps etc have now gone completely.

I've had leg cramps for the last two or three years, on and off. When getting out of bed in the morning, or when stretching my legs or body before getting up. The pains were severe, even though I am not a whimper or screamer... I'd groan for almost half an hour. Sometimes I would walk to the bathroom, with the pain, simply running hot water through my hands. I could feel the pain going away slowly. This way, after 1/2 hour, the pain
would leave me. Now, I wear a pair of cotton short socks, and a pair of knee wrap going to bed to sleep. So far, I've not had scrimps for more than a few weeks. Another thing I do is DOING TAI-CHI for 15 minutes before going to bed. I don't know whether this helps , or in some way it helps, the cramps have stopped showing up.

When I did have the cramps, it would exhaust me so much that I felt fatigued whole day the following day. I do not try any kind of quinine, because I suffered from malaria as a child, and had taken quinine, I remember, so I don't want any more of that stuff in my body.

But thanks to all the above mentioned writers, I learned a lot from you, because I've never had these cramps before until probably a couple of years ago.

My husband's doctor recommended tonic water for his leg cramps, which can be quite severe at times leaving him bruised and tender for several days afterward. Picked some up from Walmart although I wasn't too happy with the HCF (our son has a potentially life threatening allergy to HCF - meaning no glucose IV for him, saline only). I was seeking info on tonic water and how/why it works. Now I have a concern and hope someone might have some answers. Quinine "sulfate" is the quinine referred to in most of the above posts; the tonic water I purchased listed the ingredient as quinine "hydrochloride." Is there a difference? If the tonic water works for my husband, then I would have considered trying it myself (I have fibromyalgia and take flexeril for night leg cramps but it just takes the edge off). However, I am allergic to sulfer and have to read meds carefully to be sure I'm not taking a sulfate - for example my doctor has told me that I cannot take the glucosamine/chondroitin supplements because of the sulfate. But can I drink tonic water with quinine "hydrochloride" and would the benefits be the same? Thanks for any help and thanks for all the posts provided on this site - they have been most informative and helpful.

500mg Magnesium does wonders for my screaming episodes of leg cramps-I keep Magnesium in my purse, car, and on the headboard of my bed. It is very fast acting to take care of all my cramps.

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