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Yellow Mustard Eases Leg Cramps

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Q. We tried a treatment from your column for nighttime leg cramps. My husband used to get them frequently and would have to walk them off while in pain.

He read that taking mustard would alleviate them so he tried it. Now when he gets leg cramps at night, he takes his mustard and they go away quickly.

He keeps a few individual packets of mustard in the bedroom. He thought it was just an “old wives’ tale” but now he’s a believer.

A. We are delighted to learn that yellow mustard has helped relieve your husband’s leg cramps. A retired pharmacist told us about this remedy nearly six years ago:

“A friend of ours uses plain mustard for leg cramps. She swallows a teaspoonful of mustard to relieve the pain. This home remedy works so well for her that she carries packets of mustard wherever she goes.”

Since then we have heard from many folks who use yellow mustard to relieve leg cramps. Although there is no science, we suspect that turmeric, which gives mustard its yellow color, may have a beneficial effect.

For those who don’t like mustard in the middle of the night, our Guide to Leg Pain offers many other remedies. Many readers report success with low-sodium V-8 juice, magnesium or a bar of soap under the bottom sheet.
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People with leg and muscle cramps should have their potassium levels tested. Klor Kon [RX] has made a world of difference for me.

I have really bad leg cramps, and my husband had me take potassium. It works great--my leg cramps are gone in minutes.

I have had leg and foot cramps for 20 yrs. I have researched this subject on the web, and yes, I have tried magnesium, potassium, Vit. D, soap under sheet, anything that might bring me relief. I have been on Gabapentin for about six months, and the cramps are not as bad, but I still have them. Any suggestions?

I also read your article about mustard relieving foot pain. I have suffered with peripheral neuropathy for 10 years in my feet due to diabetes. Just recently I started experiencing pain in my ankles and lower legs. I take been taking Lyrica for a few years and it seemed to help up to now. After reading your article 3 weeks ago I started taking a tsp. of mustard 2-3 time daily and have quit taking my Lyrica. I have almost no pain since. Told my endocrinologist and he said if it works continue taking. There is nothing in mustard to harm me.


I had severe leg cramps that would begin in my thigh during the middle of the night for years. It felt like my thigh muscle was turning to stone, so painful I sometimes could not even put enough pressure to walk on it. I read about yellow mustard as a reliever in a "simple home remedy cures" book and thought it was worth a try. The first time I swallowed 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard, the cramps stop withing a minute and the muscle relaxed. Have used it every since and it has never failed to stop my cramping. WORTH A TRY for those who can get past the thought!

Folks with muscle cramps need to make sure they don't have a possibly dangerous condition called claudication, usually caused by poor circulation or nerve function. Both can be significant causes of cramping, particularly those that happen reproducibly while walking, or the night cramps.

I'm a doctor, but also am demonized by an occasional calf or hamstring cramp at night, typically after a very physical day and rehydrating with beer, unrelieved by stretching or deep massage. I've tried the mustard and can only testify that it works for me, every time so far, and it works before I can count to one hundred. Interestingly it's only the bright yellow mustard like French's that does it for me, Dijon does not. Tonic water (quinine) didn't do anything for me either for prevention.

I found the mustard cure while reviewing some Ayurvedic Medicine (Indian) treatments, where they use mostly herbs and such. A brief surf of the web shows that some athletes use it as a remedy routinely, as well as for preventing cramps. The same claims are made for pickle juice. The common ingredient is vinegar, (although the pickling spice might have some mustard seed in it).

A proposed reasoning for its effectiveness is the replenishment of acetlylcholine, a neurotransmitter, via the acetic acid in the vinegar. I haven't found any solid research on it yet, but admittedly haven't put a lot into it.

Why not just use the vinegar? I might try it some night. Can't taste much worse than nighttime dragon breath with a shot of straight mustard while hopping around the room. Mmmmm. But the darn stuff works for me and when the cramp happens I'm not much in the mood for trying new things. Especially when I have something that (Yuck) works.

Disclaimer: One needs to get checked by their doctor to make sure other causes of cramping aren't neglected, like the dehydration, electrolyte, circulation and nerve issues, before becoming too complacent with easy fixes, especially if the problem is recurrent, worsening, and/or accompanied by other symptoms.

I had read about yellow mustard easing leg cramps, boy they hurt so bad in the middle of the night). tried it and it is a miracle, relief almost instantly. keep plenty on hand, but also take potassium and magnesium, but obviously it needs help from time to time.

Well - add another believer to the list! I thought it was the weirdest thing I ever heard to eat mustard to cure leg cramps. But it worked within a few minutes. I am SOO happy and amazed.

Yellow Mustard for Arthritis Pain in my leg and hip: one teaspoon morning and one teaspoon at night works for me, six weeks no pain pills.

Sitting here snacking on Mustard..I really hope this works cause U don't sleep from the pain I suffer with cramps and constant pain in my leg..worth a try..thanks everyone for the input.

I believe you're referring to "essential tremor".
A test is that essential tremor shakes at a frequency of 9 shakes per second,(Parkinson's would be 3 shakes per second). Another test for essential tremor is that a bit of alcohol relieves it - try a glass of wine (but don't make it a habit.)
Caffeine makes essential tremor much worse, so wean yourself of all caffeine. It only takes 3 days (take Advil for the headache), and your symptoms will be much reduced.
Your doctor can also prescribe a beta blocker to reduce essential tremor - propranolol (Inderal)

Good luck.

My 17 year old daughter plays sports year round. Late one night she got out of bed crying in tears that both legs were cramping. I had no bananas at home. I remembered a parent telling me a couple years ago about yellow mustard, so I got a teaspoon of it and had her to take it while I massaged her legs. A couple of minutes later, the cramps were gone! The mustard remedy really worked!

Turmeric if it is the ingredient in yellow mustard that stops cramps is also used in a study at M. D. Anderson, the well respected cancer treatment center. I believe originally studies involving ovarian cancer using turmeric prior to chemo therapy began in South Dakota had substantial results. Since then I've read turmeric is effective in many cancer treatments.

Turmeric is not such a distinctive tasting spice that it overwhelms whatever food it is added to. However there is a synergism effect between black pepper and turmeric, with added black pepper turmeric is like 2000 times more effective. The mixture of olive oil, turmeric, and black pepper is most effective. The turmeric used in the studies is a finer ground form, however the lead investigator at M. D. Anderson says to use 1 teaspoon of the mixture twice daily of the form found in an Indian grocery store, those little glass spice containers at the local store are much more expensive.

Yellow mustard taken at the onset of leg cramps does work! For those of you who can't "stomach" the taste, try holding your nose before swallowing and you won't taste it till it has gone down your throat.

I have used Frenches Yellow Mustard for leg cramps for many years, this stuff really works. All non believers should just try it once and you'll never be without it. I also use it for cramps in my hands, this I acquired after my cancer treatment. This stuff really works.

My father often has leg cramps. Though I recommended a blood draw by his physician for vitamin/mineral levels etc., and do believe is is just good preventative and maintenance necessity; I also told him about the mustard use for relief. He tried that the next time he had a cramp and it worked instantly. He has a lot of elderly folks in FL using this same thing!
They all swear by it. In fact, they carry around little packets of mustard (like you find in a restaurant) and open a packet if needed! LOL.

I am a true believer in this mustard remedy. I have been training at the gym at a very intense pace lately, and around 1 am I woke up with a terrible inner thigh pain. The muscle cramped, and pulled so hard I couldn't move. I asked my wife to help, and she returned with a spoon and yellow mustard. Angry at the sight of this, I asked her if she was crazy. She insisted that I try it. I couldn't take the whole spoonful, but I licked a bit of mustard off the spoon, and within a minute, the cramp was gone. And it never came back. Trust me, it works!

What thought is there to get by?

I can't believe there are ppl who don't like the taste of mustard.

My dear friend told me about this as I suffer from restless legs at night. My legs also cramp, very severely, at times causing bruises even.
I have tried leg cramp meds, heat packs, hot baths, showers, heat rubs, massage, walking, stretches, etc and so forth.

I personally, do not like mustard, but my friend made me promise I would try it. So today, I went to the store and bought mustard. My legs have been extremely bad this week and it has affected my sleep greatly.

On getting back, I instantly took a tsp of the mustard (oh my yuck!) but it works! I swear on my life, the pain was gone. Whilst I do not like mustard at all, this works, and therefore for anyone suffering restless legs or cramps, I would highly recommend it.

I have been truly amazed!!! I have had bad leg cramps -- plus a twitching of my legs --just on the sides -- it wouldn't be every night but many times it has woken me up-- I've been told by 2 Dr.s to roll my foot on something round -- like I feel rolling my foot on something round at 3 am!!!!! I ran across this mustard thing -- and so far it really works!!! Thank you so much --- AGAIN THANK YOU!!!

It has worked for me as well, not only for leg cramps, but also for tics of the upper lip and eye; and... I love mustard, I eat it by spoonfuls at any time, I crave it.

I also thought this some 'old wives tale', but my husband encouraged me to try. I've always thought of mustard as an emetic, so wasn't so keen to try. However, severe pain gives way to try anything! I consider it like eating a hot dog - just without the hot dog! It does seem to help - thanks for all the confirmations. I still wasn't convinced it was the mustard. A sip of water takes away the 'burn'. I am also trying to improve my fitness level and increasing circulation. - just need to get past the cramps that come with this!!

What a relief, I am 78 and I am glad to finaly find a remedy for severe leg cramps. I have only used mustard for three davs but it does work so far.

I take Klor-Kon and the muscle cramps are still horrible---heard about the mustard and within a minute the cramp is subsiding. I can not put rhyme nor reason as to why the cramping onsets but it is almost nightly, you can be assured I will have mustard packs handy.

My father-in-law suffers with leg cramps - one leg is shorter due to an old war injury. He takes a teaspoon of mustard every evening with dinner, and swears by it. Lately if I have over-done the 'weekend warrior' physical activity, I wake up with leg cramps. Within seconds of taking a spoonful of mustard, the cramps go away, and I can return to sleep. I really was a doubter that anything could work that quickly or effectively, but it really does. I still want to know why!

I used to get leg cramps almost every night. My massage therapist told me about mustard. Instead of waiting until I get a cramp, I take it before bed. No more cramps! I am a believer!

I have ingested one, or two, packets of mustard when getting leg cramps for the past two tears. Immediate relief occurred within 30 seconds on every occasion. I wonder if it would be practical to ingest mustard every night prior to retiring as a preventive measure for bedtime leg cramps?

I suffer from severe cramps around the ankles and front of my calves and am always on the lookout for suggestions. I recently read about taking a teaspoon of yellow mustart for leg cramps. After maybe 1 minute, the cramps let up and another few seconds, they are completely gone.

Don't want to jinx this remedy but so far, it's worked miracles for me!

I suffer from calf cramps during marathon races and read about the mustard cure for cramps. After running for 2H30 my calf muscles were tensioning and sore and I was concerned about getting a cramp. I took approx one teaspoon of mustard and my muscles were relaxed and free from pain. I then ran for a another hour followed by another spoon of mustard sauce I've only tried it once so far and will be trying it out on my next long run over the week-end and hope that it works its magic again ! If there are runners who have also experience this I would like to hear about it. Many thanks

I suffer with cramps from my toes up to my thighs, if you have ever had cramps in the thighs you know there is no pain like it - I thank God for French's mustard and actually love the taste - therefore as a preventive measure I take a teaspoon every night before bed, no more cramps.

I just woke up from having leg cramps. I tried everything to get them to stop. But they wouldn't. This was my first time trying the yellow mustard. I sit here now with no cramps. So I guess the mustard does work! I think I will leave off the mayo from now on and add the mustard when I can.

I am another for whom taking mustard shortly before bedtime put a stop to nocturnal leg cramps. My doctor suggested taking it on a slice of bread or with a light snack (such as a crispy vegetable), which has made it palatable enough to continue faithfully. I imagine there are many factors which contribute to different types of cramps, and different remedies may be appropriate for some of them; but these nocturnal cramps of mine had not responded to anything else. I've had them since college, mainly when I resume getting full nights of sleep after a few days of less than normal.

Because of my blood pressure medication nowadays, I take prescription time-release potassium and am tested for electrolytes at every checkup, with excellent potassium numbers now... even began taking magnesium and calcium to boost my slightly low numbers of those two minerals. I also take CoQ-10, and do leg stretch exercises before bed. These things seem to reduce the risk of other cramps, but none has ever made a difference to my calves. Too little sleep for a while and BAM! Unlike other cramps, there is no walking these off, either. They are completely debilitating for several minutes, until the muscle reaches total exhaustion. And they used to happen several times a year.

I didn't really believe mustard would help. However, since starting the nightly routine several months ago, the calf cramps haven't returned once!

Hi I have been all of these stories, but my legs don"t cramp, they just ache. Every night I go to bed and just about the time I go to sleep my legs start aching, I mean so bad the only relief I get is to get up and walk. Needless to say I have spent many nights up all night because of this. Please please if anyone has same problem what can I do?

...How about for fibromyalgia... any testers?

My wife told me about the "mustard remedy" and quite frankly, I did not believe it. last weekend, after an extremely strenuous day, I had a severe cramp in my left thigh at around 4 AM. The muscle was cramping so hard and the pain was so severe that walking did nothing to relieve it. I remembered what she had said and decided to give it a try (anything, even mustard straight) would be better than the pain that I was experiencing. I took about a teaspoon and the cramp started relaxing almost immediately, in less than a minute the pain was gone and I was able to go back to sleep. I have no idea why it works, but it works quickly.

People of the UK. I am posting for a UK TV production company that are currently producing a brand new TV Health show which is going to be exploring the world of Home Remedies. We are really interested to hear from people that use Mustard to cure cramps or ANY OTHER home remedy that you are really passionate about. We would love to hear from you! Please email
Or call: 02074247627

OK here we go I have had severe muscle spasms and RLS for over 20 years I have been tested for low potassium and low magnesium I have been prescribed every muscle relaxer there is nothing worked was prescribed REQUIP or ROPINOROLE for RLS which does work but you have to increase dosage about every 6mnths when you get to 4mgs per night it becomes very hard on your stomach It is also habit forming. An elderly pharmacist told me to try yellow table mustard about 2mnths ago for spasms. It works instantly!!!!!!!!! just looked it up today and will try tonight for RLS and repost tomorrow hope it works wish me luck, bryan

I have restless legs. Horrible and I take 2 prescription meds for this. I also have venous insufficiency and May Thurner syndrome I was just told about taking mustard for restless legs but In reading this it looks like it's more for cramps. Can anybody help?

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