Q. I would like to tell you about a remedy for leg cramps or spasms. One evening we were playing cards with some friends, and suddenly my husband bent over with a severe leg cramp.
Our host went to the refrigerator, got the jar of pickles and poured 1/4 glass of pickle juice. He told my husband to drink it, and the leg cramps eased almost immediately. Have you ever heard of such a remedy?

A. We have heard from many other readers that pickle juice can ease leg cramps. Scientists at Brigham Young University recently tested this remedy on 10 college students. A mild electrical current was applied after exercise to induce a muscle cramp. The volunteers were given water or pickle juice. Water did nothing but pickle juice relieved the cramps about 40 percent faster (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, May, 2010). Pure vinegar may work just as well, if not better.

Join Over 52,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two free email newsletters with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies and a preview of our award-winning radio show. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. LA
    Reply

    Pickle juice works!!!!!!I have had severe, almost debilitating inner thigh cramps at night in bed and remembered reading about pickle juice on Face Book site, Husband got me some pickle juice and I drank about 1/4 cup and immediately, it seemed, they stopped!!!!!!!

  2. Sherryberry
    Reply

    When my legs & feet twist & cramp up during the night it happens like 6-7 times. So there’s no way I could sit in hot bath each time. I need something that will immediately relieve my cramps so I get a good night sleep. I’m checking into pickle juice sport drink that I can keep by my bedside because it does not need refrigeration after opening and has an extended shelf life of up to 2 years. I know with the cramps I get I will use up the product way before 2 years. I just won’t have to get up go to refrig to get relief during the night.

  3. Jan
    Reply

    I heard from friends that pickle juice works, but didn’t know if it was sweet or dill. My leg cramps go on nightly, several times a night and get me out of bed crying they hurt so badly. So, last night, I took a chance and poured about a quarter cup of dill pickle juice in a glass and drank it before I went to sleep. It was the first night I haven’t had a cramp in a couple of weeks. I’m going to have to buy some more pickles now, and I’ll never throw pickle juice away again!

  4. Jean
    Reply

    PICKLE JUICE! I occasionally lock up on my calves and upper leg. Last night I woke up to a new spasm for me. The lower front part of my leg just above and right of my ankle on my left foot/leg. This spasm actually raised my big toe straight up! I felt like my foot was curling up like an elves shoe. I tried relaxing and massaging, but nothing worked. I hobbled to my fridge and opened my pickle jar and drank a big swallow. The pain went away instantly. Pickle Juice works for me every time!

  5. Abigail
    Reply

    Tonic water which contains quinine has helped my foot and leg cramps in the past. So does the dill pickle juice. I’ve found that the pickle juice also helps intestinal spasms that bend me over with pain. Sometimes I can get relief from stretching, but the juice is much more effective. I have not tried straight vinegar, but will.

  6. L. Wade
    Reply

    At 70 y/o, I know that if I work hard in the hot sun for 3 or 4 hours, I’ll probably have serious cramps. 7/2/13 I worked for 9 hours in 90+ degree (peak afternoon temp), scraping, sanding, caulking and painting fascia at my house.
    Cramps later were pretty bad – in back muscles, feet, hands, and legs. I used all my usual remedies – hot mint tea, jacuzzi, and other heat applications. Took a walk, but the cramps returned as soon as I sat down, again.
    A lady on facebook finally told me to drink pickle juice. The cramps ceased after a tablespoonful, and after perhaps a fourth of a cup, I was able to go to bed and get a good night’s sleep.
    Had a moderate hamstring cramp as i was climbing out of bed, the next day, but a swallow of pickle juice stopped that in its tracks.
    I have NO IDEA how it works. But it does.

  7. Jami
    Reply

    I am so grateful for all the advice and stories you share! Had a 40 minute foot cramp today that would not let up! I’m going to academy to get the pickle juice packs you mentioned… Thankyou!

  8. DLW
    Reply

    I am diabetic and prone to severe muscle spasms, in my legs, feet, hands and even my abdomen. I have tried all sorts of remedies to try to alleviate and/or prevent these cramps, but never had much success until I heard about drinking pickle juice. And this REALLY does work! I will go from being totally unable to use my hands to typing away on the computer keyboard in an average of 90 seconds! And if I am wakened in the night with leg or foot cramps, I am back in bed and sound asleep within minutes, and cramp free all night! I don’t know why this works, but to be pain free is truly a miracle!

  9. milanm
    Reply

    I had muscle cramps in both thigh muscles during the night. My wife brought me some dill pickle juice. The muscle cramps were gone in less than a minute after drinking the juice. I’m a believer.

  10. T Struck
    Reply

    I had my second very painful esophageal spasm, drinking cold water would bring slight relief, then increasing pain. In desperation I went on this site and saw the pickle juice remedy. I took several swallows of dill pickle juice and it went away immediately.

  11. Jane
    Reply

    I cannot believe how fast this remedy worked. I had the most severe muscle cramp of my life last night — couldn’t straightened out my foot or calf of my leg and it cramp just kept getting worse by the second’ actually brought me to tears. My husband brought me a small amount of pickle juice and withing seconds, the spasm started subsiding. Thank goodness he is a reader. Today, all is well.

  12. nr
    Reply

    I am allergic to dairy products and stopped using them for about 8 years before I got pregnant. I was not good at remembering to take calcium supplements at all. I used to get terrible calf cramps when I was pregnant and near term. On the way to the delivery room, my calf cramps hurt more than my labor pains. The same thing happened within a minute of starting to nurse my son. A nurse mentioned it might be due to low calcium levels. I bought liquid calcium and when the cramp started I would take a dose of the liquid calcium and within a half minute the cramp would go away.
    Now, 20 years later, when I occasionally get the calf cramps again, it reminds me to take my calcium supplements. I always take calcium and magnesium together now in a 2:1 ratio. Calcium alone makes my heart arrhythmia act up and my heart starts racing. Also, there is a homeopathic leg cramp product from Hyland’s called leg cramp that really helps my mother get rid of her leg cramps. I used it successfully once (when I remembered to use it), too.

  13. Shirley Mae
    Reply

    When I get muscle cramps in my legs/feet I’ve found that mustard helps me more than pickle juice. I can’t stand the taste of yellow mustard so use about 3/4 tsp of the spicy brown and it usually relieves the cramp(s) within a minute.

  14. catherine r
    Reply

    For severe persistent spasms, whether leg or esophagus, the fastest acting remedy I’ve found is CALM, which is a rapid-acting Magnesium Citrate preparation, much cheaper on line than in organic food stores. It’s sour and not great-tasting but works in a half-minute. Shop around.

  15. CAB
    Reply

    Jean, the product “Pickle Juice Sport,” mentioned in the post just above yours, looked interesting so I tried it. And it worked! I too got cramps that twist my foot such that I cannot even step on it. Now I just keep a bottle of “Pickle Juice Sport” next to my bed. It helps immediately!

What Do You Think?

Share your thoughts with others, but be mindful of protecting your own and others' privacy. Not all comments will be posted. Advice from web visitors is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. In posting a comment, you agree to our commenting policy and website terms and conditions.