yellow mustard

Q. Years ago, I read in your column about using plain old yellow mustard for leg cramps. When I get cramps in the calves of my legs at night, they are so severe that I just about break my neck trying to get out of bed as quickly as possible. Standing up and walking around does help a bit, but the cramps still leave me in agony.

Once I swallow a tablespoon of French’s mustard, it generally helps me within a minute or so. My daughter suffers from occasional leg cramps as well and has also found relief by taking a spoonful of mustard. When I’m traveling, I make certain that I have a small bottle of mustard in the car with me.

A. We don’t know why mustard works so well against muscle cramps. It may be the turmeric included for its yellow color, or it could be the vinegar or the salt. However it works, many readers agree that this remedy has rescued them from excruciating leg cramps.

Here’s one story:

“Several doctors have run full metabolic panels on me but never found an electrolyte imbalance to explain my horrible leg cramps. One doctor prescribed potassium just in case, but it didn’t help. Another suggested calcium–also no help.

“I took quinine tablets for ten years until FDA banned its use for cramps, but it gave only partial relief. Luckily a friend had read about mustard the same month I stopped quinine, and the years since then have been wonderful.

“Muscle cramps have multiple causes. No one answer seems to work for everyone. But nothing has matched mustard for me. I even keep it in my car for long trips.”

Join Over 65,000 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. Jackson

    I have been getting bad leg cramps in both the front and back of my legs at the same time, almost every night for about a year. I can prevent them by taking two magnesium tablets per day, but this causes my nose to bleed. Two weeks ago I discovered if I eat a few cherries that I do not get any cramp, and also I have almost no back discomfort. A problem I have had for years. I have told a few friends who suffer from cramp at night, and they have had 100% success.

  2. Kirt

    My son plays tennis, once at a match he got leg cramps. Someone said give that boy some yellow mustard. He said it worked. I have leg cramps (very bad) and since tried this yellow mustard. It works !! about one minute. I just hobble to the frig and squirt it in my mouth a few times and they are gone.

  3. Ann

    I just had a bout of cramps in my ankles and feet. I remembered a friend had shared the mustard trick. Unfortunately, I have no yellow mustard, but I have a jalapeno stone ground mustard. I took 2 tsp and within a minute or so the cramping eased. I’m a believer!

  4. CJ - 43 year old female
    Vancouver, WA

    Well, just had another bout of excruciating deep muscle cramps from both feet all the way up both legs to both hips. I staggered out to the refrigerator and opened up the mustard bottle squeezing about 2 tablespoons directly into my mouth with a Gatorade chaser. Tasted absolutely horrible at first, but to my surprise within one minute the cramps were subsiding. It has now been 5 minutes and the cramps are completely gone! a coworker of mine told me about the mustard. I have not had any cramps all summer but now that the weather is changing they are back because of my advanced Osteoarthritis. I regularly take potassium, magnesium and drink Gatorade. For those of you who specifically have Osteoarthritis, please make sure that if you take calcium you must also increase magnesium to 2 tablets. Good luck! Go mustard!!

  5. Marilyn

    I have serious leg cramps at night especially after working in the yard and forgetting to take my water bottle. I’ve had them in both legs at the same time and that’s a “killer”. My sister introduced me to yellow mustard as a cure and now, I won’t go to bed without having it near by. My husband knows where to find it while I’m trying to walk off the cramp. I swear by it as I’ve always gotten instant relief.
    I also keep Gatorade in the frig but the relief from it is not as quick as the mustard treatment. Thanks to my dear, sweet, blessed sister for sharing this tip.

  6. Adzoe

    For those with acid reflux, the most likely cause is, surprisingly, lack of stomach acid. Have a gastroanalysis done and give up antacids forever.

  7. james bethea

    I play intense basketball and from time to time suffer intense thigh, leg and toe cramps after playing. One packet or one teaspoon of mustard relieves the cramp…instantly! I have been using it for nine years now, and I recommend a dose to all my friends.

  8. Leslie H

    For the person that has stomach problems with yellow mustard, try honey mustard. I take a teaspoon of vinegar every night before I go to bed, which is a little rough on my stomach, but tummy feels better in about 10 minutes, and NO CRAMPS !!! Thank you for the info on mustard, I will try it tonight. Does any one have remedy for swollen knees and extreme pain in joints? Thank you and good luck to all.

  9. Suzanne B

    I used to get leg cramps several times a night. Sometimes my calf, sometimes my thigh sometimes both legs. My doctor could find nothing wrong and was really no help at all. A friend told me about mustard. I took 2 tablespoons at night before I went to bed and no cramps! Now I take mustard every night before bed and have no problems.

  10. JK

    I suffer from horrible legs cramps that keep me awake at night. My feet muscles contract so bad I look like I am wearing stiletto high heels. I get up and try to walk but I can hardly make it three feet and I am so sore the next day. I have been trying to get off Prilosec, which I am finally off but my stomach is still acid and burns so every couple of days I have to take a Pepcid! So needless to say a teaspoon of mustard is very scary because of my stomach acid. Anyone, any suggestions. Is there any way to tone down mustard? I am beyond frustrated and doctors don’t seem to know why!

  11. Db

    I use mustard when I get leg cramps while cycling and it works like a charm!

  12. cb

    I am diabetic and have neuropathy very badly. I started to get muscle cramps in my ribs, arms, bac; yes, this was crazy. I read up & saw some one put a comment about taking mustard. I take a spoonful and no more cramps. This works!!

  13. M. P.

    I have been taking a teaspoon of mustard before I go to bed each night and it had been working now for two weeks. It is great not to have cramps.

  14. Andrew

    I tried loads of salt too. Himalayan, Peruvian, rock salts. I believe it worked as I do remember something relieving happening. Bananas/potassium didn’t seem to work as advised by sympathizers. Potassium pills and some sort of “New Age” pills for “Leg Cramps”.. to no avail. None the less, in the recent few days after years of cramps.. especially my rear right hamstring muscles.. add the left side too, add my left foot would ‘point’ into a cramp and being ‘unreachable, I had to get my foot out of bed and press my toes against the bedroom wall..
    I found cold legs ( Air Travel ) made my legs “complain” too. I kiss the feet of YELLOW MUSTARD Avatar!, pure and simple, I got two large bottles for $4. “French’s” brand. And, I am really astonished at the results!! With endless bows to the God of Mustard, many many thanks. Spreading the word too. I also think that White ground pepper calms me down!
    Anyone else feel that white pepper calms one down ?? I put white pepper on an evening meal and in the am onwards I find myself feeling calm ..Coincidence or fact ? I’m not sure. Just chuckin’ another penny into the thinking pot.

  15. N French

    lousy use of mustard. 3 T of mustard and now up for the 3rd time in less than an hour … not only not ‘instantly’ successful … it’s not even minimally successful. now have had a bannana and 20 oz of water and hoping for a little rest before the sun rises.

  16. A.W.

    I have had terrible leg, arm, hands and bodily cramps for many years. I used Quinine at first but gave up after a $100 prescription. I drank Schweppes diet Tonic Water for the quinine too, cheaper .. Now, I have the Affordable Obama Mustard Care at last !
    I am very impressed because believe you me I had some serious painful leg cramps.. I really wish that I knew about yellow-mustard many years ago, it would’ve saved me from a lot of suffering and etc. Many thanks to whoever discovered this. Former Karate team captain, and multiple-disciplines, multi-Black belt holder..aged 65.. Thankyou. A.W.

    • Ed

      Yes Yellow mustard works, I have told this to countless people also
      Dill pickles and or some juice. Both work fast.

  17. j. o.

    I get leg cramps at night if I eat too much sugary food. I am very sensitive to sugar – even juicing more than a small amount of fruit or too many carrots may cause leg cramps that night.
    Leg exercises before bed usually prevents cramps for me.
    Also, the sweet flavored coffee creamers can cause leg cramps when driving.
    I use the homeopathic leg cramp pills & they work for me within minutes. Sometimes I load up mineral supplements, vit D & Vit K & these also seem to help.
    I will try mustard.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.