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.”

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  1. judy

    good idea

  2. Jimbo
    Chas., SC

    I sometimes (frequently lately) get these jumping feet, and the harder I try to prevent them from moving, the worse they get. Dr. termed it as restless leg syndrome. Got a prescription that doesn’t help much, but I trust his analysis and take them anyway. Several “friends” have commented that at 65 and older, we just have aches & pains. I just wouldn’t buy that. A few weeks ago, someone suggested I try the French’s mustard. Couldn’t sleep, so I went into the kitchen, took a tbsp., and before I could get back to bed (40 steps), the spasms had completely stopped. My wife went to the grocery & bought me a 2 lb. 9 oz. jar yesterday. No more jumping feet for me! And her sleep is no longer interrupted by me.

  3. John
    San Antonio Tx.

    JMJ I’ve been taking cholesterol medication for at least 15 years now. The last 2 years its been causing cramps all over my body. We’ve tried different Statins, cutting tabs. Still cramps. Stopped meds and cramps went away. Started them back up and cramps came back. Was using pickle juice. After a while it took more and more pickles juice to the point my ankles were swelling up etc. I was juicing my pickles.

    Just recently started using Mustard. Mustard in everything necessary. Its just a matter of how much do I need. Once the cramps stop altogether, I will start back on my Cholesterol pill. Probably half tab for a while then full. Hope Mustard works.

    • Terry Graedon

      You and your doctor might discuss some other way of lowering your cholesterol to use until or instead of going back on a statin.

  4. Daphne
    Little Rock, AR

    What started as bad leg cramps years ago, escilated and moved UP on my body. I get cramps underneath my breast (scary because it is so close to my heart), and have even had one in my neck. I had to hold my head with my hands; it felt like it was going to start spinning. :(

    I will try the mustard for sure, but I also have two things that are just as effective. 1) Apple Cider Vinegar (1 teaspoon in some water with stevia) and the cramp will be gone within a minute.

    This one is the real miracle!!! Milk of Magnesia (used under my arm in place of deodorant) will stop cramping! If you do have a cramp, grab some and put a thick coat on the bottoms of your feet and put on some socks….gone within a minute!

  5. Craig
    Woodvinille, WA

    Was on a 25 mile organized bide ride this weekend. Going up a long hill I got very bad cramps in my legs. Another rider stopped to help and gave me a packet of yellow mustard. I thought he was pulling a prank on me at first but he convinced me to try it. Within 1-2 minutes the cramps were gone. I’m convinced..

  6. Sandy D.
    Fort Myers, FL

    I have a rare disease and have horrible leg and feet cramps, my son told me about the mustard and I used it and the cramps stopped!! I was totally impressed!!!!! All I can say is THANK GOODNESS!!!!

    • Natasha
      Naples Fl.

      Sandy. What is the rare disease? I have baffled all the doctors about my leg and feet cramps. They don’t know what to search for anymore.
      Do you mind letting me know the disease you have? It may be a new direction for them to look in.
      I am In Naples Fl.
      Enjoy your night.
      Thank you.

      • Beverly

        I just saw this. I know it is almost 2 years after you posted this but just in case you’re still having a problem. I have several conditions that probably cause my horrible cramps. 1. is rheumatoid arthritis, which they would probably know if you had by now, but the other that no one seemed to know about as I have been very anemic for a very long time.

        I have even been hospitalized for low magnesium and potassium, but only recently did I go to a hematologist. He said even though I take lots of supplements of iron, it’s not enough and I must be infused on somewhat of a constant basis and it should stop my a fib and my cramps. I’m hoping. Hope this helps you.

  7. Conny

    For the past 4 nights I have been having leg twitching it’s really annoying so a friend told me earlier this evening to take a teaspoon of heaping mustard! Went to bed as,I started relaxing this stupid twitching started again mind you I’m running on less than 3 hrs of sleep every night! Just took the mustard it’s 1pm and guess what it’s gone I can’t even tell you how relieving this is ! Good night folks I’m definitely catching up on some lack of sleep!

  8. Gigi

    After numerous amounts of times with excruciating leg cramps that I just can’t get remedy, I read this and said “what the heck, I’ll try anything now”. I can’t believe how fast it worked. No kidding! I am so grateful. Yellow mustard remarkably works. This is Brilliant!

  9. D.G.
    Greensboro NC

    I use 2 Tbsp of French’s Yellow Mustard before bed each night and wash it down with Brita water and it works great! I love this site!

  10. Betty

    Just had horrible leg cramps. I just ate a spoonful now I can post this and go back to sleep. A friend told me about mustard for leg cramps years ago. Recently having them more and more. It works quickly.

  11. beverley s.

    I too have been having terrible leg muscle cramps for many years. I have stood outside the local supermarket crying and without shoes unable to drive my car and drinking copious bottles of salt water to make it stop. Sometimes it would last for a long painful time and then go away. I was crying one night when the cramps woke me up an decided to check You tube for any home remedy and came across people singing the praises of yellow mustard. I can tell you it REALLY works. I do not travel without the little packets in my purse and a bottle stays on the night stand next to my bed for a quick swallow when I am in trouble with cramping. thank you bloggers who share for saving me many pain full nights and days. It works almost immediately

    I just felt a cramp coming on and flew out of bed at 1.57am to take a swig of mustard and a couple mouth-fulls of water. I have spread the word to as many friends and strangers who are fellow sufferers. Dr. Oz also spoke of the miracle mustard cure for cramps while stating no one knows why but also stating that athletes are carrying the little packets in their pockets. Thank you mustard, you are wonderful. I’m heading back to bed. Good night all!

  12. Susie

    I was working on a patient who got a leg cramp, she asked for mustard or pickle juice which we did not have either. She told me it removes leg cramps immediately, so I tried it,….it worked!!!! its my best friend now.

    • Ida
      Kenly, NC

      Yes, indeed, mustard works fabulously for me. I recommend it to anyone who has leg cramps or thigh cramps. It works. Thank God for something natural that works well and fast.

  13. Linda

    We’ve all had occasional cramps in our calves over the years, but massaging them and walking around would soon stop them. A few years ago I started getting THE most agonizing cramps that would start in my inner thigh and go up to my groin and sometimes on the top of my lower leg…places that I’d never even heard of cramping. The pain was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. After a long day of sight seeing in NYC, we were relaxing in bed in the hotel. I felt the inner thigh cramp coming on and I panicked because I usually scream. The pain is so intense that I couldn’t get out of bed to try and walk it off. So, I grabbed a pillow and screamed into it. If anyone heard me scream, they might have thought I was being killed! LOL. As soon as I heard about the yellow mustard, it has worked like a charm. I keep a packet in my purse and car just in case.

    • gordon

      I get the inner thigh cramp now and again, the pain almost makes me pass out, I have fainted in the past because of the intense pain.
      Thanks for this tip, I have just been to our restaurant at work and taken some Mustard Sachets to have as a stand by.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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!!

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

    • Althea

      I have leg cramps and feet cramps to the point that when it ends it takes hours for the soreness to go away. My 13 year old son told me about how mustard helps football player’s with leg cramps so I tried it, in less then 1 minute the cramps were gone alone with the soreness. Thumbs up to mustard.

  20. 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.

    • Gilbert chip Salazar
      San Antonio Texas

      Thank you Jesus for mustard jus took two spoonfuls I feel like dancing the night away. Thank you Tia Liz for telling me about the mustard trick. I’m eating mustard with everything for now on ;-)

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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!

  24. Db

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

    • kevin
      harare zimbabwe

      how do you carry the mustard when cycling. i raced on Saturday and had terrible cramps in the last 7kms of a 100km race

  25. 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!!

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

    • Debbie

      Try taking about a half cup of tonic water before bed. I squirt in a little liquid water enhancer to make it taste better.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

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