Q. I try to drink hot green tea because of its touted health benefits. I have recently realized that if I drink more than one cup I get what I can only describe as an annoying restless leg syndrome while I am awake. Have you ever heard of this or am I just assuming the two are related? If I only drink one cup in the morning, this does not occur.

A. We have to admit that you have us stumped. The American Sleep Association actually suggests drinking green tea as a way of alleviating restless legs.

Although green tea is lower in caffeine than coffee, it does contain 24 to 40 mg in 8 ounces. Perhaps when you drink more than one cup of green tea, the amount of caffeine you consume is triggering the jittery limb movement. Caffeine has been associated with restless legs.

You will find other natural approaches to controlling restless legs syndrome (usually more troublesome at night) in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

If you find these sorts of practical, affordable home remedies of interest, you may wish to subscribe to our *free* online newsletter. It offers questions and answers about drugs, home remedies, nutrition and non-drug approaches to healing; commentaries on the most pressing health issues of the day; special alerts on breaking health news as it happens and coverage of the top health headlines of the week.
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  1. MDP
    Reply

    I experience restless legs (if that’s what it is) while I am sitting watching TV. It will start about the same time every night… between 9:15 – 10PM for 7 to 10 days. I get relief if I get up and walk around. Sometimes, I just have to go to bed… and then it will stop. Weeks will go by without it happening.
    I use to get charlie horse calf cramps. The soap remedy put a stop to it. But recently, I’ve been getting bad cramps in the upper part of my thigh down to the knee. Trying to move makes it worse. It happens when I turn in bed. Any thoughts?

  2. AJW
    Reply

    I’d like to see more comments on this subject.

  3. Roxanne B.
    Reply

    I started drinking green tea after reading that 5 or 6 cups a day can help reduce the risk of breast cancer. I was concerned about the caffeine and called the manufacturer of a leading brand of green tea. The representative told me that decaffeinated (sp?) green tea was not nearly as effective in reducing breast cancer risk as they took out the good stuff in the decaffeinating (sp?) process. Now I’m not sure what to do. Any advice?

  4. George Robinson
    Reply

    A big spoonful of MUSTARD will help.

  5. MG
    Reply

    I cannot drink more than one cup of green tea. If I drink more than that, I wake up in the middle of the night with severe leg cramps. I can drink more than one cup of coffee and it does not have that affect on me.

  6. Virtualguy
    Reply

    I generally drink 5 or 6 cups of green tea daily, and have never experienced anything like restless leg syndrome. I just have to pee a lot!

  7. CRL
    Reply

    If it is the caffeine and not the green tea itself, that can be tested by simply trying decaffeinated green tea. If it doesn’t have the same problem as the regular, then the answer is the caffeine. If there is no difference, then there is something else in the green tea that is bothering this one person… maybe an allergy.
    I drink (in rotation) white tea, green tea and raspberry/hibiscus herb tea regularly all during the day. I used to have a problem with restless leg BEFORE switching to tea from coffee, using the teas with caffeine before noon and the herb tea afternoons.
    My doctor also recommended one 300 mg capsule of Horse Chestnut 2 hours before my evening meal since my restless leg was mostly at night. Horse Chestnut is a natural herbal capsule found in most health food stores. A friend who gets restless leg during the day also, takes one capsule between breakfast and lunch and a second one between lunch and dinner. It was my doctor who told me also to replace the coffee. I looked long and hard to find a doctor who would work with me on my aversion to chemicalized medications and help me find alternatives to try first.

  8. Linda
    Reply

    Don’t give up green tea till you’ve tried this. My Doctor recommended green tea a decade or so ago for it’s health benefits, and I love it.
    However, as the years went by, and I grew older, I too began to have restless legs. At first I chalked it up to old age. Then, when I began to have sluggish bowels and taking a low dose of magnesium, 250mg, which I had read that most people are deficient of, it eased the restless legs.
    Then the leg cramps began, hard leg cramps, as well as the restless legs. I found and was hesitant to try the soap remedy mentioned so often here on Peoples Pharmacy. It simply seemed to wacky to be possible.
    Finally, doubting that soap under the sheet would help, (how could I know for sure my feet and legs would be near?), I ordered the soap chips from Peoples Pharmacy. Instant End of Restless Leg Problem! I slide one, sometimes two into my socks and no more Restless Leg. Like a miracle to me.
    I also told a friend about the magnesium, they even older than I. Her husband had suffered from restless leg nightly for years and years. Just 250mg of magnesium took care of his, immediately too. He tried the magnesium first because, like me, he was hesitant to think just soap could help.
    Also, if I have not put the soap chip or chips in my socks, and my legs begin to jerk, within min of inserting them in my socks, the restless leg has stopped.
    Not everything works for everybody. But I will tell you this, it is worth the try. I wish I had not waited on either.

  9. Judy Z
    Reply

    I have found that Earl Gray tea definitely causes leg cramps at night.

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