rows of yellow mustard on a store shelf, muscle spasms

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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  1. Mary Beatson
    South Carolina

    I have leg cramps frequently and sometimes sitting on the toilet I will get the cramp in my leg and foot! I have to get up and walk it off, and it doesn’t happen quickly. Years ago I could just stand up on the side of the bed and they would go away but not today. My sister texted me a couple weeks ago and said her sister in-law said to tell me to take a teaspoon of mustard every night, and I would not have them. I googled and asked the question and found this to be a truth!! I will try starting today.

  2. Ljh

    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?

  3. bryan

    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

  4. Shereene

    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

  5. CT

    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.

  6. PT ?

    …How about for fibromyalgia… any testers?

  7. marjorie

    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?

  8. JHD

    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!

  9. MB

    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.

  10. Zee H.

    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.

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