tomato juice

Tens of millions of people–from athletes to senior citizens–suffer from leg cramps. There are no FDA-approved medications for this common condition, but there are lots of home remedies. Tomato juice may be the healthiest!

Q. I read in your column about using yellow mustard for leg cramps. In the 1970s my mother suffered terribly from leg cramps. Her family doctor told her to take a small glass of tomato juice, add salt and drink it. This got rid of my mother’s leg cramps.

It works for me as well. Have any of your readers ever mentioned this use for tomato juice?

A. Several readers have reported success with low-sodium V8 juice to boost their potassium levels. One wrote:

“Several years ago, my mother was experiencing severe leg cramps. We tried to add juices for the potassium, and found V8 was one of the highest at that time. It worked and she used it faithfully several times a week.”

We are always amused and amazed at the variety of remedies people have used to overcome leg cramps. Ever since the FDA banned quinine, people who suffer from this problem have had to experiment with a variety of non-drug approaches. Here are just a few stories from visitors to this website:

“I have had charley horses for as long as I can remember–in my feet, thighs and calves. I did not get any relief until I began reading your article in my local newspaper. I tried drinking pickle juice, taking a teaspoon of yellow mustard as well as many other home remedies.

“It wasn’t until I placed a bar of soap under my fitted sheet that I received much needed, desired and welcomed relief from night leg cramps!

“I first placed a bar of Lever 2000 under my sheets, but the smell proved to be too strong, which bothered my allergies. I got no cramps, but I sneezed all night.

“Next, I placed a bar of unscented Dove under my sheet. The same bar has been there for months and I have NOT had a cramp in MONTHS!

“My cleaning lady thought I was nuts when she first discovered the soap under my sheet and since she doesn’t speak English I couldn’t explain to her why it was there. At first she would place it on my dresser, and I would put it back under my sheets. We went through this ritual for a few weeks until she finally understood that I WANTED the soap under my sheet!

“I just wanted to thank you for the suggestion and for helping me get many nights of wonderful sleep. I have a friend who was having the same problem with cramps and was drinking up to 6 bottles of tonic water per day. After she tried the soap remedy she is mostly cramp-free and is down to one bottle of tonic water occasionally. Thanks again for publishing this life-saving piece of information!”

Anyone who would like to try The People’s Pharmacy Bed Soap or Leg Soap may wish to click on this link. Our soap is much flatter and wider than regular bar soap and therefore less likely to disturb your legs at night. The bar of soap is clearly imprinted Bed Soap…just in case anyone wonders what it is doing in your bed. The leg soap is pre-cut into small chips that can easily fit in socks either at bedtime or while driving or flying in an airplane. It makes for convenience. Here is a link to Bed Soap and Leg Soap.

“I just want to thank you for your article awhile back about leg cramps and the use of mustard as a cure. I tend to experience them on my first night off from work (night worker).

“I know it could stem from possible overuse of my legs. Before I go to sleep, I usually eat a banana or two but it’s no guarantee that I will have a good night’s sleep.

“I have used the mustard remedy four times so far and each time the cramps went away within minutes. The last time was so bad, I must have screamed in my sleep. My wife ran upstairs to see if I was ok and saw I was having a very bad cramp in my left calf. She asked me if I wanted the mustard. Two teaspoons later, the cramp was gone within a minute. I finished my sleep with no problems although the next day my calf was a little sore from the cramp.

“I don’t remember what you said in the article about the active ingredient in mustard but whatever it is, I just want to thank you again for the info.”

If you would like to learn more about how to deal with leg cramps and restless leg syndrome (RLS) you may want to check out our Guide To Leg Pain. And don’t forget to consider The People’s Pharmacy Bed Soap! It would make a great stocking stuffer for someone you love!

All products in The People’s Pharmacy Store are on sale from Friday, November 27 through Monday, November 30. Take advantage of our Black Friday 20% discount by using the special code: BLKFRI20 when you check out! You will get a FREE tube of our Pomegranate Natural Lip Care with each shipped purchase. It’s our way of saying thank you for being a loyal People’s Pharmacy customer.

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  1. Janice

    I take a potassium supplement and it not only stops the leg cramps, it helps me lose water build up too.

  2. Sally

    If you have arthritis, tomato juice may cause joint pain. It is a nightshade along with potatoes, peppers and eggplant. This isn’t true for all arthritis sufferers only some with osteoarthritis and can be determined by eliminating nightshades for a week or two then adding them back to determine if pain returns. Usually a feeling of broken glass in your affected joint.

  3. Babs

    I would much prefer a glass of tomato juice to a teaspoon of mustard (which I loathe).

  4. Tom

    I had suffered severe inner thigh leg cramps for years until I read an veterinary article about cows being unable to get up due to calcium deficiency. I researched the subject and tried taking over-the-counter Calcium Magnesium tablets.

    I found that:
    #1. A chewed up CM tablet relieved any cramp within 60 seconds.
    #2. Taking a CM tablet once every couple of weeks prevented me from getting cramps !!! If I forget to take a CM tablet regularly the leg cramps return to remind me!

    Good luck to all cramp sufferers


  5. Ruth Cobb
    Elkins, West Virginia

    Mom was having horrible leg cramps so I went to get some orange juice figuring that she needed some potassium. I read the V8 label and it beat the orange. Within minutes she was feeling well. This was one of those up the inner thighs which hurt so bad.

    Now I use this remedy too whenever leg cramps. I also have diabetic neuropathy and it seems to lessen that pain.

    Thanks for the advice.

    • Ruth Cobb
      Elkins, West Virginia

      I have been using the mustard for a while now. It works in a very short time. I was having leg cramps, once up to 9 individual episodes. My mom had bad leg cramps even during the day. I went looked for some juice with a good level of potassium. I found V8 juice and it worked well and fast. That was her go-to remedy.

      Haven’t tried the pickle juice. Does it work if it’s bread and butter pickles? I really don’t like dill pickles

      \Thanks for your good column and advice. Hope you had a joyful Thanksgiving.

    Gosnells, Perth, W. AUSTRALIA

    I am a recent subscriber and have read the questions and answers to the leg cramps – but my biggest problem is 24/7 cramps in my hands. They are worse toward the fingertips. The pain is very bad, sometimes unbearable. Can you help me? Thanks.

  7. Carrie

    If you suffer from heartburn/acid reflux, it’s not a good idea to take mustard, tomato juice, turmeric, or pickle juice. Way too much acid. The soap idea works for me, and so does making sure I don’t use take too much calcium.

  8. Lisa

    I woke up in the night with a bad leg cramp, and remembering the mustard cure I hobbled to the kitchen and swallowed a spoonful. I love mustard on sandwiches, but eating a spoonful on an empty stomach in the middle of the night did not turn out well! The nausea made me forget about the cramp! I can usually keep them at bay with magnesium but will try some V8 or other potassium source.

  9. Rosie

    Can anybody explain how they prevent/stop Restless Leg Syndrome? This drives me crazy for hours a few nights per week!

  10. marsh

    I’ve found relief from nocturnal/recumbent leg cramps by mixing/drinking the following:
    1/2 cup of water
    1/2 cup of tomato juice
    1/2 cup of orange juice
    1 teaspoon of lemon juice

  11. maria

    Tonic Water and Cranberry juice is the best. I am not suffering not more from leg cramps,the best remedy. mix and drink and Voila you will feel better I don’t suffer from leg cramps not more.

    • Carrie

      I get severe heartburn just thinking about this one. Tomato and citrus juices are major triggers for acid reflux.

  12. E. G.

    We’re interested in knowing the amount of tomato juice, when to drink it and what time of day. Thanks for the information.

  13. Milly

    I have used mustard and Dove soap since I read information from the Reardons many years ago. Whenever my legs feel tired I take 1/4 teaspoon of mustard before going to bed. I have not felt any cramps anymore. Dove soap is also very effective, I keep a bar of dove soap in my night table just in case.

  14. JF

    Should we eat the mustard when we have the cramp or apply the mustard to the site of the cramp?

  15. MG

    I have used one small can of V8 Tomato juice for leg cramps with success for the past year; I drink it and have instant relief.

  16. PP

    My husband’s leg cramps disappeared almost completely once he started taking 99 mg of Potassium a day.

  17. Peggy L.

    Turmeric is in yellow mustard which probably is the helper for cramps. PL

  18. Thelma

    I have used a partially uses cake of Dove soap under my fitted sheet for several months for restless leg syndrome and after a couple of nights I haven’t had it since. I was losing quite a few sleepless nights until I tried this. Don’t know how it works but it sure does.

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