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. Dawn
    Parkersburg wv.

    Well I suffer something terrible. These cramps are debilitating. They hit in both legs. To pull off my cpap jump out of bed so fast it makes me sweat and my heart pound. I’m yelling you the pain is so severe. I feel the need to urine ate but the spasms won’t allow me to set down. And jumping out of bed like that with the enter ear problem is no fun. And dangerous. I pray and pray that they just go away. Yellow mustard is my only relieve. I loose a whole lot of sleep over this. It’s awful. I know you all understand.

  2. Donald

    I had worked my left arm muscles doing some light sanding. Hours later I got a cramp that started in my left index finger and started traveling up my toward my shoulder and chest. I was lucky to find a single packet near by. As I worked to open the packet, the pain was increasing and moving into my left chest area.

    I have had carpal tunnel syndrome, which was just a pinched nerve between 4 and 5 vertebrae, and it was following the same path. I have also had anxiety attacks that turned into an actual heart attack. The first time was 18 hours long, and I didn’t know what it was at the time. Also had minor cramps in my arm at the time, but had attributed it to the carpal tunnel syndrome.

    I managed to get the mustard packet open using my teeth, and then squeezed it in, let it cross my tongue to taste it, and swallowed. As it passed into my esophagus, I felt it go to work right away, and before it got to my stomach the pain progression had stopped, reversed, and was gone, as well as the cramps, and all in less than 30 seconds upon yellow mustard intake, and any thought of immanent HA was gone as well. It is quicker than an aspirin if it is an on-coming HA, but take one anyway just to make sure, and then get to a doctor quickly. Don’t wait 18 hours like I did.

    The cardiologist said I have a really good heart, but I am sure I put on extra wear and tear on it, worse than exercise, and have reduced its, and my, longevity. It does work quickly and very well at eliminating my cramps, and in seconds out of a packet.

  3. Brenda
    Mt Solon Va

    I suffer with severe leg cramps I take a tablespoon of mustard within a few minutes the cramps are gone all the women in our family suffer from the same thing with leg cramps I was telling my 87-year-old mother about it last week she tried it she couldn’t believe how good it worked

  4. Allison B
    Lindsey ohio

    Just tried the mustard we will see if it helps.

  5. Brenda
    Mt Solon Va

    I suffer with severe leg cramps I take a tablespoon of mustard within a few minutes the cramps are gone all the women in our family suffer from the same thing with leg cramps I was telling my 87-year-old mother about it last week she tried it she couldn’t believe how good it worked

  6. Hugo
    Syracuse ny

    I woke up from my sleep with excruciating leg pains and cramps. It was terrible. I’ve had them before. I looked up on the Internet for a home remedy. They said to wear a nice warm pair of socks, which helps, but I still had leg cramp pains.

    Yellow mustard was suggested, so I went to the refrigerator and poured out a teaspoonful of mustard, and in less than five minutes my leg cramps disappeared. This is amazing stuff. Thank God for home remedies and the internet.

    Let’s keep it free and away from those who want to regulate this wonderful resource.

  7. bob
    New Jersey

    A friend told me about it. It really works. I was amazed. After a couple minutes, the cramps go away and I can go back to bed.

  8. Gayle

    I cannot remember where I first read about trying mustard for leg cramps. It definitely works within 2 to 3 minutes after eating a teaspoon or so. I told my primary physician about it, and she was amazed. I tell everyone that says they have a problem with leg cramps to try it, which usually is followed by a lot of laughter. I do take a diuretic for high blood pressure, which may be the cause of the cramps. I also keep small packets of mustard with me when I am traveling just in case.

  9. L

    I also use yellow mustard for leg cramps. My latest discovery is that a food serving high in CALCIUM (ice cream, milk) within a couple hours of bedtime BRINGS ON the nighttime leg CRAMPS!! However, including a high potassium food (banana, prunes) wth the calcium serving means no night leg cramps. I do take a daily diuretic to control blood pressure, but my potassium level is always right in middle of the normal orange.

  10. Ken
    Somers, CT

    It works, why I don’t know?

  11. Libby
    Burleson Tx

    I know this to be true! Have spread the news of mustard/cramps to all who listen!

  12. Rhonda
    Tulsa, Oklahoma

    My father found out about the “mustard trick” from a runner who said he keeps packets in his pockets while on runs in case a cramp hits him. My father used to eat bananas every day for potassium until they found out his levels were too high (after blood work) so he is now using the mustard. So far it is working for him and stops the cramps within a couple of minutes!

  13. Christian l.

    Good work, I am a big believer in leaving comments on blogs to help the blog writers know that theyve added something useful to the internet!

  14. sonya

    I used to use yellow mustard also, but now find that Turmeric pills also work for the cramps. You take them everyday, one or two.

    • sonya

      also drink a lot of water during the day. 8 or 9 glasses to keep you hydrated.

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