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Cayenne to Combat Leg Cramps

Hot pepper extract banishes painful leg muscle cramps almost instantly.

Q. My husband and I swear by a product called cayenne, an herbal extract of Capsicum annuum. We both use it for leg cramps and it works in seconds.

I mix about 12 drops in a small amount of water and within seconds I can feel the cramps going away.

A. The compound that gives cayenne and other chili peppers their heat is capsaicin. Although we’ve heard of many uses for it, including topical rubs for muscle and joint pain, yours is the first report we recall of using cayenne (a source of capsaicin) orally against leg cramps.

Other Leg Cramp Remedies

Many readers swear by the benefits of a teaspoon of yellow mustard for quick relief of muscle cramps, while others prefer a sip of pickle juice or apple cider vinegar.

There is more information about these and other remedies in our Guide to Leg Pain, which also includes detailed instructions from a reader on how to stretch the calves to prevent charley horse cramps at night.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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