weird remedy

For years, we’ve been hearing from listeners who swallow a shotglass of pickle juice or a spoonful of yellow mustard to make a muscle cramp disappear. They often report relief within a few minutes. How could such a weird remedy work so quickly to alleviate muscle contraction?

Muscle Cramps Strike at Sea:

Neurobiologists Rod McKinnon (a Nobel Prize winner) and Bruce Bean were kayaking miles off Cape Cod when they were struck with muscle cramps. Neither of them was dehydrated or depleted of electrolytes. So why did cramps strike at such an inopportune time?

Once they got back to land, the pair started investigating the hypotheses of why muscle cramps happen and what can be done to reverse them. Dr. Bean explains on the show how they came up with an alternate hypothesis.

The Genesis of Hotshot:

Their exploration led them to test a remedy they came up with that they call Hotshot. It is now available to the general public at  and through Amazon.

After we hear from Bruce Bean, we’ll explore some other home remedies that are favorites of People’s Pharmacy listeners. We don’t have scientific explanations for most of them-yet. When will they be investigated? Do you have a favorite weird remedy you’d like to know more about?

We are interested in your stories and questions about strange remedies. When this show first aired, we took calls from listeners. This time around, you can listen and tell your story in the comment section below.

This Week’s Guest:

Bruce Palmer Bean, PhD, is the Robert Winthrop Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. They are posted the Monday following the broadcast. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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  1. RonR
    Seattle, WA

    I second the notion that these “teaser” articles are shamelessly meant to guide one to purchase something, while not being informative in the least.

    The invitation to read this article was included in today’s newsletter along with the advisory “it’s FREE.” Essentially, it’s free to READ the invitation to PURCHASE the information promised.

    I strongly caution People’s Pharmacy to keep their articles free of this kind of extortion. Otherwise, they’ll quickly lose this reader.

    • Elaine

      Amen to that!

  2. Barbara

    If you placed a bar of soap (whatever is cheaper, scented or non-scented because every few months you have to shave the soap, don’t know the reason behind it so you don’t want to use expensive soap) you would not have to pinch your lip, drink vinegar or eat mustard. I have suffered with leg cramps every night for years and when driving my toes on the right foot would cramp up. After seeing the comments on the soap between the sheets I decided to try it. Well, after five years I have been free of legs cramps and toe cramps except for when you need to shave the soap. Good luck

  3. TOM
    Strathroy,ont. canada

    I take a calcium magnesium tablet every one or two weeks and this stops me from experiencing horrific inner thigh cramping! I have used this solution for 30 years and it works.

    If i forget to take a uretablet the cramps start, usually at night, and a frantic trip to chew up a calcium magnesium tablet relieves the cramp within 2 or 3 minutes.

    The tablets are regular over the counter pills and quite inexpensive! A guaranteed cure!


  4. Betty R
    North Carolina

    Lately I’ve been struck with violent leg cramps to the point one leg won’t hold me up or work well. I am taking heavy doses of lasex for lower leg lymphedema and since that dehydrates me I also increase my potassium pill for that day at once and within 5 minutes the cramp is gone. Haven’t talked with my MD about this as it has just become a problem but I will. The cramps do not feel like normal leg cramps as they are so violent and last so long.

  5. Bill F
    Vero Beach, Fl

    There are always articles which string one along with great promises and hope, but simply end up with little or no useful content, then they provide how to buy something. If the author(s) do not have sufficient substance in their text, then I stop wasting my time.

  6. Mary Jane

    Re: the remedy proposed by these men–it would be nice to know about the remedy, rather than simply being offered the chance to purchase a product.

    • Lewise Busch
      North Carolina

      I second Mary Jane. This link was a bait and switch.

      • Nisar S

        The MP3 of the podcast is free to download, please go through the process. It is a $0 purchase, no credit card is needed either. I appreciate the wealth of information that is available on People’s Pharmacy.

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