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Ideas for muscle cramping

 
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Hey ya'll does anyone know of good herbs to use for cramping issues? Modern medicine kinda failed us on this one as all blood tests have come back as okay with electrolytes being in the good realm. We've done magnesium and potassium and sodium and re-mineralized water. I dont know if this is the right place to ask (if not let me know where to go). But does anyone have a tincture or herbal remedy that might help?
 
master pollinator
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Try an anti spasmodic herb. I suggest Passiflora incarnata.
 
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Try to keep yourself as hydrated as you can.  Force yourself to drink more water then what makes you satisfied.
 
gardener
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Anecdotally, when I played soccer all the coaches and trainers carried around yellow mustard packets, as in the little condiments that came with hotdogs from a convenient store. A sudden calf cramp got first treated by stretching to relax and a mustard packet. The two or three times I had it, it helped and other players said the same.

I know nothing about medicine or herbalism, or even why mustard worked (could have been placebo for all I know), just sharing what the trainers used to do, for what it's worth.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Oooops! Dosage of passiflora.

1 heaping tablespoon per cup of water 1-3 times a day


From  this book by Sharol Tilgnor.
 
Marae Davis
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I appreciate the responses and will try them out!
 
pollinator
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If your issue is muscle cramps, there are many possible causes beyond an electrolyte deficiency.
Eg, leg cramps can be caused by spinal problems.
You should get an evaluation by a traditional medicine doctor.
If the issue is muscle cramps, that was in certain circumstances in the old days treated by quinine,
However that is no longer recommended due to side effects.
 
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If you are talking about muscle (calf) cramps and not menstruation cramps, I can relate. In my case it came with menopause.

What does not really help is magnesium because I find it releases more electrolytes (by way of diarrhea the next morning). So I try to avoid it.
Also try to avoid alcohol. I find it worsens the cramping.

I find I get help from eating salty snacks and pickle brine, or in my case the brine of lacto-fermented food. Apparently it contains a good mix of electrolytes.

If you also get relief from herbal anti-cramp teas/infusions I am interested, maybe a combination of the two methods works best.
 
master pollinator
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I think you need to experiment -- blood work might tell you the normal range, but maybe your body needs a little extra of this or that. For me, a good dash of potassium salt makes all the difference. Another guy I know takes a calcium suppliment and it works.

Edit: I re-read the OP and it looks like you've tried potassium, though it's not clear regarding the form. I second the suggestion of monitoring and forcing hydration -- I'm one of those people who gets dehydrated easily but doesn't feel thirsty.
 
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I have read that massaging chamomile essential oil onto affected muscles helps.

Also, ginger, which stimulates circulation, is one of the most common herbs for leg cramps. Add ginger while cooking or making a tea from it.

I hope this information was of some value to you.

Something I learned from reading the forums is that magnesium bath flakes mixed 50/50 with water and put in a spray bottle works better than the chamomile or ginger for both muscle cramps and pain.
 
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Watching with interest.   I remember my aunt and grandmother suffering terribly from calf cramps, and now-post-menopausal I am starting to experience them as well, especially on first waking in the morning.   Or first stretching in the morning.   They sometimes even leave visible bruising and leave that muscle spot sore for days afterwards.   I'm not aware that anything traditionally suggested ever helped my older female relatives (and they are no longer around for me to ask detailed questions of).  

 
Anne Miller
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I saw a tv show that said that if a person takes a diuretic that potassium is something their doctor would tell them that they need to take.

My blood pressure medicine doesn't work unless a diuretic is included and none of the doctors have ever mentioned potassium.

After seeing that on TV I just recently started taking potassium.  I have always tried to get it from bananas and grapes though those are not always available to me.

The funny thing it seems that taking the potassium has helped with leg cramps.
 
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Your body will do whatever it can to keep blood electrolyte levels constant, including taking them from the tissues. So serum levels won't always tell the whole story.

I have had muscle cramping issues my whole life. I take 900 mg magnesium orally and it's not enough to stop all the cramping although it helps a lot. Only when I started using transdermal magnesium did the cramping stop. Your skin will absorb large amounts of magnesium and it doesn't interfere with the bowels. Our digestive tracts must have some limit on how much they can absorb in a day.

So many things can cause magnesium deficiency and a fairly significant percentage of people are deficient to some degree, mostly due to lifestyle (stress, diet, toxins, depleted soils, etc.).

My favorite antispasmodic herb is chamomile. It is also anti-inflammatory. The key for me is taking enough - a teabag or two won't do the job. I use about a cup of dried herb and make a big pot of tea. A couple of mugs of that and my muscles feel all relaxed.
 
gardener
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As has been mentioned, topical magnesium can help a ton. I've had some wicked calf cramps that were stopped in seconds by applying a magnesium salve I made. I could actually feel the knot in the muscle going away under my hand. You can make your own magnesium spray or salve very easily by just dissolving magnesium flakes into hot water, I believe it's a 1:1 ratio. I like oral magnesium too, though some kinds work better than others. Magnesium glycinate is what my DO recommended for me, as it is better absorbed and less likely to cause diarrhea the way some other forms do.

Cramp bark (Viburnum opulus) might be a good one to look at. As the name suggests, it can help with muscle cramps. I'd recommend tincture, as it isn't very pleasant tasting, at least to me. I've found it very effective for menstrual cramps particularly. Hops might be another good option to look at, so long as the mild estrogenic effect isn't a problem for you.

Massage and gentle movement practices can be immensely helpful too. Considering if there might be any movement patterns or habits you have that might be contributing in any way could be beneficial. I've been finding the Feldenkrais method very helpful for addressing pain and tension in my body. The movement is very gentle and slow and is meant to help you gain a greater connection with and understanding of your body so that you can move with greater ease and efficiency.
 
pollinator
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Low iron levels can also cause muscle cramps.  Seems like that's true with just about any of the vital minerals, like others have mentioned magnesium and potassium.

Maybe try boosting each of the minerals mentioned (within normal, safe levels) and see what works for you.
 
Marae Davis
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I really appreciate the responses. My husband is the one that cramps. Especially in his biceps and legs hes pretty fit guy and definitely stays hydrated and eats well. The potassium come from some supplements but he drinks a liter of organic coconut water a day and its kinda pricey but has helped the most in the past but the cramps still happen. At the moment we are trying the passion flower and I'm going to make a magnesium flake salve and go ahaead and add the chamomile as well. For those who are interested I will keep you up to date on whats worked for us!
 
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Depending on the type of cramps and if it is safe for you, you might find relief with crampbark.  

And if you want to increase magnesium without taking a bunch and potentially causing gastrointestinal distress, millet has about 15% of our daily requirement per serving.
 
pollinator
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The few times I had muscle cramps, I was not eating a lot of veggies. If he's fit and eating a lot of proteins, he should make sure to also eat a lot of veggies. They will gives a lot of good things, not just the magnesium, or iron, or whatever everyone here is suggesting (I'm not implying that magnesium or individual supplement won't work; but vegetables will gives a wide variety of nutrients, which will be more easily available to the body; so instead of trying each nutrient one by one, having a load of them at once might give faster results).

It's not really a medicinal herb in itself, but let food be thy medicine ! If you can solve it at the root, that would be the best. Do he also stretch enough ? When do these cramps happen ?
 
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