Supplements and Herbal Remedies for Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps can be painful and they can interfere with sleep, day to day comfort and activity. But what are they and how are they caused? And most importantly, how can you treat them and also use natural remedies and supplements to treat and even prevent them.

Here is a brief guide to muscle cramps, their management and prevention.

What is a Skeletal Muscle Cramp?

Basically a skeletal muscle cramp is a muscle that is contracted and cannot stretch out and relax. This is different to a muscle cramp that afflicts the muscles of a given organ such as the heart or uterus of bowel etc.)  Skeletal muscle cramps can last momentarily and be very brief, or they can last for up to twenty minutes and relax then recur numerous times.

Most cramps are a result of a kind of hyper excitability or hyper stimulation of the nerves that activate movement in the muscles.

They can also occur due to dehydration and inadequate fluid intake. When cramps occur during hot weather they may indicate the early onset of heat stroke.

Natural Health Remedies

There are a variety of natural products that you can use to help with your muscle cramps. Two of the most effective and common include bananas and a simple magnesium supplement.

  • Bananas – contain magnesium and can help to thwart night cramps. Have a banana in the afternoon or after dinner.
  • Magnesium – a good magnesium supplement can work wonders with muscle cramps. It helps your muscles to contract in a healthy and regular way. Follow the directions given to you by your naturopath or natural health practitioner. A powdered form is good.
  • Valerian, skullcap and rosemary in teas or as poultices may also help with leg cramp

You may also want to try Devil’s Claw. Devil’s claw or Harpagophytum belongs to the sesame family and can help with cramping and also as an analgesic pain relief. It is a native plant of South Africa and has been used in natural remedies there for centuries.[1]

You may also want to try simple salts and fluids, as these can help restore the sodium imbalances that may be contributing to the cramping in the first place. One old wives tale also suggests you sleep with a generous sprinkling of salt in your bedsocks! The theory is the sodium will be absorbed through the skin through the process of osmosis. While it may feel a little gritty – it may just do the trick.

So consider natural remedies, fresh food sources and also supplements to treat your muscle cramps. See your naturopath and seek complementary medical advice that can help keep you in good shape.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harpagophytum