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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The debate: Mustard vs. cramps

Joe Graedon, M.S., And Teresa Graedon, Ph.D. M.S.

Q. I’ve read about people using yellow mustard to get rid of leg cramps, and my theory is that the cure is walking to the kitchen. Stretching the cramp out relieves it within a minute or two.

To test yellow mustard, try it without getting out of bed. Keep a small jar at bedside and see if a spoonful taken lying down does the trick.

A. We understand your skepticism, since we do not know how yellow mustard might alleviate muscle cramps. Some have suggested it is the vinegar in the mustard, since people also have reported benefit from pickle juice. Others believe that the turmeric that makes mustard yellow is responsible, since it has anti-inflammatory activity.

One reader took up your challenge: “Although I do need to stand up when the worst cramps hit, walking to the kitchen to get the mustard is not what relieves the cramps for me. I keep little packets of mustard next to my bed. If I’m bothered in the middle of the night with a cramp in my calf, I open three packets of mustard and swallow them down. Within minutes, the cramps ease off.”