Reviews of Leg Cramp Remedies: Tricks, Fixes, and Supplements

I am a fairly young male (currently 24), but I've had problems with cramps in my calves for most of my life, constantly being woken up by them and CONSTANTLY trying to figure out a way to just get rid of them forever. During this search, I realized that the market for various leg cramp remedies and products is, not surprisingly, a bit biased when it comes to opinions.

The following information is intended for individuals who are looking for a real solution to their leg cramps. I will be going over every over the counter remedy, technique, trick, fix, and flop that I've learned about in my struggle, and giving you my honest opinion and some technical information on the pros and cons of each of them. More importantly, I'll be pointing you in the direction of the stuff that actually works and hopefully saving the day (or night) for a few of you.

There are home remedies of all sorts, but they can't all work like magic, right?
There are home remedies of all sorts, but they can't all work like magic, right?

Tricks, Techniques, and Home Remedies

Let's get started with the easy stuff: home remedies and quick fix-it tricks.

Bar of Soap Under the Bed

Doing a quick search for leg cramps on Google will likely lead you to one website or another that mentions something about a bar of ivory soap being placed underneath the sheets in your bed to prevent your legs from cramping. Sound weird? It is. This is a technique that is known by quite a few people all over the internet, but there has yet to be any sort of evidence or even much of a proposed reason as to why it works.

The soap puts something in the air? From under your sheets? I don't know, but I was putting soap under my bed for 2 months and must have gotten at least 9 charlie horses during that time, so I would certainly conclude that it doesn't work, at least not for everyone.

Pickle Juice

How many reasons do you have to drink pickle juice right from the jar? Well, it could depend on how many muscle cramps you have. There are numerous videos on Youtube and quite a few other websites that either show or talk about someone drinking pickle juice to stop a cramp. In fact, a recent study on pickle juice showed that drinking regular pickle juice was able to stop a cramp about 37% faster than drinking water does. Unfortunately, this is still quite a bit of cramping for the athlete or individual who is experiencing the muscle cramp. These same studies went on to discover quite a few more interesting things about muscle cramping and disprove some previously agreed upon ideas in the scientific and medical worlds, but not coming to any definite conclusions. So, now, the world is just not sure.

What is pickle juice exactly? Well, the correct term for it would be brine, which is a solution of sodium and water. Which is, by chance, a whole lot like the electrolytes that popular sports drinks include in their formulas: an electrolyte is also a solution of (usually) sodium in water. Wikipedia both of these terms and see for yourself. One might conclude that drinking pickle juice might work as fast as a sports drink would, which might work as fast as some chicken noodle soup would, which might work as fast as just stirring salt into water and drinking it.

One interesting aspect of pickle juice that is absent in other electrolyte or salt-infused drinks is vinegar. While vinegar actually might be a home remedy of its own, I will only be covering it briefly right here as it is present in quite a few other things. This might be why sports coaches are leaning more towards pickle juice for dealing with cramps and using sports drink only as what they are: a drink!


We've finally got some color in our list, and it's an off-yellow. Mustard has long been praised as the miracle cure for leg cramps, and there are a few possible reasons as to why. First of all, there is sodium in mustard, which brings us back to the pickle juice and sports drinks. Another possibility that has been brought up is the fact that the turmeric that is added to mustard for coloring has anti-inflammatory properties. Also, you can find vinegar in mustard, which might be the reason why people are amassing mustard packets on their nightstand to sleep through the night without cramping up.


This one isn't quite as crazy, and I'm not sure if you could necessarily call it a trick or a home remedy, but stretching out your muscles on a regular basis can do a whole lot of good for people whose muscles tend to cramp up more than they'd like them to. I'll go a bit further into why exactly this is.

Stretching is something that your muscles are meant to do on a regular basis, and they require this activity in order to get stronger or just stay healthy. You already know that a muscle that you work out or use all the time is going to get bigger, but working out or stretching a muscle is also a way for oxygen and blood to travel through all of the tissue in your muscles and deliver essential nutrients that they need to work properly.

Castor Oil

Now this is a particularly interesting one. Castor oil, which is commonly used in food additives, plastics, and quite a few other industrial creations, is used to relieve cramps in the abdomen and other parts of the body by some. From what I've read, you apparently need cold-pressed castor oil, which you then have to soak a shirt with and heat in the microwave. I'm really not sure what the meaning of all this is, and I am just really not willing to try this one at all, even just for the sake of review.

I think the most popular use for castor oil was initially muscle pains as it is present in some lotions intended for this, but it appears that this somehow translated into it being effective at stopping muscle cramps over the many years that it has been around. Castor oil was first used as a laxative or purgative that people would ingest for digestive issues, and has about 101 other uses that seems to have turned this biodegradable oil into a cure-all of sorts.

Rubbing Alcohol

There's nothing like the smell of rubbing alcohol in the morning, or in the middle of the night when a cramp strikes. If you really don't care what you smell like, you just might be dousing your muscles with rubbing alcohol every time you get a cramp. This is one home remedy that I would discourage, and there are quite a few reasons.

Rubbing alcohol has been used by people with arthritis to relieve soreness in their bones and muscles with some success reportedly, but there are also quite a number of problems that rubbing alcohol can cause when applied to the skin, especially if done on a regular basis. Dermatitis or rashes, irritation, and severe dryness and redness are a few of the things you might experience. I read that children who have fevers can actually receive alcohol poisoning from having it rubbed on their skin. This seems to be a very exact set of requirements, but when I read something like this I assume that it really is dangerous for people of all ages.

Quinine (Tonic Water)

The "tonic" that you might find in a gin and tonic was once believed to be the true cure for leg cramps and was prescribed by doctors all around the world. They didn't prescribe tonic water, but instead a pill of quinine, which is found in tonic water. Unfortunately, it has found to be simply not true. Further testing showed that the quinine actually did not lessen or decrease the amount/intensity of cramping by any discernible amount: it didn't work!

To make matters even worse, the magic ingredient found in tonic water that was believed to have finally defeated the dreaded charlie horse was also found to cause a very deadly blood disease in some people. Scary! No testing has ever been done to see if tonic water has this same deadly effect, but it can easily be understood by reading the label that tonic water certainly does contain quinine.

OTC: Over the Counter and On the Market
OTC: Over the Counter and On the Market

Over the Counter Stuff

Magnesium, Calcium, and Potassium

I get into this subject in a bit more detail in another article, so I won't spend too much time here. One thing I will say is that I would always recommend that you try to get most, if not all of your nutrients like these naturally from the things you eat, not from a pill. With that being said, all 3 of the above-listed things have been somehow tied in to the cramping of muscles by one scientist or another. Nothing is really for sure, but if your diet is lacking magnesium, calcium, or potassium, you may realize that your cramps occur much less if you simply start eating more things that contain these 3 nutrients.

Hyland's Leg Cramps

You can find this stuff at your local Walgreens. I was baffled by this at first, but it turns out that Hyland's actually relies on quinine. Not the same manufactured or "allopathic" quinine that was found in the quinine pills of the past, but quinine nonetheless. The homeopathic quinine that they use is prepared from "quinine bark" taken from the Cinchona tree, and does not fall under the regulations by the FDA placed on quinine sulfates and salts of quinine. Due to this, this product has been successfully sold over the counter since 1994 without any problems.

Most of this information was taken from their website; you can check it out for yourself. I know that studies conducted on quinine found it to be ineffective at stopping or preventing muscle cramps, so I don't see why this stuff would be any different. Regardless, there are countless mixed reviews about this product circulating - some praise its magical abilities and some say it doesn't do anything.

With large distributors, products tend to have an easier time appealing to people. Also, this product is not safe for kids, and as my rule goes, I assume that it isn't really all that safe for anybody.

Stops Leg Cramps

This is a product that I was recommended by the owner of a natural health store around my house. He told me that it was one of their highest resellers and it works for lots of people, so I gave it a try. It was a home remedy that Amish people came up with, and the ingredients it contained were a bit different from what I was starting to get accustomed to. Just three: raw apple cider vinegar, juice from the ginger root, and liquidated, odorless garlic.I thought it was very interesting that this product also contained vinegar, and am now pretty certain that vinegar does indeed help somehow.

Another interesting thing about this product is that apple cider vinegar contains just about EVERY mineral and nutrient that I've ever heard to cause or prevent muscle cramping. potassium, phosphorus, chlorine, sodium, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, iron, fluorine and silicon are all present in apple cider vinegar, and garlic and ginger contain a ton of good stuff too. Even if this stuff didn't work, it'd probably still be REALLY good for you.

I first assumed that you were only supposed to take it when you got an actual cramp, so I did this with a pretty good effect. As it says, it took less than 60 seconds for a spontaneous cramp to stop.

That was all good and well, but I did some investigating on their website when it was almost time to buy another bottle and discovered that you can actually take it to prevent cramps as well and various athletes are already using it for that purpose. I'm no athlete, but I gave it a try to started drinking a dose on certain days when I was going to be doing a lot of walking or when it was hot as this is when I usually cramp up.

It seemed to work pretty well, but it took me another 2 bottles before I was finally convinced that it was working and not just my body stopping it on its own or some sort of placebo effect. At this point, I can definitely say with confidence that this stuff works well. Maybe not for everyone, but it has worked amazingly for me. Learn about using this product for cramps during physical activity via the link below:


I haven't seen this stuff around, but I did a quick search for other remedies I might have missed out on in an effort to make this article as complete as possible and stumbled across this stuff. It is apparently pretty new, and employs a type of magnesium that is more easily absorbed by the body. The funny thing about this stuff is that they call it a "cure" when you have to take these pills every day for (presumably) the rest of your life. There are also a few bad reviews online, as there are with just about everything.

The scientific stuff behind this product goes as follows: monomagnesium malate is the active ingredient, which is made by combining magnesium with malic acid. Pure magnesium supplements sometimes act as laxatives and go straight through the body without being absorbed, and doing this synthesizing to the magnesium essentially prevents the magnesium from going straight through your body. So, it's an improved magnesium supplement.

This doesn't sound all that bad, but magnesium that you find in green leafy plants, nuts, seeds, tofu, chocolates, and a number of other foods can be readily absorbed by your body, and they also fill you up! Why not save all the money on the pills and pay for healthy food to fill your house with? To be fair, I'd like to ask that anyone who HAS found success with this remedy leave a comment below and let us know your situation and how it worked for you. Until then, I remain a skeptic

Comments 12 comments

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 3 years ago from USA

You've found a variety of ways to help relieve muscle cramps. There are some interesting methods for sure. I am glad you found my hub about what worked for me.

KBS 2 years ago

I have had two knees and one hip replaced. I have constant leg, calf, and food cramps at night. I take calcium and Celebrex. Have stopped both for periods and still have severe cramps. Hylands Leg Cramps stops the cramps within minutes, but cramps may come back after a few hours. I have now heard they may not be good for me. Hope it's not true.

MLK 2 years ago

If you think quinine does not work on leg cramps, then your research is worthless. Quinine did the trick for me for many years and did it well.

ljjjduvall 2 years ago

Hi, I got horrible leg, feet and even bad cramps in other places. I have tried so many different treatments and almost gave up. I thought Quinine also would be the answer. Well I did some poking around the internet and it turns out that Quinine has really bad side effects. Some were DEATH! I think that is why the Government STOPPED RX's from being written or filled.

I'm sorry, it did work however I think DEATH is a real reason to stop taking it.

I did find one thing that did help me, STOP LEG CRAMPS, made by the Amish. It works for me.

I take a swig every night and sleep without cramps.


cate 2 years ago

I hv not be fortunate with the Amish concoction. Did not work for me as it does for many others. Was going to try mgbright but when I emailed them regarding their 110% guarantee, refund with no questions asked, the response did not appear to be from a business site but a personal email account. That raised a red flag. When queried, they said it was an oversight. Another response led me to a "return" product page which asked a lot of questions. Wondered what happened to the "no questions asked" on their site. Another red flag.

Sam G 2 years ago

I tried a new product called Spazam- Athletes Gold. The actual one I tried was Spazamg with Magnesium and Arnica. According to their website they have another one coming out which uses capsaicin . Spazamg worked excellent for the cramps.

What I was also happy about was the pain in my left shoulder, due to a minor tear of the rotator cuff. After liberally applying it to my shoulder , I could lift my arm up over my head with minor discomfort. My brother in law started using it for gout. They don't make any wild claims on their website which is refreshing in and of itself.

Bob 19 months ago

I overheard two women talking about leg cramps that their husbands had. One said she had him use her pantyhose and it worked. I did a web search on leg cramps and pantyhose and got hundreds of hits about pregnancy, well I am not pregnant, men don't get pregnant. With absolutely nothing to lose except a few bucks, I tried it. A little honing as to brand, style, and size and I went from multiple cramps per day to only a few per week. The winner was Hanes Sheer Energy Q+ waistband free.

Graham S 17 months ago

The best advice by far, as stated, as eating Mg based foods, so why pay for pills and other remedies? The world is fast getting to be in a Pill Popping Pandemic.

Grace Day 6 months ago

I've never had a physician give me any advice whatsoever on my leg cramps, so I began trying to find a remedy on my own. I eventually came across the Hyland leg cramp formula, and it honestly did work very well for me. I even called the company to make sure there was no reason I shouldn't take it, as I am in kidney failure. They said it was homeopathic and the ingredients were safe. But one time when we were on vacation, I'd forgotten to bring the bottle with me and went to a pharmacy to buy some more. When I asked the pharmacist if they had that product, they did but he did everything he could to talk me out of buying it. I argued that it worked well and I've been using it for over a year. He finally asked me, "Do you like your heart?" I cheekily replied that yes, I DO like my heart and I use it nearly every day. He went on to tell me of the dangers of quinine and suggested I not use the Hyland's pills any longer. I wish I could say that I don't, but desperation sometimes makes me give in and take them. However, I try to keep mustard, vinegar or a banana within reach and pray that they work. I also tried drinking the Tonic water, and that, too works... but again, there is quinine in it and it just isn't good for you. I do think I'm going to try the Amish formula and pray that it works.

Joanne Payne 4 months ago

I have dialysis three times a week. ..when they take 2.5 off I cramp...a friend gave me mg.bright magnesium pills ...I take 3 1 hour before I'm finished and I don't have cramps. ..I've taken all she gave me so I picked up magnesium pills in the health food section and am going to try them. ..

phillippa lack 5 weeks ago

I have been taking mg bright, and it really helped with the leg cramps. along with that, drinking more water is essential!! do not take the laxative kind

Gary A 4 weeks ago

Tried that Mg Bright ! didn't work and lots of luck with their 110% money back guarantee, you can't get in touch with anyone !!

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