When talking about cramps, muscle cramps are usually meant. These occur in the skeletal muscles, especially on the calves and thighs. Cramps are sometimes very painful muscle tensions that often occur at night. The causes of this pain are often a lack of minerals, increased alcohol consumption or a lack of fluids. Read here which home remedies for cramps can be helpful.
Help with cramps due to mineral deficiency
A mineral deficiency is often to blame for cramps. Magnesium, potassium or calcium are usually affected. Magnesium is abundant in whole grains, nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Potassium is mainly found in soy products, wheat bran, whole grains, various types of vegetables, bananas and dried apricots.
Foods rich in calcium include dairy products, broccoli, spinach leaves, fennel and nettles. In the case of mild cramps, the diet should first try to get rid of them. If this does not help, a blood count can bring clarity. The minerals may need to be substituted in the form of nutritional supplements. However, this requires medical advice.
What to consider when doing sports
In order not to let muscle cramps develop at all, the following must be observed. It is important to wear clothing that is not too tight, is made of breathable material and keeps the muscles warm, especially in the cold winter months. We recommend warming up and stretching before exercising.
To ensure that the body receives sufficient fluid, mineral water should also be drunk during sports, especially when there is a lot of sweating. After the physical exertion, a large glass of apple spritzer is the right drink. To prevent muscle soreness and cramps, a sauna, a hot bath or a hot shower are also recommended.
St. John's wort oil for muscle spasms
St. John's wort oil, also known as red oil, is versatile, both internally and externally. As a home remedy for cramps, this is gently massaged into the affected muscle, possibly before greater stress, but also in an acute state. St. John's wort oil has wound healing, warming and - which is helpful in cramp-like pain - improves blood circulation. When buying the red oil, it is essential to pay attention to purity and quality.
Rosemary oil, orange oil
Essential oils are good for treating cramps. The choice falls here on rosemary oil and / or orange oil. Four drops of each oil are mixed in 50 milliliters of olive, almond or sesame oil and rubbed into the affected muscles. If the cramps occur mainly at night, this is done in the evening before sleeping. Attention: If you have high blood pressure, rosemary oil should not be used.
Lavender, lemon balm, rosemary
Various types of tea such as lavender, lemon balm and rosemary are good home remedies for cramps. It is best to drink these preventively. The three different plants could be mixed or used individually. Caution with rosemary: this should never be used if you have high blood pressure (hypertension).
The rule for all teas is that they should never be drunk for longer than six weeks. After that, the tea must be changed.
Almonds - healthy snacking
Almonds contain many minerals and are therefore a good, tasty nibble that counteracts cramps. It is best to eat three to six peeled almonds throughout the day.
A balanced breakfast
A balanced breakfast is a good start to the day and ensures that the body is supplied with healthy nutrients, which prevents the occurrence of cramps.
This is a tasty muesli that will fill you up for a long time and is rich in minerals, especially magnesium and potassium. A banana is cut into small pieces and mixed with a teaspoon of almond butter, a mug of soy yogurt, a teaspoon of honey and three tablespoons of wheat bran. Depending on your taste and appetite, the muesli can be enriched with some fruit and a few spoons of tender oatmeal.
Quark layer dish
For this quark dish, a little lean curd is mixed with milk or mineral water until creamy. Add a teaspoon of honey and a little vanilla. Quark, tender oatmeal and berries are alternately layered in a tall glass. This not only looks nice, it tastes delicious and is healthy.
Light gymnastics against muscle cramps
Another preventive home remedy for cramps is regular gymnastic exercises. These stimulate blood circulation and are relatively easy to carry out.
Exercise 1: You stand loosely and switch between heel and toe. This is repeated at least ten times and done several times a day.
Exercise 2: Another exercise is as follows: You sit comfortably on a chair and let your feet alternate.
Exercise 3: You stand on one leg. The other is angled as close to the body as possible. Then the leg is changed. If possible, this exercise should be performed ten times with each leg.
What to do in case of night leg cramps?
Calf cramps often occur at night. Quick relief is needed here. Sit down and hold the toes of the affected foot with your hand. Now pull the foot gently and carefully towards yourself. Stop the tension briefly and let go of your foot. Repeat the whole thing several times.
If this doesn't help, let hot water run down your calf or wrap your lower leg in a cloth that has been soaked in hot water. But be careful - if you suffer from varicose veins, the water should not be hot, just warm.
Schüssler salts can also have a quick effect on cramps. The “hot seven” helps here. Dissolve 10 tablets of number seven, Magnesium phosphoricum, in boiled hot water, stir with a plastic spoon and drink in small sips.
Kneipp knee cast against cramps
Kneipp casts promote blood circulation and can therefore protect against cramps. The knee cast is best done in the shower or bath. The water should be able to run off. The cold water jet starts on the right heel. In the further course, the back of the leg is showered down to the hip.
On the front, the path goes back down to the foot. Then it comes to the left side. This is repeated a second time. After that, the legs must be rubbed off well. Thick socks prevent cooling. This leg cast not only helps with cramps, but also against headaches, varicose veins and swollen legs.
Mild cramps that only occur occasionally can be treated well with home remedies. However, if the cramps occur regularly and are very painful, a doctor should be consulted. The exact causes are urgently to be clarified here. (sw)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Editor Heilpraxis.de, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Ursel Bühring: Practical textbook of modern herbal medicine, Haug, 2011
- Hildegard Kreiter-Schweigkofler, Helene Roschatt: Kneipp: water, nutrition, herbs, lifestyle, exercise, Kneipp Verlag, 2016
- German Society for Neurology (DGN): guidelines for diagnostics and therapy in neurology crampi / muscle cramp. 2017 (accessed 25.08.2019), AWMF (Association of Scientific Medical Societies)