Herbal Health Information on Cramps

Normal muscle activity involves contraction and just as importantly, relaxation of whichever muscle is being used. If the muscle does not relax after contraction, this results in cramp.

I am sure we have all been woken at night with a muscle in our calf tightened up and going into spasm resulting in us jumping out of bed and stamping around the room waking up anyone or everyone in the vicinity.

Avoiding cramps is all about diet. Muscle contracts and relaxes due to an exchange of Calcium /Magnesium through the tissue of the muscle wall. It is therefore essential that our diets contain a sensible intake of these minerals as well as all other vitamins and minerals.

This is the one and only time I advocate eating a good intake of dairy products, which provide calcium. (providing you do not have a dairy intolerance) Meat, fish watercress and spinach are also good calcium sources.

Magnesium is present in most foods, particularly meat, milk, eggs, seafood and nuts.

An example of a good mixed diet would be:-

BREAKFAST;- muesli or fruit or wholegrain cereals with  some nuts/ semi-skimmed milk/ fruit juice

(Dried fruits contain a high amount of iron.)

LUNCH:- tinned  tuna/salmon/sardines (tinned fish has a high amount of calcium),or eggs or cheese and salad

Or baked potato with low fat Cole slaw or baked beans or a sandwich made with wholemeal bread and a sunflower or olive oil margarine.


DINNER: – lean cooked meat of any sort. Remember lamb and pork has more fat throughout the body of the meat so the fat is harder to cut off when preparing it for cooking. Red meat at least twice a week. Eggs at least twice a week, for iron and mineral content.

Any vegetables you like and as much as you like.

Be careful that you do not have too much dairy though it comes with its own problems such as increasing catarrh production.

Try to get out of the habit of having pudding.

Drink plenty of water during the day and no more than three cups of tea or coffee, preferably decaff.

You know I am now going to say EXERCISE! This will open up lymphatic pathways in the muscles and ensure that lactic acid, produced as a by product of muscle function is removed efficiently.

No you do not have to be Mr or Mrs Super fit of the year but you do need to be exercising regularly.

20 minutes of walking a day or swimming twice a week or a dance class or whatever takes your fancy within your capabilities.  If you are less mobile then ask for some help from your Doctor who should be able to get you on to an exercise programme.


There are a few herbs which prevent the muscles going into spasm, the main one of which is Crampbark. You can have a look at it in the herbs and health section and also in the West rise marsh video. It does what its name suggests it does and prevents muscle spasm.

The other herb I would recommend is Goose Grass as this opens up the lymphatic pathways and ensures the removal of lactic acid.

It is unlikely you will find these as an over the counter preparation, but you should be able to get them as tinctures. Follow the instructions on the bottles.

If you need more help please do come and see me in clinic. You can find the clinic details by clicking here or on the “clinic” tab at the top of the page.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

Speak Your Mind