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A cramp is an isolated, painful spasm of all or part of one or more muscles. It is an involuntary tightening or contraction, most commonly affecting the calf and foot muscles.

Heat cramps are a physical state resulting from excessive physical exercise, usually in a high ambient temperature. They are characterized by the sudden development of severe cramping in the skeletal or abdominal muscles.

Night cramps occur while sleeping. If accompanied by other symptoms, they may indicate a serious underlying disorder.

Treatment includes stretching the muscle(s) involved, massaging the affected muscle(s), and, in the case of night cramps, raising the foot of the bed higher than the customary position.


Primary Factors
It is believed cramps primarily result from diminished blood flow to the affected muscle resulting in an increased metabolic need of the muscle for oxygen and nutrients. This state causes rhythmic contractions of smooth muscles and overactivity of the muscle and nerve membranes.

Predisposing Factors

Muscle strain due to:

Unaccustomed exerciseConstipation
PregnancyGallbladder diseases
Motor system diseaseDehydration
HypocalcemiaArteriosclerosis obliterans
Bite of black widow spiderDysmenorrhea
Urethral obstructionTetany
Muscle energy storage diseaseProlonged sitting, standing, or lying in an uncomfortable position

Signs & Symptoms

Rapidly contracting muscles
Sudden pain
Visible distortion

Heat cramps:

Abrupt and painful onset
Flexed legs
Palpable muscle spasms or knots
Pale and wet skin

Nutritional Supplements

Structure & Function:
        Single Nutrients
        Multi Vitamin/Multi Mineral Formulas &
        Bone Support

General Supplements

Bee propolis*
Calcium400 - 800 mg 200 - 400 mg
Magnesium200 - 400 mg 100 - 200 mg
Sodium ** 2 - 3 g n/a
Vitamin B6*
Vitamin E400 - 800 IU 200 - 400 IU

* Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.

** Sodium used to be a mainstay and may still be resorted to if there is excessive perspiration.


Stomach cramps may be mentioned, since activated charcoal has been helpful for this condition.

Menstrual cramps may also be included. Vitamin B6 is often effective in these cases, probably on several levels, working with numerous metabolic pathways besides the more tangible fluid and electrolyte imbalances.

All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.

Dietary Considerations

No diet is specifically prescribed for cramps by the American Dietetics Association. Barring any underlying health condition, a Dietary Goals Diet should be followed to provide all the nutrients necessary for building a sound and disease-resistant body.

Calcium is necessary for normal muscular contraction. If a deficiency exists, cramping can occur, but is amenable to treatment with calcium supplements or ingestion of calcium-rich foods.

Extreme losses of sodium chloride through heavy perspiration may upset the electrolyte balance of the body and result in cramping. People who must exert themselves in hot and humid weather should add small amounts of salt to their drinking water.

Pregnant women often have problems with muscle cramps. Phosphate, calcium and sodium levels should be evaluated for deficiencies.

Homeopathic Remedy

Cramp - Muscle

1. Antimonium tartaricum tinct.        30C
2.*Cimicifuga racemosa tinct.        15C
3.*Crocus sative                15C
4.*Cuprum metallicum        30C

Advanced , by symptom:

1.Arnica montana tinct.fatigued muscles.
2. Cuprum metallicumelectrolyte losses, or sudden chill e.g. after swimming (evaporation).

Cramp - Uterine

1.Cactus grandiflorus3C to 15C

Treatment Schedule

Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.


X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency

Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.


Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.

Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.

Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.

Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.

Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.

Tissue Salts

Magnesia Phos.primary remedy for any spasms;

2 - 4 tablets every 15 minutes during attacks.

Herbal Approaches


Valerian root

Leg Cramps: (German Commission E)

Butcher's Broom
Horse Chestnut seed (Conkers)
Melilot (Sweet Clover)

Menstrual Cramps:

Black Cohosh
Cramp Bark

Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.


Passiflora is a relaxant. (40 mg t.i.d.)

Valerian root is another relaxant. (2 tablets t.i.d.) It should be avoided during pregnancy.

It is especially useful if cramping accompanies "restless legs syndrome". It has sedative properties, also.


Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Hoffmann, D: The New Holistic Herbal. Element, 1983. Third edition 1990.

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Chamomile Essence,Geranium Essence,
Juniper Essence,Lavender Essence,
Rosemary Essence.

Related Health Conditions

DysmenorrheaGallbladder disease



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