Can Mustard Help Relieve Muscle Cramps? What Science Says

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  • A teaspoon of yellow mustard helps terminate muscle cramps almost immediately.
  • Dehydration and muscle fatigue are commonly regarded as reasons for muscle cramps.
  • Mustard helps cramps by triggering receptors in the mouth, signaling the brain to minimize the feeling of pain.
  • Even though rare, some extremely serious mustard allergies can occur.
  • There is still room for scientific evidence to showcase the connection between mustard and muscle cramps.

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, grabbing your leg as it cramps like crazy? Well, join the club of hundreds of people experiencing the unsettling feeling of cramps. The reason why we experience those muscle contractions is not as clear as day, but hydration and muscle fatigue are among the probable causes.

Cramps can be real neck pain, but one particular condiment successfully tackles the issue – it’s mustard! Have you ever used mustard for leg cramps? Mustard has been praised for its digestion-relieving properties and for minimizing seizures, as author Bénédicte Bortoli explains in her book Mustard: A Treasure From Burgundy.

Does mustard help with cramps? Stay with us as we bring science into the subject and see how the delicious condiment alleviates muscle cramps.

What Are Muscle Cramps, And Why Do We Experience Them?

Muscle cramps occur as involuntary muscle spasms or contractions that can cause pain or discomfort. Physical exertion, inadequate stretching, overuse of muscles, or certain medical conditions can trigger muscle cramps.

Some medications and nutritional deficiencies can also contribute to muscle cramps. The pain from muscle cramps can be mild or severe and be accompanied by visible muscle twitching or knots.

muscle aches

Can Mustard Help with Relieving Cramps?

There’s speculation that the salt content is the reason mustard helps cramps. Some experienced athletes stand by the notion that the acetic acid and the turmeric in mustard make it anti-inflammatory.

So, how does mustard help cramps? Some argue that the electrolytes in mustard, such as potassium and sodium, are great for preventing legs from cramping, especially after strenuous exercise. However, since dehydration is a common trigger of cramps, a study including 9 healthy adults has been conducted to test the effects of mustards. The findings are less than promising for mustard. So, is mustard good for cramps? Reality says it is.

Mustard as a Potential Remedy for Cramps

If you decide to go “all-natural” and give mustard a go to help with cramps, know that the condiment is perfectly safe for ingestion. If by any chance it doesn’t do anything for your pain, at least it won’t do any harm, either.

Yellow mustard is practically the only type of mustard to have reportedly helped people with nighttime leg cramps. Even though there’s a lack of scientific proof the condiment actually does something to cramp muscles, people swear by it to relieve the nasty pain.

What Is Mustard Made Of, And What Nutrients It Contains

Mustard is an abundant source of nutrients containing calcium, vitamins A, K, and C, as well as copper and precious fibers like magnesium, selenium, and manganese. As nutrient-rich, mustard seeds and leaves are used in stews, soups, supplements, and more.

Additionally, turmeric is used for coloring mustard, while also adding anti-inflammatory benefits to the condiment.

Person Putting Mustard Sauce in Ceramic Bowl

Is There Any Scientific Evidence Supporting Mustard’s Impact on Cramps?

Even though there is still room for scientific evidence to support the impact of mustard on muscle cramps, two esteemed neurobiologists make way for new breakthroughs. Neurobiologists Rod McKinnon (a Nobel Prize winner) and Bruce Bean, Ph.D., found that sensory neurons in the throat, mouth, and stomach with spicy, pungent flavors can aid with muscle cramps.

How Can We Use Mustard to Relieve Cramps?

Is mustard good for cramps? Many say it is. Whenever you feel cramping, swallow a teaspoon or two of yellow mustard. Shortly, you should feel immediate relief. Note that taking mustard every day will not prevent cramps. On the other hand, swallowing a teaspoon of it will stop the cramp almost immediately.

Are There Any Side Effects or Allergies Related to Using Mustard?

There are rare cases of people experiencing severe mustard allergies, but they do exist. A mustard allergy is usually a food allergy, and the main allergen found in the yellow mustard is called “Sin a 1.” People allergic to mustard can fall into anaphylactic shock.

When used as food, the FDA considers mustard GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe), while medicinal and cosmetic uses need caution. Some possible side effects of ingesting yellow mustard are a burning sensation in the mouth, an uneasy stomach, and a few more.

When Should We Seek Medical Advice for Persistent or Severe Cramps?

If you deal with continuous leg or arm cramping that does not go away on its own, it’s best to visit your GP. The condition can indicate a greater issue, such as a vitamin D deficiency. While taking mustard for muscle cramps occasionally is fine, if the cramping is something you experience every day, seek professional attention.

Woman in White Suit with Stethoscope Talking to a Person


Nighttime cramps are a serious issue for many people and often require immediate attention. There is a significant connection between mustard and leg cramps. It is believed that the nutrients in the condiment terminate muscle spasms immediately.

As with other natural remedies, take it with a grain of salt. If you believe the muscle spasms you experience more often than usual are deeper than they seem, consult with a doctor. On the other hand, sporadic leg and arm cramps can easily go away with a teaspoon or two of yellow mustard.


Why does mustard work on cramps?

It is believed the pungent taste triggers receptors in the mouth, which, in turn, correspond to the centers in the brain responsible for pain.

Do athletes eat mustard for cramps?

They do. Spartan race participants always keep a few packets of mustard on them to relieve cramps instantaneously.

Is mustard a good pain reliever?

Mustard is not a pain reliever in general, but it does help with occasional muscle cramp pain.

How do I prevent leg cramps at night?

Nighttime cramps can go away almost immediately after taking a teaspoon of yellow mustard.

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