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Mustard Eases Leg Cramps In A Pinch

Posting Date: 07/05/2004

Q. At a social function last week, a lady stood up and was hit with a leg cramp so severe she could not move. The hostess rushed to the kitchen, returned with some French?s mustard in a teaspoon and asked her to swallow it at once. The lady swallowed the mustard and the cramp was gone in seconds!

The hostess said that her great-grandmother had told her about this remedy for leg cramps years ago. Have you heard about this? Can you explain it?

A. This is a new one for us. Other readers have reported that yellow mustard relieves heartburn. We have even heard that if you get cold yellow mustard onto minor kitchen burns it can prevent pain and redness.

One possible explanation for these benefits is the turmeric in mustard. This yellow spice (also used in curry powder) has anti-inflammatory properties. Perhaps that is why it helped against leg cramps.

Q. I just read that Vitamin D can prevent falls in elderly people. How much does it take?

A. In the study (JAMA, Apr. 28, 2004) it was found that 800 IU was effective in reducing falls.

Q. I have read about remedies for arthritis in your column but I never paid much attention. I didn't think I'd ever have to worry about that, but of course I was wrong.

I remember one called for mixing grape juice and apple cider vinegar. Can you tell me how often you are supposed to do this, and how much of each you're supposed to use?

I will be glad to buy a booklet for home remedies, but I'd like to get started immediately. I know natural therapies don't always kick in right away and I don?t want to wait too long for relief.

A. Many readers report that the mixture you remember offers relief from joint pain. To make it, mix five parts grape juice, three parts apple juice and one part apple cider vinegar. The dose is one half cup daily.

This recipe, along with those for gin-soaked raisins and a grape juice and Certo combination to combat arthritis, can be found with other old-fashioned approaches in our Guide to Home Remedies. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $2 in check or money order with a long (no. 10) stamped (60 cents), self-addressed envelope: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. R-1, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.