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What Causes Muscles to Cramp?
Muscle cramps can be excruciating, often occurring at night and jolting you from your sleep with a sudden and intense pain. What causes these muscular spasms? There are many possible reasons; some may be obvious such as physical strain or a medical condition. Anything that causes poor circulation or mineral depletion can also be a root cause of muscle cramps, such as some medications for high blood pressure, or even pregnancy.
Herbs for muscle spasms, such as ginger and prickly ash improve blood flow, also increasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. These plants are also concentrated, easily to absorb sources of minerals, helping to correct a deficiency while also improving circulation. Nervine and anti-spasmodic herbs can be used as well to restore nerve health and to calm muscle spasms.
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The following herbs can be used as herbal muscle cramp remedies.
- Cramp bark is one of the best anti-spasmodic herbs. It is beneficial for both muscle and menstrual cramps. It also has nervine properties, relaxing the nervous system.
- Ginger is a wonderful herb for stimulating blood circulation.
- Prickly ash has a slower but very potent effect on blood flow. It is an important herb for treating problems due to chronic poor circulation, not only muscle spasms, but also varicose veins and skin problems.
- Cayenne is another important stimulant. It improves blood flow, tones the blood vessels and nerves, and has an overall tonic effect on the body.
- Garlic improves circulation and is completely safe for long term use.
- Skullcap has both anti-spasmodic and nervine properties. It will help to relax both the muscles and the nerves, while also toning the nervous system.
- Valerian is a relaxing nervine herb with anti-spasmodic properties. It is one of the best herbs to take before going to bed to prevent nighttime muscle spasms.
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Using These Herbs
All of these plants are very beneficial, but how should they be used? For serious problems with muscular cramping that may be due to poor circulation drink an herbal infusion of cramp bark, ginger, and prickly ash. Drink this tea once a day for at least two weeks. To make an infusion steep two teaspoons in total of the dried herbs in one cup of boiling water for ten minutes.
For the occasional muscular spasm and for preventing future problems try cooking with ginger, garlic, and cayenne on a regular basis. You can also take cayenne-garlic capsules to safely and effectively maintain healthy blood circulation.
The best short-term muscle cramp remedy to stop cramping from occurring when you sleep is to drink a tea made with valerian or skullcap before going to bed. Also, spend at least five minutes massaging the muscles that tend to cramp, such as the legs or feet.
All of these herbs for muscle spasms are safe for general use, but always talk to your doctor before using herbal medicine if you are pregnant, on prescription medications, or if you have a serious medical condition. Also, if cramping persists even after home treatment make sure you see your doctor as the problem could be due to a serious disorder.
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Mayo Clinic <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/muscle-cramp/DS00311/DSECTION=causes>
Balch, Phyllis A. "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).
Hoffmann, David. "The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies." (Element Books, 1996).
Page, Linda. "Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone, 11th Edition" (Traditional Wisdom, 2003).
photo by Rachel Davies
photo by Elenadan
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