Leg cramps are the painful result of muscle contraction in the calf, thigh or quadriceps and can result from a sport injury or other strain. When not from an obvious exertion, doctors are not always sure why they occur, although naturopaths blame dehydration and lack of minerals. Cider vinegar is fermented apple juice and contains small quantities of minerals including calcium and potassium. Naturopaths believe that when taken with water and honey, cider vinegar relieves muscle cramps.
Night-time Leg Cramps
The elderly, often suffer from leg cramps in bed at night. Although doctors are not sure of the cause, some heart medications may sometimes be the culprit. Dr. Martin Scurr, General Practitioner and Health Writer for the UK Daily Mail newspaper says many drugs, including the malarial drug quinine and also diazepam, have been prescribed to help leg cramps, but he warns against the side effects and recommends regular exercise and a warm bath before bed. If the condition persists, see your doctor.
From gardeners to athletes repetitive strain injury is a common condition, caused by constantly using the same muscles over and over. The result can be muscle strain and painful cramps. Massage may help, but for long-term relief, Margaret Hills, State Registered Nurse and author of "Cider Vinegar," June 2003, says a dairy-free diet with no animal fat and lots of green salads, combined with 2 tsp. of cider vinegar diluted in water twice daily, will "dissolve acid crystals in the blood" and provide potassium, calcium and other essential minerals to the body needed to ease the leg cramps.
Take care when taking cider vinegar over long periods. Always dilute the cider vinegar in plenty of water and, as with citrus fruits, the acetic acid in vinegar can erode tooth enamel if not properly cleaned off, so always remember to rinse your mouth well after a cider vinegar drink, especially before bed.
Warm Vinegar Compress
Christine Halvorson, author of the book "Heinz Vinegar: Over 100 Helpful Household Hints" 2010, says that muscle cramp and leg strain can be eased by wrapping the affected area in a warm cloth soaked in strong vinegar. Rest and repeat every 20 minutes. There is no scientific evidence that this works and if the condition persists, consult a doctor.
Despite anecdotal success with cider vinegar for leg cramps, from Hills and Halvorson, there is little scientific evidence to back it up. Always dilute the cider vinegar in warm water and add a teaspoon of honey to improve the flavor. To prevent leg cramps, lead an active, healthy lifestyle, avoiding fatty foods. For persistent leg cramps, consult with a physician and check before using cider vinegar in case it clashes with a condition you have or medication you take.