Injury or over-exertion is one of the causes of aching legs. However, chronic pain and cramping of legs may indicate a serious medical condition such as peripheral artery disease. While it may not be fatal as the other diseases, aching legs can be relieved by some herbal remedies. Here are some herbs that can help in relieving legs cramps and pain.
Turmeric is a culinary herb used in curries and Indian dishes. It is also used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat diseases of the liver, kidneys and gallbladder. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants. Dr. Andrew Weil, a naturopathic medical doctor, recommends turmeric for all inflammatory disorders, including arthritis and tendonitis. However, he does warn that the herb can take up to two months to have an effect on the body. It is generally taken in capsule or tablet form, 400 mg, two or three times per day.
Bromelain is a digestive enzyme found in fresh pineapple. Used by the body to break down proteins, it also helps to stop inflammation. It is used by herbalists to treat sports injuries, arthritis, and other inflammatory disorders. It is believed to reduce swelling, bruising and improve healing time. The University of Maryland Medical Center cites one study which suggests that bromelain used along with additional enzymes trypsin and rutosid, is as effective as over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen. Taken in capsule or tablet form, the University of Maryland recommends 500 mg, up to four times per day.
Butcher’s broom, also known as box holly, is a shrub native to Europe. Used by herbalists for centuries to improve circulation and treat varicose veins, it is another natural anti-inflammatory. The Clayton College of Natural Health herb guide lists arthritis, gout and rheumatism among its key uses. Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center also notes it may be used for inflammation, circulatory disorders and leg cramps. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects and increase the flow of lymphatic fluid. Although more studies are recommended, Sloan-Kettering cites one which showed that butcher’s broom significantly improved venous insufficiency in the legs when compared to a placebo. The subjects were given 36 mg of butcher’s broom extract, twice daily.
Herbs Containing Magnesium
Supplemental magnesium may also help to relieve leg cramps. Sloan-Kettering explains that the mineral has natural analgesic effects and may also be beneficial for cardiovascular disease. In addition, it may be used in the treatment of osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, pre-menstrual syndrome, and general muscle cramps. The current recommended daily allowance is 350 mg; however, some studies have used as much as 485 mg per day. The herb alfalfa is rich in magnesium, as is black molasses, apricot and avocado.