Cramping can occur in any hollow organ of the body, but here we are primarily dealing with spasms in the digestive tract
Causes are many, including indigestion, infection or inflammation anywhere in the intestinal tract. Infantile colic, due to weak digestion, food allergies and gas formation, is a trial for both mother and baby. In adults, a variety of irritants can cause acute cramps, while chronic gut toxicity causes cramps relating to dysbiosis, irritable bowel, and colitis. In all cases, underlying causes need to be addressed while painful spasms are being alleviated.
Antispasmodic herbs can provide a simple and non-toxic approach to calming painful cramps and colic. Such herbs are often nervines as well, providing sedative and calming effects for jangled nerves.
Other needed herbs are also carminatives, helping expel excess gas and digestive tonics with anti-inflammatory effects. Deeper problems can be improved with herbal detoxification programs for the intestines and liver. In colic, food allergies in the baby, or in a mother who is breastfeeding, need to be identified and eliminated, until the immune system can be re-regulated to eliminate these sensitivities. The same holds true for adults.
- Drink plenty of fluids and oral re-hydration solutions as electrolyte loss and dehydration are the most common causes of muscle cramps. Drinking liquids like caffeinated drinks or alcoholic drinks do not constitute towards your fluid intake as these are diuretics and will actually have the opposite effect on your system.
- Stretching your muscles gently with light exercise like riding a stationary bicycle for a few minutes before going to bed can help loosen up and strengthen the muscles. This would greatly limit the occurrence or severity of night leg cramps.
- Anise-Pimpinella annum
- An important infant and child remedy for colic and general cramping.
- Antispasmodic and carminative, eases nausea, indi gestion, bloating.
- Safe, gentle, tasty; can work via the breast milk. Improves appetite.
- Caraway-Carum care
- Similar to fennel and anise relieves intestinal colic or cramps associated with gas, bloating, digestive upset, nausea, and indigestion.
- Gentle enough for children, also good for menstrual al cramping.
- Catnip-Nepeta Catarina
- Relieves intestinal spasm and gas, diarrhea; mild relaxing effect.
- Relieves upset stomach, indigestion. Safe in chil dren and the elderly.
- Is especially effective for the intestinal or gastric upset of a nervous origin.
- Gentle and calming; sedates anxiety, reduces fever r, eases headaches.
- Multi-vitamin and mineral supplements may help, but should only be taken after consulting with a nutritionist or doctor for the appropriate dosage. Calcium, potassium, and magnesium deficiencies are often the cause of night leg cramps.
- Chamomile-Matricaria Recutita
- Effective antispasmodic and colic remedy soothes indigestion; anti- inflammatory and
- antiseptic. Calms irritability, restlessness, insomnia.
- Antidotes effects on a nursing child of coffee or d rug use by a mother.
- Cramp Bark-Viburnum Populus
- Stronger antispasmodic than black haw; relieves p ainful cramping in abdomen, stomach, uterus or bladder. Relieves back pain, neuralgia.
- Effective for menstrual cramps, false labor pains. Helps with leg cramps.
- Dill-Anethum graveolent
- Relieves intestinal spasms, cramps, infantile col ic and indigestion.
- Dispels gas and calms and improves the digestion; antibacterial action.
- Increases breast milk, which carries antispasmodic c effects to the infant.
- Fennel-Foeniculum Vulgare
- Stimulates digestion, relieves colic, flatulence, bloating and distension.
- Like anise and caraway, also used in coughs, as an n antispasmodic and expectorant. Increases breast milk; has a reputation as a longevity herb.
- Kava Kava-Piper methysticin
- Muscle relaxant and antispasmodic for internal or gans and muscle tension. Sedative pain and cramp reliever, reduces sensitivity to pain.
- Strongly reduces anxiety, relieves sleeplessness, is a mild antiseptic.
- Lemon Balm-Melissa Officinalis
- Eases cramps and spasms, gas and bloating, indige stion and colic pains, gastric acidity. Useful for problems related to stress and anxiety.
- A good children’s herb; soothes anxiety, irritability, restlessness.
- Licorice-Glycyrrhiza glabrate
- Demulcent and anti-inflammatory, decreases the sp asms of gastritis or intestinal
- distress relieves stomach ulcers and body’s stress response.
- Mild laxative, assists in the body’s clearing of poorly digested foods.
- Peppermint-Mentha piperta
- Digestive antispasmodic; relieves colic, spasm, s pastic constipation.
- Carminative, dispels gas and distention, with pain n-relieving action.
- Stomachic, improves digestion, stimulates secretion on and bile output.
- Valerian-Valeriana Officinalis
- A sedative and antispasmodic, relaxing intestinal cramps, muscle tension. Relieves spasms and pain related to anxiety and emotional upset.
- For cramps with diarrhea, or after eating. Promot es restful sleep.
- Wild Yam-Dioscorea villa
- Important antispasmodic for cramps in any hollow organ; intestines,
- stomach or gall bladder spasm. For colic that is relieved by stretching.
- Helps with gas and flatulence, belching, indigestion ion, upset from tea.
- Yarrow-Achillea Mille folium
- A digestive antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.
- For cramping pains or stomachache, distension, or gas pain.
- A sedative and tranquilizing herb that promotes t issue healing.
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