Muscle cramps, squirmy legs, and achy joints. There’s all sorts of leg issues that keep us awake at night. You can find all sorts of pills that attempt to address the issue, but the effects tend to be short-term and troublesome.
Natural remedies used to be quackery, but now they’re being looked at as the only real solution. As you’ll see, sleep-stealing leg issues have healing solutions and soothing remedies which may meet our doc’s approval.
1. Aches and Pains
There are various sprains and strains, but they generally revolve around tension, inflammation from injury, or soreness and stiffness from a solid muscle workout. In the case of general aches and pains, there are some practical remedies that may reduce the pain and speed up the healing, so we can sleep through the night.
However, they’re especially relevant to muscles because calcium, magnesium, and potassium play a role in hydration and muscle function. Naturally, they help us to minimize cramps and tightness. Another great mineral for muscle health is zinc. Zinc is necessary for the division and growth of cells, so it can enhance healing and cellular health.
Contractions within the muscles can cause teeth-gritting spasms and cramps. Antispasmodic herbs can help by acting to relieve the tension which causes these painful spasms. One of the highest recommended herbs for tension and anxiety is Skullcap — an antispasmodic which doubles as a nervous system supporting nervine herb.
Other quality antispasmodic herbs include peppermint, chamomile, catnip, rosemary, and valerian. Many of these can be taken internally, but you always want to do your research before jumping on that bandwagon. Use them in their essential oil form, and you’ll have effecting and fast-acting results without all the worry and research.
Osteoarthritis, Psoriatic arthritis, Reactive Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Septic Arthritis, or Gout — all of these arthritic conditions come with painful inflammation of compromised cartilage. These conditions have various causes like injury, diet, autoimmune disease, and worn-down connective tissues. All of these can lead to a radiating ache in joints which poses a major threat to a night’s sleep . Ironically, a cup of soup may be the ultimate night cap.
Natural remedies for arthritis
This soup is super-trendy and super-pricey, but it’s also super-great for joints. The minerals in the bones that are boiled seep into the broth, then they can then be sipped for your own bone health.
As Dr. Kellyann Petrucci explains, bone collagen contains the amino acids proline and glycine which are used to build and maintain joint tissues. Bone broth also contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which is great for non-inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis. It also has Type II collagen, which scientists have seen work wonders against the inflammation of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Other herbals worthy of your home arthritis treatment include essential oil of frankincense, ginger, yarrow, helichrysum, and chamomile. These medicinal plants have proven their worth in studies and in treatment plans by “rebel” health-promoting doctors.
3. Restless Leg Syndrome
I know, Restless Legs Syndrome sounds like the most ridiculous disorder. There was a time where I was convinced it was a disorder of imagination delusion. Then I got pregnant. Each and every pregnancy, RLS had me squirming and tossing in bed in borderline insanity. RLS is indeed a real disorder, and it can have very frustrating symptoms and side effects. Try to stop the insanity with these natural remedies so you can catch some zzz’s and maintain half a brain for work.
Natural remedies for restless leg syndrome
Essential Oils: Essential oils of circulation-stimulating herbs can also help RLS (see Varicose Veins for ideas). The essential oil of antispasmodic and analgesic plants — like those mentioned under the “Aches & Pains” section — can also help to RLS symptoms. Peppermint, rosemary, chamomile, tansy, and lemon balm are all worth trying. For the best results, consider pairing oils with yoga and yogic breathing. to stretch out muscles and boost oxygen circulation.
Vitamins: RLS has been linked to nutritional deficiencies. The most prominent vitamins associated with RLS are magnesium, iron, and folate (aka vitamin B9). Magnesium is involved in over 300 cellular processes in the body, including muscle function.
As for iron, it’s needed in order to create the red blood cells which transport oxygen throughout our bodies. Finally, folate, is used for metabolic processes and for maintaining the nervous system. Legumes like lentils, pinto beans, and peas happen to boast all three of these vitamins. A salad with 1-2 cups of spinach can also get you a healthy serving of all three RLS soothers.
4. Tendinitis (tendonitis)
Tendons bundle our bones and muscles together, so they’re really great things to have. But when they become irritated or inflamed, tendons can turn into sleep-depriving sinewy cords of pain. Tendinitis can cause pain in the knees and ankles, as well as in the shoulders, wrists, and elbows.
Let the condition go on too long, and inflamed tendons can rupture and lead to pain that is beyond hellacious. If you think you’re in the tendinitis boat, set yourself an appointment with the old doc and try out these remedies while you wait.
Natural remedies for tendinitis
Comfrey: Using an herb to treat tendons seems like a long shot, but comfrey is the real deal. It’s actually a folk remedy for broken bones. People found it so effective, comfrey was nicknamed “knitbone.” It’s loaded with healing allantoin and packs anti-inflammatory compounds which work wonders in wounds and bones alike.
Comfrey leaves can be used as a poultice and applied to the affected tendons. It’s a cheap buy and it’s safe for external use. What’s there to lose? Except for pain and sleeplessness, of course.
Analgesic Essential Oils: An analgesic has the ability to relieve pain. In pharmaceutical terms, this means blocking off neuron receptors and tweaking signal pathways. In the essential oil realm, this means delivering powerful compounds which soothe the pain. In some instances, they can actually help heal the condition.
Science-backed essential oils for pain include lavender, marjoram, clove, and frankincense. Other essential oils with analgesic properties include chamomile, eucalyptus, helichrysum, peppermint, wintergreen, and rosemary.
5. Varicose Veins
A normal vein keeps blood flowing smoothly in one direction. When veins are compromised in shape or function, the valves within the vein can cause blood to collect. This is how varicose veins develop. They’re most common in the legs, and that can mean big trouble come nighttime.
Varicose vein complications include swelling, pain, fatigue, and slow-healing wounds. Varicose veins are at risk of developing into a much more serious condition known as Deep Vein Thrombosis, so they’re not something to brush off and ignore. Treatment generally involves a vein-stripping surgery.
However, surgery or not, natural remedies should be a part of any treatment plan. The veins became compromised for a reason, so this issue needs to be addressed if future varicose veins are to be avoided.
Natural remedies for varicose veins
Venotonic Herbs: A varicose vein is a compromised vein. A compromised vein can be due to a variety of factors, but there’s one thing for sure — it’s lacking strength and vitality.
Venotic herbs can help vein problems by strengthening and revitalizing the veins, capillaries, and blood vessels of the circulatory system. Butcher’s broom, horse chestnut, and bilberry can improve the health of veins and enhance circulation, to reduce sleep-depriving symptoms and help keep veins from getting worse.
Circulatory Stimulants: Essential oils and herbs that stimulate circulation work by increasing and improving the activity of the circulatory system. Varicose veins obviously inhibit circulation, but they’re also linked to issues involving poor circulation like obesity, pregnancy, and sedentary lifestyles.
Needless to say, healthy circulation is of the utmost importance. Cypress essential oil presently takes first place as the top circulation enhancer. Yarrow, rosemary, ginger, and black pepper also have excellent reputations as circulation enhancers. Like cypress, they’re available as potent and concentrated essential oils which can be diluted in carrier oil and applied directly to the area.
That sums up our list of remedies for leg-based sleep troubles. If you want to learn more about the safe use of medicinal plants and their scientifically-verified potential, here’s a list of quality resources to get you started….
Ash Stevens is a mother, writer, and a wannabe shaman. She loves health, gardening, simplicity, culture, chocolate, and sarcasm. If she isn’t writing or talking family and relationships on her blog, then she’s surely playing badminton with the kids.