A sudden, involuntary, and unnatural muscular contraction. [SNH p.45]


Spasms may arise from calcium deficiency, panic, fear or overeating. [SNH p.45]

Herbal Aids:

General Instructions: If the spasm is in a muscle and easy to reach, a good nervine (especially wormwood oil) as a liniment massaged into the problem area will give quick relief. For internal spasms (such as in the stomach area) give a few drops of lobelia tincture each half hour. [SNH p.45]

About Antispasmodics and What They Do: Antispasmodics are herbal agents that prevent or relieve excessive contractions (spasms) or the voluntary or involuntary muscles in any part of the body. Many function by stimulating the higher nervous, coordinating, and power centers (the nervines); others by depressing all of the vital functions (lobelia, American hellebore, etc.); and a number stimulate the muscular fibers of the intestines to expel gaseous accumulations (asafoetida, valerian, wild yam, cajuput, etc.). The majority of these herbs act upon the functions of deranged nerves, and relieve nervous tension and irritability caused by irregular and painful action of the muscles. These herbs are most effective in cases of suspended animation or locked joints, so they are especially useful as anti-tetanus agents. [SNH p.369]

About Scullcap and How it Works: Scullcap is one of the best nervine agents that nature provides. It is as stimulating to the nerves as quinine, but lacks the harmful side--and aftereffects. It is especially calming and nutritive in neurasthenic conditions (neural conditions characterized by emotional conflict, worry, disturbances of digestion and circulation, etc.). It is an excellent antispasmodic agent for restlessness, tremors, spasms, twitching of the muscles, and hyperesthesia (hyper-sensitivity). Dr. Nowell asserted that: "It will influence the spinal cord and the sympathetic nervous system (supplying the various involuntary organs and blood vessels) as well as the brain, bringing to all a tonic influence which is quite permanent. . . It tones and soothes the nervous system, and, without any narcotic properties, quiets the patient and often brings about quiet, natural sleep." Dr. Shook concluded: "Scullcap is a slow-working, but sure remedy for practically all nervous affections, but it must be taken regularly for a long period of time to be of permanent benefit." [SNH p.370]

About Cramp Bark: Cramp bark is highly regarded as an antispasmodic agent. It is considered one of the best female regulators and relaxants of the ovaries and uterus, and is highly effective in preventing abortions due to nervous affections during pregnancy. Cramp bark will speedily quiet the uneasiness and relieve the pains of uterine and abdominal cramps, and is a remedy for nervous disorders and spasms of all kinds. [SNH p.392]

Using Tinctures (often rectally) for Spasms: These are often used in the anus to save lives, because after a person has gone into spasms or convulsions, nothing can be put into the body through the mouth. Never use a tincture at full strength, always dilute. Be very careful, for, although the tincture injection will not do any critical damage, it may cause inconvenience. With the average tincture (the way we make them to be administered per rectum), the dilution should be 1 teaspoonful to each cup of water or tea combination. [SNH p.495]

Sassafras: Pains and spasms in the region of the hearty flatulence. Give the warm infusion. [SNH p.79]

Tansy: Take the infusion, making sure to preserve the volatile essential oils which possess much of the medicinal potency for these problems. [SNH p.123]

Thyme: Give a cold infusion. [SNH p.227]

Catnip: Give 2 tablespoonfuls frequently; children: 2-3 teaspoonfuls. [SNH p.236]

Babies Soothing Syrup (stomach and bowel pains, aches, cramps, colic, spasms, convulsions, flatulence, common ailments): See formula using parsley seed, caraway seed, rhubarb, cinnamon bark, sugar, essence of peppermint and water. [SNH p.248]

European Pennyroyal: Give the infusion in teacupful doses, repeated frequently (every 1-2 hours), and when the herb is unavailable, 1-3 drops of the oil in warm water is excellent. [SNH p.283]

Rue: Chew 1-2 freshly-picked leaves. NEVER TAKE RUE IF YOU ARE PREGNANT. [SNH p.295]

Syrup of Motherwort: See formula using motherwort, distilled water and yellow D sugar. [SNH p.299]

Asthmatic Spasms (inhalant): See formula using life root, mouse ear and wormwood. [SNH p.302]

Lobelia: Thomson writes: In cases where the spasms are so violent that they are stiff, and the jaws become set, by pouring some of this liquid into the mouth between the cheek and teeth, as soon as it touches the glands roots of the tongue, the spasms will relax, and the jaw will become loosened so that the mouth will open; then give a dose of it, and as soon as the spasms have abated, repeat it. . . . [SNH p.361]

Painful Cramps and Spasms: Give one teaspoonful of Antispasmodic tincture in 1/2 cup of sweetened warm water. This action will take about 15 seconds. [SNH p.363]
Jamaica Ginger: Muscle spasms and irritations. Use in a liniment or plaster. [SNH p.414]

Stomach Comfort: Dr. Christopher's Catnip and Fennel Tincture:  A blessing for infants. A fine combination for colic, biliousness, flatulence, spasms, etc. Use a few drops, or as much as needed, when desired. [HHH p.196]

Anti-Spasmodic Formula: Dr. Christopher's Anti-Spasmodic Tincture:  Consists of skullcap herb, lobelia, cayenne, valerian root, skunk cabbage, gum myrrh, and black cohosh. To be used in cases of convulsions, fainting, cramps, delirium tremors, hysteria, etc., also good for pyorrhea, mouth sores, coughs, throat infections, tonsillitis, etc. Dose 1/2 to one teaspoon to glass of steam distilled water as a gargle and use until throat clears, also take one teaspoon in steam distilled water morning and evening. [HHH p.195] For baby convulsions, place a drop or two of the tincture on the tip of a clean finger and place it in the baby's mouth. This should stop the spasms immediately. The antispasmodic tincture, which combines equal parts of Lobelia, scullcap, skunk cabbage, gum myrrh, black cohosh, and a half part of cayenne, is even more effective. This is also used by the teaspoonful in sweetened warm water for painful spasms of any kind in the body. It should relieve attacks of epilepsy, lockjaw, delirium tremens, fainting, hysteria, suspended animation, etc. (SNH:363). [UW-Lobelia]


Lobelia: Most people agree that Lobelia is a specific treatment for asthma, as well as other bronchial or spasmodic troubles. Because the herb removes obstructions, giving it when an attack comes on will often cause vomiting; matter will accumulate in the stomach which will cause obstructions. When the person vomits, it removes the intestinal blockage and often removes the mucus accumulations in the bronchial system as well. Dr. Nowell told the story of a woman who at forty years old was pregnant with her first baby. She was suffering terribly with asthmatic spasms, unable to lie in bed, fighting for breath; both she and her husband begged their doctor to stop the cough. They were told that nothing could be done until the child was born.

Dr. Nowell gave them a bottle of tincture of Lobelia, telling her to take a teaspoonful whenever the coughing began. The next morning, the patient told the Doctor that almost immediately after taking the first dose, the patient brought up long, thick masses of phlegm from the lungs the size of a man's fist. No further dose was taken and the patient never had a trace of any chest trouble since and lived a long and fruitful life (Klo:272). [UW-Lobelia]

See Also:

Anti-Spasmodic Formula: Dr. Christopher's Anti-Spasmodic Tincture
Stomach Comfort: Dr. Christopher's Catnip and Fennel Tincture

"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"