How to Make a Lotion for Leg Cramps & Growing Pains

Homemade Lotion or Cream for Leg Cramps and Growing Pains

This lotion recipe came about as a solution to the growing pains my kids develop from time to time.

I infused oil with arnica, which is helpful for inflammation and joint pain, and comfrey leaf, which can be used to treat sprains, strains and other sore muscle woes.

The magnesium oil part came into play after a talk with our naturopath. My son had been experiencing some back pain during a growth spurt (he’s 13 and already 5’10”) so she suggested I try magnesium oil. It worked wonders on him after only two applications! (He routinely takes supplemental magnesium too.)

However, magnesium oil can be a skin irritant over time, so I wanted to cushion it in a skin soothing lotion or cream containing aloe. I rounded it out with a little bit of lavender essential oil, for relaxation, and peppermint essential oil, which is also good for muscle pain. (Plus it makes it smell good!)

So, that’s the story behind the recipe, now let’s get into how you can make your own!

 

How to Make Herbal Magnesium Lotion for Leg Cramps, Sore Muscles & Growing Pains


Lotion for Leg Cramps & Growing Pains

  • 3 ounces (85 grams) Arnica & Comfrey Infused Oil (See below)
  • 1/2 ounce (14 grams) Beeswax
  • 1/2 ounce (14 grams) Stearic Acid (a natural thickener)
  • 1.5 ounce (42 grams) Shea Butter (I used refined from BrambleBerry)
  • 1.5 ounce (42 grams) Magnesium Oil (You can buy some HERE)
  • 1.5 ounce (42 grams) Aloe Vera Gel (I got mine HERE)
  • optional: 2 teaspoons (8 grams) arrowroot powder (to cut oily feel)
  • a few drops each of peppermint & lavender essential oil
  • preservative (see tips section below)

First, you’ll need to make an arnica and comfrey infused oil. (You can also buy a ready made arnica oil at MountainRoseHerbs that will work perfectly in this recipe.)

Arnica & Comfrey

To make an arnica and comfrey infused oil, add 2 tablespoons dried arnica flowers and 2 tablespoons dried comfrey leaves to a pint jar. Cover with around six ounces of sunflower or olive oil, or until it reaches almost to the top.

Stir and set the jar down into a saucepan containing an inch or two of water, to form a makeshift double boiler. Heat the pan over lowish heat for two to three hours, keeping an eye on the water so it doesn’t evaporate out. Don’t let the oil get too hot or you will deep fry your herbs and ruin the batch!

After sufficient time has passed, strain the finished oil into a clean, dry jar. Shelf life for the oil is one year.

Now that the oil is infused, we can proceed with the recipe:

melting beeswax in makeshift double boiler

Step 1:

Place 3 ounces (85 grams) herbal infused oil, 1/2 ounce (14 grams) beeswax and 1/2 ounce (14 grams) stearic acid into a heat proof bowl or pyrex measuring cup.

Set the cup down into a saucepan that has a few inches of water in it. Place the pan over a medium low burner until the beeswax has melted.

 

Beeswax and oil mixture is barely setting up

Step 2:

Turn off the heat and stir in 1.5 ounces (42 grams) shea butter until melted. (Sometimes, shea butter gets grainy if it overheats, so this step can help circumvent that problem.) Take the pan off of the burner.

Remove the measuring cup from the pan and set it aside until it cools to body temperature and develops a light layer on top, where it’s starting to set up, but is still liquid underneath. (Like the picture above.)

While the wax mixture is cooling, measure and combine 1.5 ounces (42 grams) magnesium oil and 1.5 ounces (42 grams) aloe vera gel in a separate heat proof jar. Set the jar down into the pan of hot water you used to melt the beeswax for several minutes, to warm it up a bit. (Remember, the pan should be off of the burner at this point.)

 

beginning stages of mixing

Step 3:

Once your melted oil/wax/shea mixture and magnesium oil/aloe mixture are both around body temperature, you’re ready to mix!

Slowly drizzle the magnesium/aloe mixture into the oil while beating with a hand mixer. After about five minutes, stop, add the arrowroot powder (optional, will help cut down on any oily feel that homemade lotions can leave), any essential oils you want to use, and scrape down the sides.

 

Lotion is just thick enough to leave a brief light trace

Step 4:

Continue beating another three to five minutes, until the lotion starts to thicken and cool.

When you lift the beaters, you should see a very brief imprint or trace where they were, before it sinks quickly back into itself. (See photo above.)

 

Pour lotion into bottles or jars

Step 5:

The lotion will be thin at this point, so now’s the time to pour it into any container that you want to keep it in. After it sets up, it will be more like a thick lotion or thin cream. (You can use more liquid and less waxes in the recipe if you want an even thinner lotion.)

I happened to have used up almost every container in my house, while making Christmas presents for my family, but found two lotion bottles I had gotten from Bramble Berry ages ago. This size batch didn’t quite fill the both of them.

I later found an eight ounce cobalt blue glass jar, so squeezed the lotion out, re-beat it and added it to it. (I always like using glass over plastic whenever I can.) It didn’t completely fill the container though, so I’ll make a rough estimate that this recipe makes about six or seven ounces of finished product.

 

Leg Cramp Lotion

Further tips:

Never store lotions or creams containing water based ingredients (aloe and magnesium oil both are) in metal tins or they could rust.

Homemade lotions and creams are a lot more perishable than store-bought. Make small batches, store in the refrigerator and use them up within a week or so. To extend shelf life, add a nature-derived preservative, such as NataPres (made from a radish root ferment filtrate with honeysuckle and aspen bark extracts) or Leucidal Liquid SF (a probiotic-based ingredient created by the fermentation of Lactobacillus). The suggested rates of usage are 2% for NataPres or 2 to 4% for Leucidal Liquid SF. (You can read more on nature-derived preservative options HERE.)

To calculate the amount of preservative needed, add up the weight of the ingredients in a recipe by grams, then multiply by the recommended percentage. The total weight of this recipe is 247 grams x 2% (.02) suggested rate = 4.94 grams. I just round that to 5 grams of preservative.

Rub a small amount on legs, feet or back before bedtime and at other times during the day, if needed.

Chronic leg cramps can be a sign of other problems too, so if they keep up, get yourself checked out by your health care provider.

Growing pains too, have root other causes. HERE is a great post over at the Mommypotamus blog about other things that might help.

 

Did you enjoy this post on making a natural lotion for leg cramps and growing pains? If so, be sure to sign up HERE for my newsletter and get my latest DIY body care recipes, herbal projects, soap making recipes and a taste of my nerdy farm life sent straight to your inbox once per month! You can also find me on Pinterest and Instagram.

You may also like:

Dandelion Lotion Bars | Ginger Tincture | Aloe Rose Anti-Aging Cream

Dandelion Lotion Bars   How to Make a Ginger Tincture   Aloe Rose Anti-Aging Skin Cream

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51 Responses to How to Make a Lotion for Leg Cramps & Growing Pains

  1. Terry says:

    I have never gotten into this area of making things but looks like you know what you are doing. quite interesting

    • Jan says:

      Thanks Terry – It’s a bit of a learning curve to make creams & lotions, but once you get them down pat, they’re a lot of fun to make!

  2. Melanie says:

    This looks wonderful. I have some arnica oil already infused, so I may try this out. Heaven knows I ache after a day in the garden!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Melanie, I hope you like it! I find it helpful too for using on my neck after I’ve had to sit at a computer for a while, so using it for garden related aches sounds like a great plan!

  3. Jeanne Stolaas says:

    I like all the ingredients in this lotion but would like to make a body butter instead. Do you have a recipe that would make this thick enough for a butter?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Jeanne! To make it thicker, you could try reducing the liquid even further and increasing the amount of beeswax by half or maybe even a whole tablespoon. If you’d really like the benefits of magnesium to stay, then you could try completely dropping the aloe (since there are other skin soothing ingredients in the recipe.) That’s what I would do as a first test batch and then tinker around with it from there!

  4. Vicki says:

    I would love to make this lotion. Do you have a recommended source for dried arnica flowers and comfrey leaves? Thanks!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Vicki! I buy almost all of my dried herbs from MountainRoseHerbs.com or BulkHerbStore.com. Mt Rose has a larger selection, so you might want to check there first.

  5. rosette Vallente says:

    Can I buy here ready made product?

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  7. Margarita says:

    I am allergic to Shea butter. What would you recommend I could use in place of it?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Margarita! You could try mango butter or perhaps avocado butter instead. (You can find mango at MountainRoseHerbs.com and both types at BrambleBerry.com)

  8. Rhea says:

    Think I could use coconut oil instead of Shea butter? Might need more beeswax?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Rhea! I usually count coconut oil as a liquid oil instead of butter when it comes to substitutions, so I’m just not sure how it would do. You’d have to do some experimenting and tinkering to get the texture you want. More beeswax might work or perhaps less liquids. I think though that it would work, with some adjustments. This is a fairly thick lotion to start with, so you have some room to play!

  9. Victoria says:

    My son and I are allergic to aloe. Is it needed to make this? Is there something else I could use instead?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Victoria! I haven’t tried it, but I believe there’s enough other skin soothing ingredients in the recipe, where you could replace the aloe with distilled water instead.

  10. Beth says:

    I use doTerra lemon grass and fractionated coconut oil when I get a muscle spasm at night. It takes it away immediately. Just a few drops of doTerra Lemon Grass with about a 1/2 tsp doTerra fractionated coconut oil mixed in my hand and I rub it on and voila’ it’s gone. :)

  11. Jae says:

    Hi Jan,
    Could I used tapioca starch instead of arrowroot to cut the oily feeling? I have that on hand…..

    • Jan says:

      Hi Jae! Yes, you sure can. In fact, I think tapioca starch is supposed to work better than arrowroot. I ran out of tapioca starch quite a while back, so have been using arrowroot instead and kind of forgot it existed! I’ll try to go in today and update the post to reflect the substitution note. Thanks for asking and the reminder!

  12. Hi, this seems like a wonderful recipe and it would really help my daughter out as she’s experiencing growing pains in her knees. However, I feel this is too advanced for me not to mention I may not be able to find some of the ingredients at our local stores. Do you sell this? I feel this is the way to go that won’t waste product and ultimately help me.
    Thank you,
    Esmeralda

  13. John says:

    I suffer from “anxiety” in my shoulders at night. I think some folks refer to this as growing pains in children. Would this lotion be effective for treating this or would you recommend something else ? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi John! I think it’d be worth a shot to try. I have a friend that uses another version of this lotion that I make on her back after a day of gardening and says it helps her tremendously. You might want to look into magnesium supplements too. I hope that you’re able to find relief for your symptoms!

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  15. Dorn says:

    Wondering if I could use the Rosemary Antioxident for the preservative?

  16. JOAN Dundas says:

    where can I get these ingredients in Australia. Too expensive to get them overseas. Are they available in health shops. I would really like to make this growing pains recipe. Thank you.

    • Hi Joan! I’m afraid I’ve never been to Australia to know what types of supplies they have available in shops there. (Though I’d love to visit one day and see!) :) I agree that overseas shipping can be much too expensive.
      I’ve seen this place mentioned on a few sites & though I haven’t tried them myself, I know some reputable people that like them: http://www.newdirections.com.au

  17. Dorn says:

    Forgot to ask; How much of the NataPres would I use in your recipe if made the lotion using the amounts listed above? Thanks again. =^.^=

    • Hi Dorn, Thanks for asking – I forgot to add that part! You’ll want to add 5 grams of NataPres to the recipe. I just updated the post to reflect that information. :)

      “To extend shelf life, add a nature-derived preservative, such as NataPres (made from a radish root ferment filtrate with honeysuckle and aspen bark extracts) or Leucidal Liquid SF (a probiotic-based ingredient created by the fermentation of Lactobacillus). The suggested rates of usage are 2% for NataPres or 2 to 4% for Leucidal Liquid SF. To calculate the amount of preservative needed, add up the weight of the ingredients in a recipe by grams, then multiply by the recommended percentage. The total weight of this recipe is 247 grams x 2% (.02) suggested rate = 4.94 grams. I just round that to 5 grams of preservative.”

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  20. Silke says:

    Thank you for that recipe. I want to try this it but without the magnesium oil. Instead I would like to infuse different kind of herbs which have similar properties. Can I just skip the magnesium oil? And would I need to change any thing else regarding quantity because of that?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Silke! You should be able to substitute water (or more aloe) directly for the magnesium oil and make the recipe the same otherwise.

      As an alternative idea for you (and future comment readers), I’m currently making a version of this using emulsifying wax instead and really like that too.
      If anyone wants to try that, take the base of this recipe:
      https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/basil-anti-aging-face-cream/
      but adapt it to the ingredients in this Lotion for Leg Cramps & Growing Pains.
      So, for that version you could try:
      75 g liquid (water OR a blend of magnesium oil, aloe & water OR a blend of aloe & water)
      17 g herbal-infused oil (arnica, comfrey, dandelion, or other herbs for aches & pains)
      8 g Emulsifying Wax NF
      optional – 1 to 4 g of a nature-derived preservative
      peppermint & lavender essential oils

  21. Silke says:

    Thank you so much Jan! I will definitely take a closer look to that recipe too. Really excited to try one of them.

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  24. Cherie says:

    hi! Could I use vit e as a preservative? And is there an alternative to stearic acid? Thank you:)

    • Hi Cherie! Vitamin E is a great antioxidant, that will keep oils from going rancid as quickly, but unfortunately, it won’t kill mold or bacteria. I haven’t tried this recipe without the stearic acid (which helps it thicken up nicely). I do however, have a few lotion recipes, that you could adapt to include magnesium oil – to get the health benefits it offers.
      This one has beeswax, but no stearic acid:
      https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/aloe-mint-lotion/
      (instead of 1/4 cup mint tea, you could try 1/4 cup magnesium oil, you can also use shea/mango/cocoa or avocado butter)
      OR
      I have this one that uses emulsifying wax, instead of beeswax:
      https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/lavender-plantain-lotion/
      and instead of 5.5 tablespoons (75 ml) distilled water, use magnesium oil (or part magnesium oil and part aloe OR part magnesium oil and part water.)
      OR
      if you find another lotion recipe you like, you can always sub the magnesium oil for any or all of the water part of it.
      I hope that helps give you some ideas! :)

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  26. Karina Forero says:

    Hi I have been making magnesium lotion for over a year using emulsaifying wax and stearic acid. So I decided to use beeswax and borax for the second time and once again the lotion separated..I dont understand it..I try to fix it 3 times and it can be so frustrating..I have done it with just plain distilled water and this never happened. What cause the separation?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Karina! I agree that emulsifying wax is SO much easier than using beeswax & borax. I’ve found that if a lotion separates (with beeswax/borax), then try almost doubling the borax amount next time. Also, when using beeswax instead of e-wax, getting the temperature of the oil portion and the water potion to be almost exactly the same will help tremendously. I usually go for the oils and water being close to body temperature (I actually measure it with a digital thermometer that you’d use to check a kid for a fever) and try to have them within maybe 3 or 4 degrees of each other, max. A few times I’ve tried to speed through and mixed before the oils cooled enough and ended up with a mess. I’ve gotten to where I really prefer emulsifying wax these days because it’s a lot higher success rate! You can use any lotion recipe with it that you like, and just use magnesium oil & aloe in the place of water and if you’d like, an infused oil in place of the plain oil.

  27. Carline Roberts says:

    Loved the article on leg cramps

  28. Gisela says:

    I notice in some of your recipes you use Beeswax and Stearic Acid, newbie question over here, would you not be able to use just Beeswax? Im struggling with the scent that I think Beeswax is leaving behind in my lotions so maybe using less of it can help. THANKS!

    • Hi Gisela! I found that when I make lotion with just beeswax, it separates sooner than if I use stearic acid with it. (Neither one of those is a true emulsifier though – we just have to depend on a mechanical emulsion to hold everything together.)
      Lately, I’ve been using emulsifying wax NF (I buy a high quality brand from Mountain Rose Herbs that works really well) for making lotion instead of beeswax. It’s completely unscented, plus holds an emulsion MUCH better, so you might want to look into using that instead.
      Here’s a sample recipe using it:
      https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/lavender-plantain-lotion/
      You could also experiment with making your lotion with less beeswax and adding some emulsifying wax NF to the recipe, so it holds together better, has less scent, but still has beeswax in it (if you’d like to keep the beeswax in there.)

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