Pearl City’s anti-cramp super sauce: Shoyu

Pearl City's Sarah Domingo has a unique liquid she drinks during each changeover during a match. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Down South, some folks remedy a case of muscle cramps by drinking pickle juice.

Pickle juice, the sour, tart and salty stuff that most people toss out when the jar is empty of actual pickles. It works to varying degrees, though some will say that it is not a permanent, effective treatment, not like magnesium — from dark green, leafy vegetables and nuts.

Chicago Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel dealt with cramping issues in 2016 by following doctor’s orders. He ate potato chips during his rehab, and also consumed a bag of potato chips, laden with sea salt, in the dugout during each of his starts.


At Pearl City, where senior Sarah Domingo recently captured her fourth OIA girls championship, the Chargers believe in something more unique to local culture. They tank mouthfuls of shoyu. Soy sauce. During matches. On the court. Coach Kyle Miyashiro and his players swear by the curative effects.

“Sarah drank a lot of Gatorade before and throughout the tournament. We carry shoyu in a bottle. Every changeover (between odd games) she’ll drink it,” Miyashiro said. “I can’t remember who told me this, but we always carry it now.”


The brand doesn’t matter as much as the levels of certain elements. The Mayo Clinic website says, “…too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to cramps.”


Bananas? Potassium. Potatoes? Potassium. Sodium has been used as an anti-cramping agent since forever, when football players were treated with salt tablets — nasty and potent as the little pills were — with regularity.

Miyashiro says mustard is supposed to have good effect on cramps, but he hasn’t tried that. Shoyu does the job, he says.

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