Get all the latest from Natural Health Techniques delivered directly to your inbox when you join our newsletter here.

Stay in touch:

Sign up for occasional updates/videos/tips/specials and receive the Fast-Start Bonus Report with or 150 Tips and Tricks to optimize your health today!

Nightshades in the diet

It has been several years now that I had discovered on my own that I was allergic to the solanaceous family (the nightshades). Nightshades include: Potato, tomato, eggplant, peppers (both sweet and hot varieties), tomatillo, mustard greens, tobacco, mandrake, nightshade, belladonna, garden huckleberries and ground cherries.

I was discussing this controversy with a client a while back and she sent some links which I have listed at the bottom of this article summary. So I’ve been validated—but it doesn’t make things easier. . . especially if you go out to eat or socialize at all. Nightshades are in all the “favorite” dishes.


Some of the nightshades.

Picture Reference for nightshades:

Here’s a summary of that article:

Nightshades and why to avoid them:

Nightshades contain nicotine (solanine), and tomatine which all block acetylcholine at the nerve ending. Small doses of nicotine affect the brain to produce calmness but larger doses cause overstimulation of the nerves which can lead to muscle weakness, muscle twitching, hypertension, increased intestinal contractions and increased secretions of tears, sweat, saliva, gastric and intestinal glands.

Fun Facts about Nightshades

  • Macrobiotic dieters do not eat nightshades.
  • Tomatoes are listed on the AVOID list for ALL blood types.
  • If we were to have discovered the nightshades in today’s world, the FDA would have a law against eating them because they are too high in acetylcholinesterase inhibitors which is the substance solanaceous plants contain that negatively affects our nervous systems.
  • To make matters worse, non-organic vegetables are often sprayed with organophosphates and carbamates that also work as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. These substances were used in World War II as nerve gas. Organophosphates were used by livestock farmers years back as growth-promoters.
  • Because these substances cause muscle weakness and increase secretions of digestive fluids, this causes the animal to exercise less and eat more, thereby fattening them up more quickly.
  • If a human ate eight cigarettes and had never smoked, this would most likely be a lethal dose. Livestock can be poisoned (and die) if they eat too many nightshade leaves (including tomato leaves).

People with the following diseases often find that eating nightshades makes their symptoms worse:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma (especially evident during sleep)
  • Eczema and Psoriasis
  • Smokers (those trying to quit may have better luck detoxing by eliminating nightshades)
  • Cystitis and interstitial cystitis
  • Lupus
  • People who are receiving chemotherapy

Potatoes: If the potato has green skin or black streaks through it or tastes bitter when tasted raw (after being peeled) you should throw it out. It has too much solanine poison in it to be safe. Pregnant women should not eat potatoes as it has been associated with headless babies (anencephaly) and spina bifida.  I tried to find a picture of the headless baby, but . . .oh. . . I’m just kidding. How sick is that!? . . . (I now hear one of my brothers saying, “It’s not funny, Denice!” I’d respond by saying, “Lighten up.”)

The highest incidence of spina bifida occurs in Ireland where wet climate encourages late potato blight. Eating potatoes with no green skin is much safer–store potatoes in brown bags and in a dark place so the skins don’t turn green.

Peppers and capsicums were rare in the Western diet until the 1980s. Now they are widely available. Peppers contain solanine and solanadine which are nicotine compounds unique to nightshades.

Nomato products are an alternative for tomato products. They contain no tomato. Purchase them in your local health food store or Co-op. Here’s the link for Nomato products: Nomato is made from vegetables and seasonings (carrots, beets, onions and spices). It contains no soy, dairy, wheat, gluten, nuts and of course no tomato.

I found this alarming (from the Whole Foods website): “Some researchers have speculated that nightshade alkaloids can contribute to excessive loss of calcium from bone and excessive depositing of calcium in soft tissue. For this reason, these researchers have recommended elimination of nightshade foods from the meal plans of all individuals with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other joint problems like gout.”

One common question I get often these days is, “Are purple potatoes OK to eat them?” No. Sorry.

It’s always so amazing to see people purchase all these plants from our nursery stock every year (in great quantities I might add). I guess some people are luckier and have fewer allergies than I do.

I’m still trying to picture the headless baby. Hmmm. Moving on now.

Helpful links and references on Nightshades and their associated alkaloids:

Thanks to Trish LeClair for sending the following links: