Are nightshades causing your arthritis, chronic pain and inflammation?

Saturday, May 04, 2013 by: Elisha McFarland
Tags: arthritis relief, nightshades, inflammation

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(NaturalNews) Few people are familiar with the term nightshades, and many will be surprised to learn that consuming foods from this plant group may be contributing to their pain and inflammation. Nightshades belong to the Solanaceae family which includes over 2,000 species. They include some of the most popular foods consumed today, such as tomatoes, potatoes, all types of peppers, and eggplant. Not truly nightshades, blueberries, huckleberries, goji berries and ashwaganda contain the same inflammation-inducing alkaloids.

One of the major problems attributed to nightshades is arthritis. Statistics from a 2007-2009 study show that arthritis affects 49.9 million people in the United States alone. Some researchers believe that arthritis is often misdiagnosed in people who may in fact be experiencing the side effects of nightshade consumption. Many who suffer with arthritis or an arthritis related disease such as lupus, rheumatism, and other musculoskeletal pain disorders, have found that consuming foods from the nightshade family is in fact adversely affecting their health.

Norman F. Childers, PhD, founder of the Arthritis Nightshades Research Foundation states: "Diet appears to be a factor in the etiology of arthritis based on surveys of over 1,400 volunteers during a 20-year period. Plants in the drug family, Solanaceae (nightshades) are an important causative factor in arthritis in sensitive people."

Three-month challenge

If you want to know if nightshades negatively affect you, take the three-month challenge. Avoid all nightshades for three months. (It's called a challenge for a reason). Be careful to note the nightshade list, and become a label reader as some homeopathics, prescriptions, over-the-counter medications as well as numerous processed foods contain nightshades. Prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines may require a discussion with your pharmacist or a phone call to the manufacturer of your over-the-counter medicines to determine ingredients.
After three months, begin to reintroduce one nightshade at a time. Take note of any aches, pains, stiffness, and loss of energy, headaches, respiratory problems or any other symptoms. You may find as many others have, that the quality of your daily health will dramatically improve after eliminating nightshades from your diet.

The nightshade list:

- artichokes
- ashwagandha
- cayenne pepper
- eggplant (aubergine)
- garden huckleberry and blueberries (contain the alkaloids that induce inflammation)
- goji berries
- gooseberries
- ground cherries
- okra
- paprika
- pepino melon
- peppers (all varieties such as bell pepper, wax pepper, green
and red peppers, chili peppers, cayenne, paprika, etc.)
- potatoes (all varieties, NOT sweet potatoes or yams)
- sorrel
- the homeopathic "Belladonna"
- tobacco
- tomarillos (a plum-like fruit from Peru)
- tomatoes (all varieties, including tomatillos)
- Soy sauce made in the U.S. is generally made with genetically modified (GMO) soy beans, which are cut with the nightshade plant Petunia.
- The condiments black/white pepper and pepper corns are not nightshades

Other ingredients and products to avoid:

- Homeopathic remedies containing Belladonna.
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications containing potato starch as a filler (especially prevalent in sleeping and muscle relaxing medications).
- Edible flowers: petunia, chalice vine, day jasmine, angel and devil's trumpets.
- Atropine and Scopolamine, used in sleeping pills.
- Topical medications for pain and inflammation containing capsicum (in cayenne pepper).
- Many baking powders contain potato starch.
- Don't lick envelopes, many adhesives contain potato starch.
- Vodka (potatoes used in production)

Read labels carefully because you could be doing everything else right, and still be sabotaged by one small amount of an ingredient. Never by a food that uses the generic term of seasoning or spices as it is likely to contain nightshades.

Sources for this article include: Journal of Neurological and Orthopedic Medical Surgery (1993) 12:227-231.An Apparent Relation of Nightshades (Solanaceae) to Arthritis Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation --- United States, 2007--2009
Potato glycoalkaloids adversely affect intestinal permeability and aggravate inflammatory bowel disease.

About the author:
After sixteen years of struggling with MCS, Elisha McFarland recovered her health through alternative and natural healing methods. It was this experience that encouraged her to pursue an education in natural health. She has received the following designations: Doctor of Naturopathy, Master Herbalist, D.A. Hom., B.S. in Holistic Nutrition, Certified Wholistic Rejuvenist and EFT-ADV. You can visit her website at:

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