Night Shade Allergies

My mother is in the hospital with nightshade allergies, life threatening ones. She wanted to know what kind of reactions nightshades give people. And her doctor wouldn’t take my personal experiences, so I sent her some off the net.

What are my personal experiences? Trouble walking. Joint and muscle pain. Muscle weakness. Back aches. Back spasms. Severe head aches. Sore extremities. Pain. Lots of pain. Stomach upset. Rash. Skin splitting open when exposed to allergen. (Such as when cutting a tomato.)

If I avoid nightshades, I am much better off. But it is very hard to do.

Nightshade-family vegetables:
Eggplant, peppers (bell peppers, cayenne, chili peppers, paprika), potatoes, and tomatoes.
Not actually an allergic reaction. Solanine, a slightly toxic substance found in nightshades, doesn’t harm most people. It isn’t detoxified properly by some people; this is a genetic difference. Those folks get joint pain that may be diagnosed as arthritis, and muscular pain from nightshades. They may need to stay off of these foods for a few weeks or months to clear the solanine from their system.
Tobacco is in the nightshade family too, so it causes pain in the same way.

from Body Technician

Constipation or diarrhea, depression, tiredness, weight gain, headaches, joint pain, PMS — these and other low-grade, chronic reactions may be the result of one or more common food allergies or sensitivities. Allergies can affect almost any part of the body and you can develop an allergy to virtually any food. The most common food allergies are triggered by wheat, the nightshade family (cayenne, eggplant, tobacco, peppers, paprika, tomatoes and potatoes), peanuts, coffee, oranges, sugar, chocolate, eggs, soy, corn and milk (and milk products such as cheese).

from Fred a Care

My personal journey with pain began two decades ago, when my lower back started bothering me. At times, I could barely walk, and I vividly remember two occasions when muscle spasms “threw my back out” and I was unable to get out of bed to go the bathroom. (Anyone who has ever had muscle spasms shudders at the memory.) Coincidentally, the day after my last attack, I received the results of an allergy panel from my doctor, showing I am extremely allergic to garlic, and sensitive to almonds and chicken. I had been chugging down prodigious amounts of garlic prior to the attack, thinking that garlic was the quintessential health food. I immediately eliminated those foods from my diet, and my back was fine. Amazing!

Nutritionally trained physicians have tested several diet therapies, with varying degrees of success. Many people find relief by eliminating foods in the nightshade family, including eggplants, bell peppers, potatoes and tomatoes. The Dr. Dong diet eliminates all additives, preservatives, fruits, red meats, herbs, alcohol and dairy products.

Food allergies or sensitivities can trigger painful flare-ups in 20 – 60% of people with arthritis, according to a study published in Arthritis Today. (Dunkin, 1999).

from Inflammation News

Allergies to certain foods appear linked to rheumatoid arthritis, particularly those in the nightshade family of plants: tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, peppers and tobacco. Experiment by removing these foods, one at a time, from your diet. If your arthritis worsens and then improves after five or six days, you may indeed be allergic. See a doctor for a more complete allergy screening.

from Web Terrace

There are reports that belladonna [a nightshade] may cause decreased perspiration, vomiting, decreased flow of breast milk, headache, excitement, agitation, dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, unsteadiness, abdominal distention, reduced saliva, muscle tremor, rigidity, leg cramps, blurred vision, sensitivity to sunlight, slurred or meaningless speech, increased action of reflexes, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, abnormal heart rhythm, skin rash, dry skin, hives, rapid breathing, hallucinations, psychotic behavior, respiratory arrest, convulsions and coma.


Solanine is a substance found in nightshade plants, including tomatoes, white potatoes, all peppers (except black pepper), and eggplant. In theory, if not destroyed in the intestine, solanine could be toxic. A horticulturist, Dr. Normal Childers, hypothesized that some people with osteoarthritis may not be able to destroy solanine in the gut, leading to solanine absorption resulting in osteoarthritis. Eliminating solanine from the diet has been reported to bring relief to some arthritis sufferers in preliminary research.2 3 An uncontrolled survey of people avoiding nightshade plants revealed that 28% claimed to have a “marked positive response” and another 44% a “positive response.” Researchers have never put this diet to a strict clinical test; however, the treatment continues to be used by some doctors in people who have osteoarthritis. As with the Warmbrand diet, proponents claim exclusion of solanine requires up to six months before potential effects can be seen. Totally eliminating tomatoes and peppers requires complex dietary changes for most people. In addition, even proponents of the diet acknowledge that many arthritis sufferers are not helped by using this approach. Therefore, long-term trial avoidance of solanine-containing foods may only be appropriate for people with severe cases of osteoarthritis who have not responded to other natural treatments.

Most of the studies linking allergies to joint disease have focused on rheumatoid arthritis, although mention of what was called rheumatism (some of which may have been osteoarthritis) in older reports suggests a possible link between food reactions and exacerbations of osteoarthritis symptoms.4 If other therapies are unsuccessful in relieving symptoms, people with osteoarthritis might choose to discuss food allergy identification and elimination with a nutritionally oriented physician.

Titan Support

Other blog posts on this topic:
Night Shade Allergy Dangers
Night Shade Intolerance
Night Shade Food List
Night Shades, Solanine
Internet Comments on Night Shades
I recall why I started avoiding night shades.
Not mine, but referenced in one. Applied kinesiology can help you identify your food allergies.
Night Shades and history, a lighthearted comment.
Night Shades are High Phenol
Eating Allergies = Pain
Restaurant Foods that Aren’t Night Shades
Food Allergies, trying to figure them out and trying to live with them–outside of the hospital.

Please feel free to leave a comment describing your experiences with night shades. Sometimes it is good to know it isn’t just me.

54 thoughts on “Night Shade Allergies

  1. Pingback: My Own Thoughts » Eating Allergies = Pain

  2. I am allergic to nightshades in a very different way. They give me hallucinations, violent internal imagry, auditory distraction, mental instability. They are a daemonic portal!

    It’s like the very worst sort of bad drug trip, whenever someone so much as uses the same knife on a tomato as on my food.

    Avoiding nightshades is my life’s pursuit. I cannot function if I get “contaminated” – I’ve been in the crazy hospital for a few weeks. No one knew what it was!

    Taking some probiotics, miraculously, keeps the hallucinatory effects at bay (for the most part). All the stomach upset, nausea, skin rashes etc persist but that’s nothing compared to three days of depression/bi-polar/hallucinations!

    Good luck, and please contact me if you find more information on nightshades.

  3. i am not sure if i am allergic to night shades, and never heard of it, until i spoke to a co-worker who is allergic. i work on my feet all night, and i suffer from severe pain in my feet. i cannot stand in one place for more than twenty minutes. i am going to test the theories of others and try elimination the foods that cause the pain. i will be reading more and educating myself more, so that i can become pain free for life. thanks for all of your testimonials. they are very helpful.

  4. i’d like to ask what are some of the rashes that some get after consumption or how the body reacts….i’m trying a diet without nightshades now and my back rash is diminishing. slowly i’m finding that this may just be a food alergy. any help?

  5. About 5 years ago (after many years of wondering what was wrong with me) I found out about the reactions caused by nightshade plants. It was Christmas Eve and, as always, I made mashed potatoes to go along with the dinner. I love them and ate a lot! The next morning I could barely get down the stairs to be with my family while they opened their gifts. My hands were swollen, my knees were incredibly painful and I felt as though I had no control over most of the muscles in my body…I couldn’t even form words easily and I was exhausted. I went back to bed for the rest of the day and my Mom offered to make xmas dinner for me. Once again we had mashed potatoes. I came downstairs to eat, and yes, I had more potatoes. The next day I was worse. Could not even get out of bed. My Mom’s husband ( a longtime arthritis sufferer)came over to see me and when he looked at me he said it reminded him of himself after he would eat nightshade. We put it all together and realized it was the potatoes that were doing it to me. Ever since then when I mention it to people they think I’m nuts! Now my 16 year old daughter seems to be sensitive to nightshade as well. I do find that I get a similar reaction if I inadvertently eat anything with MSG in it. Has anyone ever heard of that??

  6. Yes, I have heard of people having allergic reactions to MSG. I have had it too, but not very often. For me it only happens if I am already overloaded with nightshades.

  7. You are not wrong with the MSG being a problem. My recommendation is to elimate the soy also and see how you feel. I too suffered for 2 1/2 years with pain that made me feel like I was dragging a dead body around. Somedays it was worse then others and Doctor after Doctor and test after test, all was fine. Nothing showed up. Through a fluke of beginning a herbal life diet, I found out first I was adversely affected by soy. Never had a problem in my life before with it. I looked through my pantry and eliminated everything that had soy it in and read information on the web. Then I was still feeling a lot of pain in my hips. I then learned about nightshade vegetables. I eliminated that, noticed I still had some pain and found two other food families I had to eliminate. Wow I can’t belive it is all related to food.

    What was great was everytime I felt something wasn’t right with my body, I would get confirmation from things I read on the web. Thanks goodness for google!

  8. I have a different reaction to nightshades, and it seems to be only peppers – red, yellow, orange, cayenne, anything – that cause the reaction. I am having a very difficult time finding anyone else who shares my reaction – my throat closes up, I get wheezy and raspy, and my head feels like a balloon that is floating away from my body. I wish I knew of some way to get rid of this or at least could talk to other people who have a similar experience. These foods are so hard to avoid at restaurants, and those lucky people who don’t have food allergies just don’t take them seriously. Trying to get your servers or your cooks to read the ingredients to you is sometimes like pulling teeth.
    Has anyone else experienced this type of reaction, or have any advice?

  9. Yes, Elizabeth. People have that reaction and I have advice.

    Tell the servers that you have a life threatening allergy. That should help them remember to leave off the peppers. You might want to mention that they can’t even touch your food. So if they forget and put peppers on, please make you a new plate.

    Advice: Get an epipen. The throat closing off is a huge danger. My mom has almost died several times from nightshade allergies such as you exhibit. So you need to get an epinepherine pen so that you can give yourself a shot if you are accidentally exposed.

    Try to stay away from those peppers. Eating at a steak house is unlikely to bring you into contact with peppers. Or at a hot dog place. Eat pizza. Eat hamburgers. Eat at a salad place where you make your own plates.

  10. Approximately one-third of all adults report that they suffer from some sort of adverse reaction to certain foods. Some reactions, generally characterized by severe symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, facial swelling or hives, are true allergies mediated by the body’s immune system. True food allergies can even result in death.

    Other reactions, like headache, indigestion, abdominal cramping, or minor rashes are usually termed “food intolerances” to distinguish them from the more severe and potentially life-threatening allergies.

    from The Natural Connection

  11. I have what seems like a food allergy that I am trying to isolate. I break out with hives or welts that can be anyplace on my body. Usually I break out on the top or lower half of my body. I welcome any help or comments.
    I have to take benadrill for relief.

    Thank you

  12. Suzi from The Natural Connection, please know that to those of us who suffer “food intolerances” they are just as severe and potentially life-threatening as any food allergy. Your comment was rather insensitive. Perhaps you’ve never stayed in a quiet, dark closet for three days because a careless restaurant employee did not heed your request to make sure there were no bell peppers in a particular dish. Migraine headaches brought on by food intolerance is perhaps even more serious to the sufferer than you would ever know.

  13. The difference between food allergy and food intolerance is the LEVEL of the pain, MusicCityGirl. If you are in a closet for three days, or a mental hospital for two weeks as my mother was, you do not have a food intolerance, you have a life-threatening allergy.

    I do not think that migraine headaches are minimal. My father had them and would get shots of morphine and still not be able to stand up.

    The quote from the Natural Connection was simply making a differentiation between intolerance and allergy.

    It may be an inaccurate differentiation; in fact I think it is, but it was a descriptive difference between food intolerance and food allergies.

    From my own personal experience, food intolerance can BECOME food allergies, if the food you are allergic to is not avoided. You can die because of something that used to just make you sleepy.

    So even food intolerances are important and can become life threatening.

  14. Allergies are a histamine reaction, that is why we get the watery eyes and nose or swelling. Whereas Nightshades cause a chemical reaction due to the many neurotoxins they contain such as solanine. Most people are experiencing an allergic reaction to nightshades but are reacting the toxins.

    Many people have many different levels of reaction to them.

  15. I have been sick for a long time, and did not know what was going on. I was crippled- but continued using tobacco, drinking beer and owning/working a pizza restaurant (hard work on my feet)and my favorite food was the eggplant. I was always super active – working out, home improvements, landscaping. Luckily, I never liked tomatoes, unless fresh native sliced thin with fresh mozzarella cheese. I never like any type of peppers (maybe green chilis) I don’t use the pepper shaker – I don’t like it. Now, I just find out from this site that potatoes are bad. I have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthitis and my thyroid is underactive. I have given up gluten to see if I wasn’t sensitive to that, but I think now that the potatoe is my enemy. Thank you.

  16. I know this post was a couple years ago but we are recently discovering more of my 2 year old daughter’s food allergies. Someone mentioned off-hand that a couple of the things she’s allergic to are in the night-shade family (tomatoes, potatoes) and now I realize why she has been reacting to foods I thought were “safe” – we were using spice mixes that did not contain wheat, tomatoes, eggs, etc, but they have peppers in it – chili pepper, bell pepper, paprika. I also made an eggplant lasagna before I made the nightshade connection and she was so miserable within about 15 minutes. Thanks for posting this and opening it up to comments – the more we share, the more we can start thinking for ourselves and choosing to be healthy.

    Her reactions to nightshade are diarrhea, rash, irritability, moodswings, aggression, instability, and as far as I can tell, joint pain and heachaches (she doesn’t quite understand yet how to communicate those things, but she frequently tells me her knee or her hand hurts, and she when she eats foods from the nightshade family, one of her most common reactions is intentially hitting her head on hard objects and surfaces, as if she’s trying to counter the pain). For me, it comes out as skin problems, fatigue, mood swings, acute and localized joint pain that shows up in different joints when I eat it, indigestion in all its various forms, clumsiness, hard time putting thoughts together and being able to say what I’m trying to say, and most difficult – impulsive/compulsive/addictive like behavior towards the food – craving it and eating it compulsively, potatoes especially, and finding it almost impossible not to eat it if it’s around, unless it’s been a very long time and it is out of my system. This is called a “brain allergy” and you should search it, the medical community if finally starting to accept that allergic reactions can occur in the brain. Basically, the food you eat causes a chemical reation in your brain resulting in addictive and/or bi-polar behavior.

    Thanks again!

  17. Actually my mother’s situation is an indication that long-term indulgence in allergy foods can severely disrupt your physical and mental health.

    My mom has been diagnosed with medically induced bipolar… But they don’t know why she has it. She is worse when she is eating lots of her allergy foods, though. (That seems to me to indicate that her bipolar is a result of her nightshade allergies.)

    Now when she eats the allergy foods (since she is on strong depressants to counteract her mania), she has incontinence. If she doesn’t eat them, she doesn’t. Yet she continues to eat them because they are all of her favorite foods.

    I still don’t totally avoid nightshades (though I should), but more than an occasional bite once a week gives me pains for a week. You might think that is enough to get me away from nightshades, but often it is not.

    However, I don’t want to end up like my mother in 16 years, so I am much less likely to indulge in nightshades than she is. And it is easy to tell when I have gotten too many, because my hands, feet, and/or other joints hurt.

  18. I was harvesting my potato plants and came in contact with the fruit of the potato – this is not the potato, but rather the fruit that comes after the plant flowers. I understand that this fruit is VERY toxic. Now I have a severe rash all over my face. There is very little info on skin rashes caused by the potato plant/fruit. I love potato’s, don’t have an allergy. but suspect that this rash comes from the plant/fruit. Does anybody know anything about this?

  19. Pingback: My Own Thoughts » Blog Archive » Nightshades Again

  20. Pingback: Tomato-Free “Marinara” Sauce « Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom

  21. I have overindulged on oreo cookies, never had a reaction before… but had hives last nite. Had to drive to store to get benedryl at 1:00 am. So, learning from this (i hope), what are foods I can eat to neutralize by body’s chemistry right now?..besides rice:)Thanks so much for your sharing.

  22. NIghtshades are cumulative in the body, thus making them more apparent in the blood system over time. There are some natural antidotes found in your gardening books under the heading of “plants that will not grow next to others.”
    I did some research this way and found that black walnut trees will not grow near nightshades, nor will mushrooms. By adding both of these two to your diet, you will eliminate alot of the nightshade poisoning. I worked with my mother and went off all nightshades for a year and a half only to find depletion in vitamins in the body being a problem. So decided that eliminating them was not the idea but to take in the antidotes of the black walnut and mushroom, thus got healthier and eliminated some of the effects of your nightshades. If someone wants to call and talk to me personally, I can tell them what I’ve done. (785) 410-9862 in Manhattan, Kansas. Thank you.

  23. My daughter and I get acne and stomach cramps from all nightshades, especially the spicy ones. Every problem we have ever had was eliminated by eliminating certain foods. Wheat and dairy are the biggest offenders but legumes and nightshades are a big problem too.

  24. I am trying a nightshade free diet for my skin.Have been at it approx 2 weeks & the rough,sandpapery skin on my palms is almost back to normal.I think that I’ve had it for a couple years,since I became a salsa & hot sauce nut.I had been putting lots of salsa on eggs,potatoes,in lentil soup,etc.,1/3 cup or so daily,frequent baked & mashed potatoes,also. Now I need to get rid of all the tomatoes in the pantry!

  25. I am one of those who react to nightshades with erratic heartbeat, tachycardia runs, pounding pulse in head to the point of extreme pain, pain in shoulders, arms, wrists and hands. Generally lasts for about 3-4 hours. Bad stuff.

  26. Nightshade foods caused my son’s benign myoclonic seizures. He also has Down Syndrome. Despite my insistence, his neurologist told me diet had absolutely nothing to do with it. I knew it was food related but it took me 8 months to narrow it down to nightshades! And within one week of being nightshade free, he was seizure free – and his cognitive & motor development took off at at phenomenal rate! All his delays are blamed on Down Syndrome . . . seeing how he’s progressing being nightshade free, all of us here wonder if there’s more to the nightshade effect than we think.

  27. have some phenom as described, mostly arthritis but including stomach and other. have never excluded peppers, eggplant(not liking taste sometimes); like blt sand.
    do not know if it would be productive to launch on n.shade-free diet and am interested in any new twists.
    again, i have had intestinal probs, menstrual cramps, mood changes,sensitivity to caffeine. have always liked milk and wonder if that is causing any ill effects.


  28. Yes arthritis and stomach symptoms might be a nightshades issue.

    I have milk allergies. Those just make me tired.

  29. i’m grateful for your answer and still getting self together after the stifling summer – will look further into my areas of concern and get back with you. much thanks.

  30. I’ve known for many years that I am intolerant of gluten, dairy, potatoes, corn,soy and sugar, but now my Dr. thinks nightshades are part of my problem. After eating lots of salsa and tomato sauce over the course of a weekend, my joints swelled and I was really sore – the same symptoms corn usually gives me. I’m on Day 2 of eliminating every nightshade. I still have bad headaches, muscle spasms and aches, fatigue and stomach pain, although it’s getting better. I’m waiting on my test results, but feel that nightshade allergies is what I’m dealing with. Anybody out there know how long it takes to feel significantly better once the food has been eliminated?

  31. Amy, It took me about three months to get over most of the symptoms. At six months I ate some more. I could barely walk.

  32. Suzi,After 4 days the symptoms are better – slow, but better. Thanks so much for the info. Amy

  33. I recently found out that potato starch is sometimes used as a thickener because it’s gluten-free. You might expect to find it in soups and sauces, but I was most surprised to find it in yoghurt. Don’t forget to check labels.

  34. About 2 months ago I started an elimination diet of nightshades and gluten (protein commonly found in wheat and barley). Before that.. About 2 and a half years ago I was in the best shape of my life. I had changed my life style to 100% healthy indredients (spinach salads, bell peppers, mostly vegetarian diet with lean meats here and there, whole grains, etc.) and was commited to excercising in some form every day.
    Then suddenly, it was all taken away from me. I had to go to the ER because of severe pain that was flanking both sides of my back. I could hardly walk because of such horrible back/hip pain. I had severe migraines and was dizzy or passing out frequently. I would get chest pain for hours at a time and had to go to have my vitals checked to make sure my heart wasn’t fialing. My quality of sleep disappeared because of horrible muscle spasms that went through my whole body and problems with paralyzed breathing.. and I gained 30 pounds. It was horrible. After 2 years of going in and out of specialist’s offices, getting bizarre diagnosis after diagnosis and being put on all sorts of medications.. I finally just had enough. I found a holisic occupational therapy office and it was there that they proposed I try an elimination diet. I feel so much better and I finally have my life back! I’m just now bringing in nightshade items one at a time to see what ones hurt me the most but just based on how great I feel after eliminating them I think I’m ok with keeping them out of my diet.
    Good luck to everyone!

  35. Andi,
    about two weeks before I was to launch my gluten-free, dairy and soy optional website, I was diagnosed with nightshade allergies. I’m much, much better and have now incorporated nightshade-free food into my website, On the right side, under categories, you can click “No Nightshades” and all the recipes without nightshades will pop up. Hope this helps because food options can be difficult.
    You might also want to check to see if you have candida, whose symptoms can be confused with nightshade allergies. There’s a simple saliva test you can do at home to check for candida- google it and you’ll find instructions. Take care,

  36. Suzi,

    Thanks for posting that blueberries have solanine. Thoughout the past year I’ve been eliminating nightshade from my diet. I have had all of the symptoms posted, too tired, achy, can’t remember names and words, gut problems, heart palpitations and etc. It has all gone away now that nightshade is out of the diet. Until two nights ago, the symptoms came back and I wondered about heart problems since I was sure I had not eaten nightshade. I ate blueberry pie that day. I’m checking out the heart stuff too, but very good to know about blueberries!

  37. I’ve been off nightshades for six months now. I intend to stay off them forever. It just isn’t worth the pain and the long-term risks.

    Occasionally I will get a similar reaction to other foods. I found all of those foods on the high phenol list.

    Nightshades are high phenol.

    I had forgotten about that list.

  38. I am 33 and have suffered from moderate to severe acne (on face, neck, back, and chest) since my early teens. I tried various elimination diets and finally discovered that nightshades are the culprit. I have been nightshade-free for over a year now, and my skin is clear for the first time in 20 years. If I slip and eat something by mistake, the acne shows up about 3-4 days later and the spots stick around for a week or two at least. Recently at a restaurant I had mixed steamed veggies that included peppers. I ate around them and still had acne 3 days later from eating food that the peppers had touched. I still can’t believe that nightshades were to blame all along. It seems that nightshade-induced acne is quite rare. I haven’t entirely given up paprika, cayenne, etc because they are so hard to avoid. Just eliminating the obvious tomatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers seems to get me 95% clear. Potato bothers me less than tomato and bell peppers. To all of you avoiding nightshades, I sympathize completely — I’m finally used to nightshade-free cooking at home, but eating in restaurants can be so frustrating. It is worth it to FINALLY have clear skin. Very interesting to read about the problems others have with nightshades. Thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences.

  39. Annie,
    my reactions are what I call my potato rash, but peppers and tomatoes make my joints and face swell and cause wheezing. It’s hard for me to get a breath and I get a headache that last for 4-5 days, for which there is no relief. It’s hard to steer clear of these foods and it’s nearly impossible for me to eat out. If you need menu ideas, I have a GFCF, mostly nightshade free recipe index – Giving up Mexican food has been my biggest challenge, but the reactions I get from all my other allergies/intolerances combined don’t even come close to the ones I get from nightshades. It really does feel like I’m being poisoned. I am hoping to expand my site to include manufacturers of nightshade free commercial food – basics like chicken stock, which is almost impossible to find for people like us. Good luck and hang in there.

  40. i am grateful for having received the knowledge you put out; realize that i do not suffer from this even tho’ i do have the arthritis affliction. what i get from peppers is mostly the burpies ‘enjoy’ the flavor more than once, so my problem is solved by just not eating these veggies or expect a bit of digestion rebound.. thanks again.. may not have joint pain caused by eating, so i go on from here….

  41. I feel for everyone out there. I posted on this thread several years ago with strange symptoms. Now I have a diagnosis: non-epileptic (psychogenic) seizures.

    It seems I can handle a small amount, and it just (“just”) leads to a strong personality shift, spontaneous crying, and general misery. Not to mention digestive issues. Larger amounts lead to waking seizures, which truly define suffering.

    If anyone else has anything like this, please post here! No doctor, neurologist, psychologist or psychiatrist I’ve spoken with has ever met another. It’d be great to commiserate 😛

  42. I am allergic to nightshades (tomatoes and eggplant are the worst, potatoes are middle of the road, peppers are not so bad) in the “throat closing/itchy/heart palpitations” way. In fact, I once reacted badly after breathing in the intoxicatingly (no pun intended) delicious aroma of my hubby cooking homemade tomato sauce on our stove (I didn’t eat any, nor did I even touch it physically – simply breathed it in). I do carry an EpiPen and have instructed hubby and the kids on how to use it, if necessary.

    I also had an almost fatal reaction to anesthesia – something that I think all people with anaphylactic-type allergies to nightshades need to know about. I’m not 100% sure that it was indeed the nightshades that caused my lungs to fail (I was on a ventilator in ICU for 8 days), however I DO know that nightshade drugs are commonly given pre-anesthesia to calm people down. (I was not aware of my allergy at that time). The drops they use to dilate your pupils at the eye doctor are also made from nightshades.

    So, to all you fellow nightshade allergy sufferers out there – I feel your pain. Hang in there. Also, be very careful and always let your doctor know about these allergies/sensitivities, because there are some medications made from these plants, as well.

  43. This is a great group of postings!

    I had eczema off and on for about six years before I discovered I had a nightshade allergy. I went to multiple doctors and dermatologists, and had allergy tests done a few times. They told me I was not allergic to any chemicals, but as for the tests for pollens, plants, foods, animals, and molds, I was extremely allergic to literally everything. Well, it is impossible to avoid the entire world, so I went on having eczema. Then came the fateful winter that I discovered my love for eggplant. I began to eat it almost every day, and my eczema (on the back of my hands and wrists mainly) became extremely bad. Last week I saw a very bad poison oak reaction and that is exactly what my hands looked like: tons of weepy blisters that would ooze then dry up and scab over. Sometimes it was so bad that the middle areas would turn dark purple or even black! It was scary, not to mention extremely uncomfortable and embarrassing. I went home for Christmas break and my mom, after years of trying, finally talked me into going to a naturopathic medicine professional, who told me the most common cause of eczema is nightshade allergies (I had already ruled out milk). I completely cut nightshades out of my diet and within two weeks my hands were 100% back to normal! I began doing little tests to test my tolerance of different nightshades, and have found that I can eat a little bit of hot sauce or chili powder each day without any skin reactions. Since the discovery of my allergy two years ago, I have had many moments of weakness (I LOVE mexican food, and it just isn’t the same without nightshades!), and each time I get a reaction. Two weeks ago I ate a big plate of french fries with ketchup and as i type I am looking at the backs of my hands and they are covered with dry, scaly, bumpy skin: the way they look on their way to being completely recovered from the really bad outbreaks.

    I did a research project on nightshades for a botany class and learned that they cause neurological problems, and this has been confirmed by the many postings on this page! But I was sure I didn’t have that type of reaction. My whole life I have had funny little muscle-compulsive problems. I don’t really know what to call them or how to explain them, but basically little twitches. About two or three years ago they started to get worse and worse, and now I literally can not sit still, EVER. There is always a little part of me twitching, like my leg will twitch then my arm then me head then my other arm then my foot. It is VERY annoying, to me and to my boyfriend. In the last year my hands have started shaking a lot too, and I drop things all the time! I have started to say the wrong word in sentences, like “commercial” instead of “costume.” And it happens so many times a day it is embarrassing and I feel stupid. I was really worried that I might be getting parkinson’s disease or some other neurological disease, but after reading all of the posts here I am pretty sure that my nightshade intolerance is increasing, and I need to avoid them 100%. No more “just one fry,” or a dash of cayenne in my eggs.

    There is one more thing. About 4 months ago I developed a pain in my right arm. It hurts almost all the time, sometimes really badly. I can kind of narrow it down to a couple of tendons in my upper arm, but the pain radiates up into my shoulder blade and down into my wrist. I do physical labor in the summer time and am used to injuries and pain, but I was not working for over three months when this pain came on, and as I sit here and type there is a dull throb. I am fairly convinced now that this is yet another nightshade reaction, and as I said I am going to cut them out 100%.

    I really hope my story will be helpful to others, as everybody else’s stories were so helpful to me! Good luck. Anna.

  44. I had worsening psoriasis since I can remember, it was getting to a stage where I needed a painkiller and an antihistamine each night to get to sleep. Luckily being that bad meant I was able to observe the connection of it to my diet. I found that solanine was the culprit and once I removed tomatos, potatos, etc from my diet it all cleared up within 3 weeks.. amazing! I still sometimes get very small flare ups so I wish their was a more comprehensive source available listing solanine concentrations in a broader range of foods.

  45. I am allergic to nightshades, atleast to peppers in that if anyone cooks them, I break out in hives. If I eat anything with any kind of pepper in it, my mouth immediately tingles and then starts to swell. If I eat potatoes or tomoatos I get really sleepy and I get migraines. I was also in the easly stages of osteoarthritis. Now that I avoid them, I don’t get migraines hardly at all, and my joints feel much better and aren’t swollen.

  46. It’s nice to hear I’m not alone 🙂 for ages my health had been worsening, with heart issues, extreme tiredness, feeling faint, a feeling of disconnection from reality, permenent nasal congestion, depression, dark circles under the eyes, skin rashes and a swelling in my throat which appeared fairly randomly whilst eating certain foods. The doctors were unhelpful, and all tests done came up normal. Eventually realised it was tomatoes that were giving me all of the above symptoms, and since cutting them out a year or so ago I quickly got 95% better. I’ve only now realised that the remaining 5% that I haven’t recovered may well be due to potatoes. Fingers are crossed that it is the final key to get back to full health! The medical community seems to be amazingly ignorant of these kind of issues, this problem seems more common than is realised! Good luck to everyone with this allergy 🙂 you are not alone!

  47. Jack,
    the potatoes might be your missing link. They give me shortness of breath. All nightshades bug me, but potatoes are the worst. Take care and keep listening to your body! Amy

  48. Make sure you read the ingredients’ list. Hot dogs have paprika in them. Shredded cheese has potato starch. The cocoa almonds I ate had potato starch. Mayonnaise often has paprika in it (!). Lite mayonnaise also had potato starch.

    It’s been crazy how much of the food I’ve been eating has “hidden nightshades.” I’ve been off the obvious ones for a year and still had aches and pains. Not as badly as before, but enough that my husband was urging me to try and find a new doctor who might be able to help me.

    Now I think I was just having too many nightshades, even if at far smaller levels than previously.

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