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List of Nightshade Veggies and Fruits

February 9, 2013

A little bit about Nightshades:

A large family of plants grown in the shade of night called Solanaceae. These vegetables and fruits contain a substance, called alkaloids, which may be responsible for some health problems including muscle pain, morning stiffness, poor healing, acid reflux, insomnia,  gallbladder problems, arthritis and other inflammatory problems.

These alkaloids are produced by the plants to protect them from harmful insects.

However, these substances can act like chemical substances and have strong physiological effects in humans.

There are four basic types of alkaloids found in nightshade plants. These types are:

(1) Steroid alkaloids, which contain a fairly complicated fused ring structure and are found in most food nightshades including potato and tomato.
(2) Tropane alkaloids, all originating from the simple amino acid ornithine and found in fewer of the overall nightshades, but more extensively researched due to their strong drug-like properties
(3) Pyrrolizidine alkaloid.*
(4) Indole alkaloids.*
*Both important groups from a drug standpoint.

Solanine
Solanine is the toxin (Glycoalkaloid Poison) contained in all nightshade plants such as tomatoes, potatoes, and goji berries. It can occur naturally in any part of the plant, including the leaves, fruit, and tubers. Solanine has fungicidal and pesticidal properties. Again, it is one of the plant’s natural defenses.

[As it turns out, the healthy divine little blueberry fruits are not a nightshade plant, but they do contain solanine. Other non-nightshade plants that contain solanine include huckleberries, okra, artichokes and ground cherries.]

*This is about as in-depth about why nightshades can cause trouble for folks that I intend to get into. You can find a ton of information online if you search for information about:

  • nightshades
  • no nightshade diet
  • solanine
  • solanine toxcity syndrome

Nightshade Vegetables:

  • Banana Peppers
  • Cayenne
  • Chili Peppers
  • Datil
  • Eggplant
  • Habanero
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Paprika
  • Pimentos
  • Potatoes (sweet potatoes are okay)
  • Sweet Peppers (black pepper is okay)
  • Thai Peppers
  • Tomatillos
  • Potatoes
  • Wax Peppers

Nightshade Fruits:

  • Goji Berries/Wolfberry
  • Gooseberry/Cape Gooseberry/Ground Cherry
  • Jerusalem Cherries
  • Pepino
  • Tamarillo
  • Tomatoes

Herbs / Plants:

  • Ashwagandha
  • Banewort (another name for nightshade)
  • Belladonna / Atropa Belladonna (used in Homeopathy, found in Viagra)
  • Bittersweet (Atropine Belladonna)
  • Brugmansia
  • Datura
  • Devil’s Cherries (another name for nightshade)
  • Devil’s Herb (another name for nightshade)
  • Divale (another name for nightshade)
  • Dubiosia
  • Dwale (another name for nightshade)
  • Dwayberry (another name for nightshade)
  • Great Morel (another name for nightshade)
  • Henbane
  • Hyoscyamus
  • Jimson Weed
  • Mandrake
  • Mandragore
  • Nightshade / Deadly Nightshade
  • Petunias (yes, the flower)
  • Solanum
  • Tobacco

*I may have a few of the above on the ‘wrong’ lists…but the point of putting this all down in list form is to help you sort out what in your diet might be causing you to suffer from muscle pain, morning stiffness, poor healing, acid reflux, insomnia,  gallbladder problems, arthritis and other inflammatory problems.

Other forms of ‘food’ that can contain solanine:

  • Modified Food Starch (Be cautious of starch if it doesn’t say where it’s derived from.)
  • Starch (*If it doesn’t say where it’s derived from, check with the manufacturer)
  • Yeast (*Most yeast contains potato, both baking yeast and beer yeast. **Red Star yeast does not contain potato.)
  • Shellac Wax (comes from Lac beetle that feeds on Wolfberry plants, found on shiny fruit and veggies, commonly not listed in ingredients)
  • Palmitate Vitamin A (In margarine and milk, it’s derived from potatoes.)

Medicines and Chemicals:

  • Acrylamide
  • Atropine
  • Chaconine
  • Hyoscine (another name for scopolamine)
  • Nicotine
  • Scopolamine (common in motion sickness meds)
  • Solanine
  • Viagra (contains belladonna)

Not to be mistaken for Nightshades:

  • Black Pepper
  • White Pepper
  • Green Peppercorns
  • Sichuan Pepper
  • Tasmannia
  • Long Pepper

Another note on starch:
Shredded Cheese often contains potato starch, food manufacturers add it so the cheese will not clump. I now buy my cheese in blocks and shred it myself. I often pre-shred small amounts from the block.  A little extra work yes, but avoiding the muscle pain and belly aches are worth the work.

As a last note:
I’ve known for a long time that I have to be very careful eating nightshade plants. It is probably not a coincidence that I had to have my gall bladder removed in my late 30′s.

Solanine cannot be destroyed by cooking at high temps – other than in one case: deep frying is the only way it can be destroyed in potatoes. And since I don’t usually like deep fried foods of any sort I rarely eat fries anyhow.

So you will notice that I will be very cautious about adding nightshades into my diet. When I do it will be in small amounts.

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28 Comments
  1. Karissa permalink

    thank you for the list! you might want to modify the list and put shredded cheese because they use potato starch to keep it from sticking together. I personal was totally shocked when i found out.

  2. Kimberley permalink

    Hi, sorry to bother you. With the comment about Shellac Wax, would that mean that Shellac Nails could be off the program for a while as assumably the solanine could leach into the system?

    Thank you so much for this wonderful post.

    • Thank you Kimberley. Yes, shellac nails should be off the program for a while. Yes, the solanine could definitely leach into your system.

  3. debi permalink

    Why is Chayote listed as nightshade? It’s in the curcubitacea family. (like squashes and pumpkins.)

    • You are correct. I had originally ‘gleaned’ my list from the web. I have corrected my mistake.

      For others reading the above list Chayote is ‘safe’ and what follows is a breakdown of its place in the plant kingdom:
      Chayote
      Kingdom: Plantae
      (unranked): Angiosperms
      (unranked): Eudicots
      (unranked): Rosids
      Order: Cucurbitales
      Family: Cucurbitaceae
      Genus: Sechium
      Species: S. edule

  4. I found out that I have Lupus and should NOT eat any nightshade veg, I now know about all the other things that are NO,NO’s.

    • Glad the information is helpful. My aunt had Lupus and a friend of mine has battled with it for years.
      ~Amy

  5. Thank you I will ( internally grateful).

  6. Esperance Bizimana permalink

    Thanks for the infos . I wondered why my whole family has muscles pain and myself has Myasthenia and Fibromyalgia . All of these foods are my everyday lunch and Dinner .
    I am starting to watch what I eat and please send more infos.
    Sincerely grateful for this

  7. kelli permalink

    do you know if mangosteen is a nightshade?

    • Hello Kelli, my apologies for not getting back to you sooner. My mom has been very ill since last autumn and takes up most of my time these day. In answer to your question no mangosteen is is not a nightshade. Here is the breakdown for mangosteen in the plant kingdom:
      Kingdom: Plantae
      (unranked): Angiosperms
      (unranked): Eudicots
      (unranked): Rosids
      Order: Malpighiales
      Family: Clusiaceae
      Genus: Garcinia
      Species: G. mangostana

      ~Amy

  8. Heidi permalink

    Wow very good list! Thank you. I have Fibromyalgia, so obviously nightshades = bad for me..

    • You are welcome Heidi. I have ‘suffered’ with Fibromyalgia for years. Taking nightshades out of my diet has been very helpful to easing my chronic pain.

      ~Amy

  9. Kathy Everett permalink

    As I have learned from the Eat Right for your Blood Type bood by Dr. D’Adamo, all nightshade foods are a complete ‘Avoid’ for Type A. I am a type A and they have always bothered me; didn’t know about the gallbladder thing. Wow. I have had some issues there; must take lemon juice and stay away from hard oil or butter spreads and fried foods. thank you for your very comprehensive list of these unhealthy foods. (Ashwaganda? – that’s to bad.)

    Kathy
    Kensington, MD

    • You are welcome Kathy. Yes Ashwaganda. I was disappointed to learn this as well. But then upon further reflection I realized that over the years each time I attempted to use Ashwaganda it didn’t give me the help and relief that so many folks rave about. Now it make sense as to why.

      Here is a breakdown of its place in the plant kingdom:
      Kingdom: Plantae
      (unranked): Angiosperms
      (unranked): Eudicots
      (unranked): Asterids
      Order: Solanales
      Family: Solanaceae
      Genus: Withania
      Species: W. somnifera

      ~Amy

      • Isaura Oliveira permalink

        Is Ocra a nightshade too?

      • No. Okra is from the Mallow family:
        Kingdom: Plantae
        Division: Magnoliophyta
        Class: Magnoliopsida
        (unranked): Rosids
        Order: Malvales
        Family: Malvaceae
        Genus: Abelmoschus
        Species: A. esculentus

  10. Gabby permalink

    Thanks for this comprehensive list. My friend was in excruciating pain for several yrs, going from dr to dr, specialist to specialist finding little or no help. Last yr she was also diagnosed w/psoriatic arthritis and was in misery. Six mos ago she found a dr whose first recommendation was to eliminate nightshades from her diet. She researched, she did and she now says that she feels like a “new” person. As well, she has stopped all but two medications and those doses have been reduced by half. Fifteen yrs ago, at age 39, my health started going downhill. I have had over 20 diagnoses to date and am in 24/7 chronic pain. I get little, if any sleep and am miserable. My life turned a 360 and it is as though I’m just “existing” since my quality of life so drastically changed. I am going to start avoiding nightshade foods now. It is my sincere hope that this will help me. I am passing along this list to several relatives and friends who have some sort of pain/chronic pain. Again, thank you. :)

  11. Sharon permalink

    Thank you for this list.
    I think avoiding nightshade foods is the answer to my health problems.

    • You are very welcome Sharon. I do sincerely hope you find the answers you are seeking to easing your health problems.
      ~Amy

  12. Hello, thank you for your list of nightshades! can you tell me if Schisandra berries are in the family Solanacea? One list has them as a sub-family of Solanacea. thanks

    • No, I do not believe they are in the Solanacea family. Here is the Schisandroideae ‘breakdown’ in the plant kingdom:
      Kingdom: Plantae
      (unranked): Angiosperms
      Order: Austrobaileyales
      Family: Schisandraceae
      subfamily: Schisandroideae
      Genus: Schisandra
      Species: Schisandra chinensis

      I suspect you ran across the Schizanthoideae plants in the Solanacea list. Their breakdown in the plant kingdom is:
      Kingdom: Plantae
      (unranked): Angiosperms
      (unranked): Eudicots
      (unranked): Asterids
      Order: Solanales
      Family: Solanaceae
      Subfamilies:
      Cestroideae
      Goetzeoideae
      Nicotianoideae
      Petunioideae
      Schizanthoideae*
      Schwenckioideae
      Solanoideae

      *List of species currently recognized in Schizanthus (Schizanthoideae) are the following:
      Schizanthus alpestris
      Schizanthus candidus
      Schizanthus grahamii
      Schizanthus hookerii
      Schizanthus integrifolius
      Schizanthus lacteus
      Schizanthus laetus
      Schizanthus litoralis
      Schizanthus parvulus
      Schizanthus pinnatus
      Schizanthus porrigens
      Schizanthus tricolor

      I hope this helps clear things up for you Mary.
      ~Amy

      • THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I AM GLAD THAT THE SCHISANDRA IS NOT A NIGHTSHADE!! I AM SO THANKFUL FOR YOUR WEBSITE :)

  13. I’d learned a fraction of this list and told anyone who “had an ear to hear”, about the conection with aurthoritous and “night shades” and it seemed to help them! I know also that the side effects of night shades is compounded by eating them with white refined sugar, flour, and saturated fats! I’ve found what helps along with not giving up some or all of these is to detox and/or simply some form fasting.

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