What are Nightshade Vegetables

Nightshade vegetables are part of the Solanaceae plant family.  This family is not limited to only vegetables but, flowers, trees and even toxic herbs (atropa belladonna).  The vegetables are still the largest part of the family.

Nightshades have two things they share in common which is the presence of 2 substances:  calcitriol and alkaloids.  Three alkaloids in the nightshade family are Solanine, Capsaicin and Nicotine.

Solanine and Tomatine

Solanine is a steroid alkaloid.  This alkaloid is primarily found in potatoes as well as its tomato counterpart, tomatine.  While not immediately toxic, it stores in the body and may be released during stress which can harm the body.  Solanine can irritate the gastrointestinal system and also affect neurotransmitters.


Capsaicin is the active ingredient in hot peppers and is most commonly thought of for its anti-inflammatory properties but it is also and alkaloid



Nicotine is the substance found in the tobacco plant and is also a nightshade. Nicotine is harmful in many ways to our body however this alkaloid is present in all parts of nightshade vegetables.


Allergy and Sensitivity

A true nightshade allergy should be taken seriously.  If you are experiencing  symptoms of food allergies, nightshades should be considered in the food allergy plan.

Nightshade sensitivity symptoms can include but are not limited to:

         Irritable bowel disorders or other GI issues


         Nerve sensitization

         Joint pain

         Inflammation in those who suffer from autoimmune conditions

Nightshade Food List

There are over 2,000 species of nightshades, herbs, and non-edibles. Following is a list of of commonly eaten nightshades and products that may use nightshades:


         White potatoes







         Ground cherries

         Pepino melons



         Cayenne pepper


*Note that blueberries, goji berries and huckleberries all include similar alkaloids.  They are not nightshades, but it may be important to eliminate them at the same time. Be cautious of anything that might contain potatoes starch as a thickener or filler, including. medications, baking powders, and even envelope glut can contain potato starch.