Nightshades and Arthritis Pain and Inflammation

Wondering if there is a link between nightshade vegetables and your arthritis pain? There might be.


Removing nightshade vegetables has significantly reduced my debilitating joint pain, arthritis inflammation, and stiffness.

At first, it seemed too complicated that I didn’t even try, even though I was on a strict elimination diet. 

Halloween, Poison, Label, Drink, Horror, Spooky, Bottle

I’d already had to stop eating gluten, and with it, all the yummy baked goods. 

That was difficult enough…  I’d often cry as I saw all the cakes and pastries I simply could not eat.  Why should I bother myself with tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, or paprika?

But now that I’ve seen the effects of avoiding nightshades myself, I know I’d rather stay away fromEggplant, Mark, Purple, Violet, Striped the nightshade family of plants if I can.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, “eggplants, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes are all members of the nightshade family. These vegetables contain the chemical solanine, which some people claim aggravates arthritis pain and inflammation.”

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2013 and have been treating it holistically and naturally with herbs, lifestyle, diet, and Reiki. Removing nightshades has been key to my healing.  See list of foods with nightshades here.

Due to my severe disability (could not walk due to ankle pain and stiffness, difficulty using arms, joint pain and stiffness, difficulty getting up and down off ground, pain throughout body), I tried Humira and Methotrexate for about a year.

I have stopped taking both Humira and Methotrexate and am grateful because I hated the side effects and the way these medicines made me feel.  I learned through muscle testing that these medicines weakened my body, so I stopped taking them.

I was able to use other information gleaned through muscle testing by a trained professional to determine that I had undiagnosed Lyme disease.  I was able to heal it using things like red wine and coconut oil — all natural and relatively inexpensive.  Suddenly I could walk again!

I was really starting to like how my body could tell me what it wanted and needed through the muscle testing.  Using muscle testing, I also learned that my body is extremely sensitive to nightshade vegetables.

Pepperoni, Paprika, Red, Chili, Sharp, Fruity HotGrowing up in Texas, enchiladas and salsa were my comfort foods.  The RA symptoms manifested most strongly when I moved to New Mexico.  The delicious green and red chile sauces became a near-daily part of my breakfast, along with potatoes.  Now I wonder if this precipitated many of my symptoms, like arthritis pain and inflammation, since I know I am sensitive to them.

It’s such a bummer to avoid tomatoes, peppers, Tomato, Fruit, Red, Edible, Berry, Nightshadeeggplants, potatoes, eggplant and especially paprika (it’s in everything!), but it is well worth doing for me since it so greatly improves my mobility and reduces my joint pain and arthritis inflammation.

After learning my sensitivity to these nightshade plants by using muscle testing, I stopped eating them entirely, then tried reintroducing them.  OUCH!  All of a sudden I could not use my arms without pain for 12-48 hours.  Eating nightshades directly amplified my arthritis pain and inflammation to excruciating levels.

I’d already cut gluten out after sending off a stool test to test for sensitivity, and was glad I did.  Eating a bunch of wheat cookies made it so that my ankles stiffened and I could not continue walking within 15 minutes.

But the nightshades actually felt worse!!  I couldn’t believe it.  I’d tried cutting out everything on a strict elimination diet.  At one point, all I ate was kale, beef, and sweet potato.  I lost lots of weight even though I was bedridden — definitely not working out — and I figured it was because I wasn’t eating baked goods.  I was anemic, so I ate up to a pound of grass-fed beef a day.

Gradually, I reintroduced foods.  But I never took nightshades seriously — until I cut them out!  They were responsible for so much of my pain, it was unbelievable!

Turns out, nightshades have been used to kill and assassinate kings and rulers in history.  According to “Botany Gone Bad: The History of the Deadly Nightshade Plant” by Zack Sterkenberg:

“The compounds that make Deadly Nightshade so lethal are called Atropine and Scopolamine. These toxic ingredients are so powerful that a minuscule amount slipped into a drink or added to a meal can send full grown adults into paralysis, cause severe hallucinations, delirium, confusion, convulsions, and death.”

Sterkenberg adds:

“The Roman military created a deadly paste from the plant that was used to make poison-tipped arrows for archers, a practice that was in use for centuries.

Not even Kings were spared of the terror, as Macbeth, King of Scotland, Emperor Augustus of Rome, and Emperor Claudius of Rome were all laid to rest at the hand of the Deadly Nightshade.”

Nightshades have only been a part of a European diet since the 1600s, according to “Nightshades: Your Favorite Foods are Plotting to Kill You” by Fundamental Health Solutions.

Because of this, the author notes:

Europeans have only had a few hundred years to adapt nightshades into their diet, so they are at the greatest risk of having a toxic sensitivity to them. Native Americans and South Americans have been exposed to them for thousands of years and have built up a capacity for them. And that’s what we tend to see in my office.

Craig Sams breaks down more aspects of the history of nightshades, as well as the effects of solanine, “a strong acetylcholinesterase inhibitor,” here.

Now I know it’s worth considering whether your arthritis pain and inflammation are related to nightshade vegetables.

Many people are wondering, are nightshades bad for joint pain?  In my experience, yes.  But the only way to know for sure is to cut them out of your diet and then reintroduce them.

Ethan Boldt recommends eliminating nightshades for at least three months when assessing sensitivity.  His article, “What Are Nightshade Vegetables? How to Tell If You Are Sensitive to Them?” includes a full list of foods and more information about how nightshades may impact joint pain and arthritis inflammation.


Have you experienced a link between nightshades and arthritis pain and inflammation?  Leave a comment below!


In this Natural Healing for Rheumatoid Arthritis series, the Dallas Reiki Master shares healing techniques and answers  questions to help individuals suffering from joint pain and inflammation understand how to do reduce their symptoms using a holistic approach.

Bedridden and wheelchair-bound in 2012, she has recovered her ability to walk and use her arms through diet, herbs, and lifestyle changes.

Want to know more?  Check out this YouTube playlist for more on natural healing for rheumatoid arthritis.  I have been creating videos since I was diagnosed.

These videos on natural healing for rheumatoid arthritis include:

I wish you so much luck in your healing!  Never settle for doom and gloom, and continue to see yourself and your body filled with health and vitality.

If you can imagine it and believe it, your mind will take you where you want to go, and your spirit will help you to grow stronger and healthier!

The path is not always easy, but your own body knows what it needs to find balance, and your prayers and intuition can help you.


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