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Norman F. Childers, PhD, Foundation Chairman of
Arthritis Nightshades Research Foundation

Q: What are the nightshades?

A: They are members of the Solanaceae family of plants which has over 90 genera and 2000 species. Tobacco is a member and after over a hundred years of usage, it now is being eliminated from use because of its health problems. The food nightshades include tomato, potato, eggplant and peppers of all kinds except black pepper which is in another plant family, Piperaceae. Tomatillos also are a nightshade often eaten by Cental and South Americans.

Why call them,"nightshades? According to one belief, Romans were thought to have mixed a special drink for their enemy with a poisonous nightshade in it. The shade came down for a long night. They died.

The Solanaceae is a large fascinating group of plants with 92 genera and over 2000 species. There are many beautiful flowers like the petunia, luscious vegetables, addicting tobacco, important medical drugs as scoplonine in sleeping pills, and many poisonous plants as the deadly nightshade with black berries children are cautioned not to eat, and there are some like the foul smelling henbane.

Q: What are the problems with the nightshades?

A: Because of several poisonous plants, people at first were cautious in eating the potato and some old timers still believe the tomato to be poisonous. For over a century livestock farmers have not permitted their livestock to eat nightshade weeds in pastures. They send their children out to pull them up. The famous lowly jimsonweed (Gene Autry song) is well known to cowboys. They have seen livestock grazing it, waste away, become crippled, worthless and die. Early-on the tomato was known as "The Cancer Apple". And tobacco over a century has had obvious health problems until authorities and now the media are trying to get rid of it.

Q: What do you offer and specialize in?

A: So the question arises if the little researched food nightshades could have health problems. The potato and tomato are our leading vegetables today and they along with peppers and maybe eggplant are in many of our daily meals.

I was made wise to the problem back in the 1950s when my doctor told me hot peppers may have irritated my intestines and caused a three-phase colostomy operation for diverticulitis. Being an horticulturist, I had researched and knew the members of the Solanaceae family and so eliminated the food members and tobacco from my diet. My health problems disappeared, including arthritis.

Local secretaries noticed my success with arthritis. They tried the diet with success and eventually asked me, "Why don't you do something about this and help other sufferers?" So by word-of-mouth and a few Ads, we eventually had over 400 favorable replies to the diet (72%) and published a book, "Nightshades And Health".

We since have developed a Foundation, "The Arthritis Nightshades Research Foundation", moved thousands of our revised book, "Childers' Diet That Stops Arthritis" and have an annual Newsletter now going to some 4300 cooperators.

Q: What advice do you have for people trying to cut back on the nightshades?

A: It's not easy. One must be well motivated with pain and crippling or simply want to avoid these crops and future health problems. If the average person occasionally eats a nightshade, they may "get away with it" for many years. But the nightshades are drug plants, as tobacco, and are addicting. So the more they partake the sooner and worse the health problems.

Some people are more sensitive to the nightshades, particularly the arthritics and senior citizens. But today with the heavy consumption of the nightshades, French fries and pizzas, even young children and teenagers are having to take drugs like adults for aches, pains, asthma, inflammation and even disfigurements. Parents are disturbed about children.

The nightshades are subtle and a heart or blood circulation problem may suddenly appear or even cancer. Tobacco is known to cause cancer, and tomato had the early title, but unlike tobacco it is difficult to say the other nightshades can cause cancer since everyone is eating them. No comparison. All nightshades have drugs and similar chemicals. They are more or less addicting.

In summary, we have found that avoiding all the nightshades completely will improve or "cure" many important diseases in our experience (see our book and Newsletters, including a cookbook). Based on our 45 years of survey experience with tens of thousands of cooperators, we humbly question if the nightshade foods and tobacco could be our Number One health and medical problem today. Much more research attention is needed for these neglected but very important crops

Norman F. Childers, PhD, Foundation Chairman,
Arthritis Nightshades Research Foundation




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