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