CLCS Unit Lesson 2B


Nightshades are an order of plants called Solanaceae that contain alkaloids, the substances to which are attributed the allergic response. Pharmacists and alchemists over the years have used this family medicinally, as the alkaloids contain useful properties (and include the tobacco plant, famous for its addictive nicotine alkaloid). Enough nightshade species are consumed as food across many cultures that when trying to avoid them entirely, it is almost impossible to “eat out”. Comprised of over 2800 species, the foods implicated in food allergies include potatoes, tomatoes, peppers (sweet & hot but not black), and eggplant. Classic American food culture is nothing without French fries (with ketchup, of course) or pizza, so what’s a poor starving college student to do?

Fortunately, the toxicity of the alkaloids in these foods is not usually as acute & life threatening as the shellfish or nut allergies, but may act more upon a chronic, long term exposure. Symptoms include joint pain, increased rheumatoid or osteoarthritis, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, inflammation, stiffness in the joints, migraines and weakness/fatigue (ref 1 below). The onset of these symptoms may be slow and variable, dependent upon the state of the food at harvest, its own concentration of the alkaloids in question, and the length of cooking time (how’s that for confounding factors?). The only way to be sure that you’re not simply coming down with the flu is to practice the use of an elimination diet (ref 2 below), which may indicate through an alleviation of symptoms that the offending food was removed. Often, with sensitivities of this kind, a threshold exists beyond which symptoms set in; up to that point the foods may be enjoyed completely, albeit in smaller quantities than are common in our society today.

Check out the following links, and add at least one new reference located either from the links contained within or in some other way to add to the resource section.


nightshade allergies

elimination diet

nightshade intolerance

raw vs cooked nightshades


nightshade Q & A

Wiki Solanaceae

food intolerances

World's Healthiest Foods

Discussion Questions for Debate:

What percentage of people diagnosed with arthritis may have nightshade sensitivity or allergy? Do pharmaceutical companies selling pain killing drugs to this demographic have a vested interest in keeping nightshade sensitivity under the radar, so to speak? As a reversible, non life-threatening disorder, what would be the most efficient means of disseminating the information of avoidance (or moderation) as a cure?

Post one discussion entry under the discussion tab above responding to these questions, and reply to two other students entries. At this point, it should become apparent what schools of thought are present within the classroom community. Educators will then assign students to teams for further research, and determine the final question according to the point of highest interest.


CLCS Lesson Units Introduction

CLCS Unit Lesson 1 Vocabulary

CLCS Unit Lesson 2 Space for Discussion Task

CLCS Unit Lesson 3 Resource sharing

CLCS Unit Lesson 4 Metacognitive strategies

CLCS Unit Lesson 5 Assessment Tools

Elizabeth Kinney EK Main Page

Portfolio EK EK Portfolio

ETAP 623 Spring 2009 Learning Commmunity