Nightshades -Tickle My Ass (Short)

By John Roth
ItchingI am a male over 60 and have [or had] a serious health problem that I tried to ignore for the last three years. The story of my three-year gastrointestinal adventure is coming soon but I want to raise awareness about two issues right away just in case what I found about Nightshade plants can help you.

[Disclaimer: The following is not a medical article]

Never heard about Nightshades? Well neither had I and what is even more interesting is that: not one of the  doctors I consulted or anything I found while researching my symptoms on the Web ever suggested a diet without Nightshade Plants:

Tomatoes, white [and red] potatoes, red, yellow, cherry and green bell peppers, the “hot” peppers such as chili and Paprika, Cayenne pepper (capsicum), Pimento, Chili peppers, Hot peppers (long & red, red cluster) as well as eggplant belong to the Nightshade Family, a botanical genus called Solanaceae species. This species also includes tobacco, poisonous belladonna, and the toxic plants henbane, mandrake, and jimson weeds. [1]

According to nutritional researcher, author and Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida, Norman F. Childers in his The Nightshades and Health, the origin of the word “nightshade” is not clear. He explains that old English writings described these plants as Nightshades because of their “evil and loving” nature of the night.

Modern Medicine does not recognize the toxicity of Nightshade plants.

Nightshades or Nightmare is about the connection of Nightshades and Nocturia (the need to urinate frequently).

Pruritus Ani (Itching around the anal area)

If you go to sleep with an itching ass you will wake up with a stinking finger

“The Bat Mitzvah” is a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry David has a tickle in his anus. Larry sees a Gastroenterologist about his ass and picks up an attractive woman in the waiting room claiming to be there for a “check up.” When we see both of them squirming in their seats at the movie we know they both have Pruritus ani (anal itching). In the bat mitzvah sequence Larry cringes and acts like he wanted to give a speech, only to declare in front of everyone that he didn’t put a gerbil up his butt but in the interest of full disclosure, “I do have a tickle in my ass.” The episode ends with him in bed with one of the most beautiful black women on the screen, Vivica A. Fox, playing Loretta Black.  We are never told if the tickle in his ass went away.

Pruritus ani is so common that it is known as the “Space-age” disease. [The proctologist (a doctor specializing in diseases of the rectum and anus) on the  Signs and Symptoms Etiology and Treatment of Pruritus ani]

Occasionally, pinworms, lice, fungus, and hemorrhoids may be responsible. Rarely, food allergies, and allergies to drugs such as antibiotics may be the cause. Pruritus ani is also associated with certain systemic disorders such as jaundice, diabetes, lymphoma, and uremia. Pruritus ani is a self-perpetuating disease: scratching causes further irritation, which becomes a new source of itching. The cause of pruritus ani may be difficult to determine, thus making pruritus ani a potentially difficult conditions to treat.


Last but not least, the patient needs to be examined for food allergies and sensitivities. Blood eosiniphile and RAST (radioallergosorbent test) testing may be useful to help identify a wide variety of food allergies, and their levels of sensitivity. Lactose intolerance (the inability to digest significant amounts of lactose, the predominant sugar of milk and cheese) can be a common cause of pruritus ani. Antihistamines may help neutralize the effect of some allergens. Foods not well tolerated should be avoided.

Because the cause of pruritus ani may be difficult to determine, these treatments be tried either empirically or systematically, until satisfactory results are achieved.

Notice the article claims food allergies are rare, but then recommends the patient be examined for … food allergies and finally “Foods not well tolerated should be avoided.”

What is interesting is that Larry David, unlike me, doesn’t have an aversion to Doctors. You would have to assume if his ass is itching he already saw a proctologist and a dermatologist. You would see the Gastroenterologist when the ass experts couldn’t find a cure.

Here is what the Associates in Gastroenterology have to say about Pruritus ani:

What causes Pruritus ani?

Several factors may be at fault. A common cause is excessive cleaning of the anal area. Moisture around the anus, from excessive sweating or from moist, sticky stools, is another possible cause. In some people, a loose and/or irritating stool may be caused by a high intake of liquids.

In addition, drinking certain beverages, including some alcoholic beverages – especially beer – milk, citrus fruit juices and drinks containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea and cola, may be aggravating for some people. Similarly, some foods that may be a problem include chocolate, fruits, tomatoes, nuts and popcorn. Other rare causes of pruritus ani may include pinworms, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, anal infections and allergies.

Does Pruritus ani result from lack of cleanliness?

Cleanliness is almost never a factor. However, the natural tendency once a person develops this itching is to wash the area vigorously and frequently with soap and a washcloth. This almost always makes the problem worse by damaging the skin and washing away protective natural oils.

Notice the GI doctor doesn’t use the term rare when talking about foods being the problem.

Symptoms of allergies to Nightshades can include swelling, itching, or tingling in the mouth or lips, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Common skin conditions associated with nightshade vegetables are contact dermatitis (itching), eczema (itching) and hives (itching).

During an allergic reaction, the body’s immune system malfunctions, mistaking common foods or nontoxic substances as harmful. After eating or touching nightshade vegetables, your body overreacts to substances in the vegetables and begins developing antibodies to fight off the allergen, according to the Mayo Clinic. The presence of these antibodies causes other chemical reactions that lead to inflammation and irritation in soft tissue (itching). Histamine is one chemical that soft tissues produce to help protect the body from harmful substances. Histamine causes inflammation and irritation (itching) when it is released throughout the body.

According to modern medicine, allergy to nightshade vegetables is uncommon, so why am I talking about ass itching?

Answer: The tickle in my ass went away when I eliminated Nightshades from my diet. [2]

The story of how Nightshades, shellfish, gluten and carbonated drinks almost killed me is coming soon.  In the meantime why not try a diet without Nightshades; what do you have to lose? [3]

Click here to read All about nightshades: explore the hidden hazards of your favorite food with macrobiotic nutritionist Lino Stanchich

Click here to read more about people who are sensitive to nightshade plants.

P.S. Yes someone wrote the 4 myths about nightshade vegetables. Feel free to read Rhea Seymour’s dietary information but make sure you check out the comments.


[1] EXCEPTIONS: Sweet Potatoes (high in Vitamin A), and Yams (not high in Vitamin A), and Black and white pepper do not fall into this category. Avocados are also OK (in fact, Avocados are high in essential, preferred amino acids, and healthy fats). I have found spicy tasty “Miso” (soy) products without nightshade.

[2] Disclaimer: According to the Mayo Clinic, allergy to Nightshade vegetables is uncommon. Obviously not everyone is sensitive to the alkaloid compounds in the nightshade family of plants. Why not try a diet without Nightshades  and see if your overall health improves.

Nightshades: Tomatoes, white [and red] potatoes, red, yellow, cherry and green bell peppers, the “hot” peppers such as chili and Paprika, Cayenne pepper (capsicum), Pimento, Chili peppers, Hot peppers (long & red, red cluster) as well as eggplant belong to the Nightshade Family, a botanical genus called Solanaceae species. This species also includes tobacco, poisonous belladonna, and the toxic plants henbane, mandrake, and jimson weeds.

[3] I started eating a diet without Nightshades the afternoon of 2/12/2012. 2/14/2012 was the first night I realized my nocturia (the need to urinate frequently) had gone away.

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