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This one’s for the folks who are intolerant of potatoes and occasionally need an antidote for nightshades.

(I promise tomorrow I will write something more universal, but there is so little information on nightshade intolerance and I feel called to publicly post anything I discover that might help my fellow Solanaceae-sensitive sufferers.)

Not sensitive but curious?

Okay, let me give you the quick rundown:

Nightshades are members of the Solanaceae plant family, which includes potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, ashwaghanda, goji berries, ground cherries, and tobacco… as well as belladonna, datura, and mandrake.

You know how belladonna is called Deadly Nightshade?

For some unlucky folks, myself included, pretty much all of the nightshades are deadly. The plants’ alkaloids act as muscular and nervous system disruptors.

What does that look like?

For me it’s vomiting migraines with tremors and extreme sensitivity to smell and light that start about 12 hours after ingestion. And if I have multiple ingestions I end up with arthritic symptoms in my ankles.

People ask me if it’s hard to give up tomatoes. One nightshade-migraine will convince you that tomatoes are a torture device developed in the Pit of Despair.

Which brings me to dinner last night and the new chef who decided to add a dash of this-and-that to a normally tomato-less soup.

You can see where this is going, right?

When our waiter, who had assured me that the soup was nightshade-free, guiltily grabbed my bowl away, I knew my night was about to go downhill.

I think I went a little catatonic at that point; as we left the restaurant a homeless woman nearly wrestled Andrew out of the way to “ask” if she could have my leftovers. And I just handed them to her without a word.

I cried on the way home from the restaurant. Sobbed. The thought of spending the next day in agony was simply overwhelming.

Andrew held my hand. Let’s try everything we know, he said.

That was last night. Today my nervous system is a bit shut-down, I’m a bit foggy. But no crazy migraine.

So I figure it’s time to share everything we know.

Everything we know is a compilation of things that I’ve cobbled together to antidote accidental nightshade ingestion. Here’s the thing: I’m not willing to purposely eat a potato in the name of science. So this cocktail has been tested slowly over the past two years.

Furthermore, I can’t tell you why this works for me or that it will work for you. I can tell you that I truly believe that if we pool our personal experiences and listen to our bodies, we can each create a cocktail that keeps us out of The Pit of Despair.

Here’s mine:

* Vitamin K
* Vitamin C
* Choline
* Homeopathic Bio-Salts
* Ibuprofen

(Yes, ibuprofen. A few years back I looked at the damage these migraines were doing to my body and decided that soldiering through was worse for me than taking ibuprofen. I usually only take one. I know it’s not a perfect answer, but for me it’s the lesser evil.

When I was in the Amazon and got a bladder infection, the shaman I was teaching with took the Cipro from me, blessed it, and handed it back. You take, he said.

So even though I know the damage ibuprofen does to the gut, I offer a thanks to the Gods of Pharmacy and swallow it down.)

My personal antidote is not all supplements:

I also need to calm my body’s early-warning system: the muscles in my neck that go into lock down and spasm pre-migraine. Last night I put a heat wrap on my neck, got into bed, and listened to a meditation CD. Twice.

When I woke up this morning, I had bypassed the actual migraine and was in the phase that I think of as the post-migraine haze.

Luckily I already had an acupuncture appointment scheduled. The needles helped. So did the reminder that for me solanine is toxic. So today I took milk thistle and licorice tincture, as well as activated charcoal caps.

I also took time to be incredibly grateful to be here, writing to you, instead of adding this day to my list of lost days.

Please add to this discussion. Tell me what works for you so that this post can become a place where we share solutions.


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