Kavalactones fail to inhibit alcohol dehydrogenase in vitro.Phytomedicine. 2006 Feb; 13(3):192-5.P
In recent years, Kava kava (Piper methysticum, Forst. f., Piperaceae), a folkloric beverage and popular herbal remedy, has been implicated in a number of liver failure cases. Many hypotheses as to the mechanism of its hepatotoxicity, for example interactions with other co-ingested medication, have been postulated. This present study investigated whether pharmacokinetic interactions between kava constituents and alcohol via alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) inhibition by individual kavalactones might explain its claimed hepatotoxic effects. Four kavalactones, (+/-)-kavain, methysticin, yangonin and desmethoxyyangonin, fail to inhibit ADH in vitro at 1, 10 or 100 microM concentrations.