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Advances in Pharmacological Sciences
Volume 2011, Article ID 326724, 6 pages
Review Article

Toxicokinetics of Kava

Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sydney, Bank Building (A15), Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

Received 30 November 2010; Accepted 24 January 2011

Academic Editor: Charles P. France

Copyright © 2011 Anthony Rowe et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Kava is traditionally consumed by South Pacific islanders as a drink and became popular in Western society as a supplement for anxiety and insomnia. Kava extracts are generally well tolerated, but reports of hepatotoxicity necessitated an international reappraisal of its safety. Hepatotoxicity can occur as an acute, severe form or a chronic, mild form. Inflammation appears to be involved in both forms and may result from activation of liver macrophages (Kupffer cells), either directly or via kava metabolites. Pharmacogenomics may influence the severity of this inflammatory response.