Dietary feeding of flavokawain A, a Kava chalcone, exhibits a satisfactory safety profile and its association with enhancement of phase II enzymes in mice

Xuesen Li, Xia Xu, Tao Ji, Zhongbo Liu, Mai Gu, Bang H. Hoang, Xiaolin Zi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Flavokawain A (FKA), a major chalcone in the Kava plant, has recently demonstrated promising anti-cancer activities. A systematic evaluation of FKA's safety profile has not been reported before. In this study, male FVB/N mice were fed with an AIN-76A diet or AIN-76A diet supplemented with 0.6% (6. g/kg food) FKA or 0.6% commercial kava root extract (KRE) for three weeks. Dietary feeding of FKA did not affect food consumption and body weight. Histopathological examination of liver, kidney, colon, lung, heart, spleen, and thymus revealed no signs of FKA-induced toxicity. Biochemical serum analysis and histological examination confirmed normal organ function in FKA-treated mice. The cytotoxicity profile showed FKA had minimal side effects on bone marrow and small intestinal epithelial cells compared with Adriamycin. In addition, oral feeding of FKA increased activities of both glutathione S-transferase and quinone reductase in the liver, lung, prostate and bladder tissues of mice. In comparison, dietary feeding of 0.6% KRE increased liver/body weight ratio and decreased spleen, thymus, and testis/body weight ratios, as well as induced nodular proliferation in liver tissues. Therefore, dietary feeding FKA showed no adverse effects on major organ function and homeostasis in mice, suggesting the potential of FKA for chemoprevention study of human cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-11
Number of pages10
JournalToxicology Reports
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014



  • Flavokawain A
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Kava

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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