1. Gavage administration of the natural flavonoids tangeretin, chrysin, apigenin, naringenin, genistein and quercetin for 2 consecutive weeks to the female rat resulted in differential effects on selected phase 1 and 2 enzymes in liver, colon and heart as well as antioxidant enzymes in red blood cells (RBC). 2. Glutathione transferase (GST) activity assayed by use of the substrate 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene was significantly induced by apigenin, genistein and tangeretin in the heart but not in colon or liver. 3. In RBC chrysin, quercetin and genistein significantly decreased the activity of glutathione reductase (GR), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx), whereas superoxide dismutase (SOD) was only significantly decreased by genistein. 4. The oxidative status of the animal, measured as plasma malondialdehyde, revealed that chrysin, quercetin, genistein, and beta-naphthoflavone (BNF) significantly protected against, 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo [4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP)-induced oxidative stress. Hepatic PhIP-DNA adduct formation was not affected by any of the administered flavonoids, whereas PhIP-DNA adduct formation in colon was slightly, but significantly, inhibited by quercetin, genistein, tangeretin and BNF. 5. The observed effects of chrysin, quercetin and genistein on antioxidant enzymes, concurrently with a protection against oxidative stress, suggest a feedback mechanism on the antioxidant enzymes triggered by the flavonoid antioxidants. 6. Despite the use of high flavonoid doses, which by far exceed the human exposure levels, the effect on drug metabolizing and antioxidant enzymes was still very minor. The role of singly administered flavonoids in the protection against cancer and heart disease is thus expected to be limited.