Phytochemical-mediated modulation of cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs) may underlie many herb-drug interactions. This study's purpose was to assess the effects of milk thistle and black cohosh supplementation on CYP3A activity and compare them to a clinically recognized inducer, rifampin, and inhibitor, clarithromycin. Healthy volunteers were randomly assigned to receive a standardized milk thistle (900 mg) or black cohosh (80 mg) supplement for 14 days. Subjects also received rifampin (600 mg) and clarithromycin (1000 mg) for 7 days as positive controls for CYP3A induction and inhibition, respectively. Midazolam was administered orally before and after each supplementation and control period. The effects of milk thistle, black cohosh, rifampin, and clarithromycin on midazolam pharmacokinetics were determined using noncompartmental techniques. Unlike those observed for rifampin and clarithromycin, midazolam pharmacokinetics was unaffected by milk thistle or black cohosh. Milk thistle and black cohosh appear to have no clinically relevant effect on CYP3A activity in vivo.