In vitro inhibitory effect of West African medicinal and food plants on human cytochrome P450 3A subfamily

J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Mar 24;128(2):390-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2010.01.039. Epub 2010 Jan 28.


Aim of the study: In Africa, medicinal plants are used intensively and concomitantly with allopathic medicines in the treatment of opportunity diseases by many patients or by healthy person to prevent diseases. However, there is little information about the interactions between medicines and botanical products used currently in West Africa area. Therefore, the aim of the present investigation is to study the effect of some plant products on CYP3A4, CYP3A5 and CYP3A7, three individual enzymes of CYP3A subfamily, in vitro.

Materials and methods: Teas and ethanolic extracts of medicinal, food and co-administered plants were evaluated on CYP3A4, CYP3A5 and CYP3A7 individual enzymes in vitro using fluorometric assays.

Results: Extracts of adjuvant plants such as Aframomum cuspidatum, and Aframomum melegueta, as well as one medicinal plant (Harrisonia abyssinica) inhibited CYP3A4, CYP3A5 and CYP3A7 activity more than 90%. Phyllanthus amarus showed high inhibition of CYP3A5 and CYP3A7. Food plants (Solanum macrocarpon and Talinum triangulare) inhibited CYP3A4 and CYP3A5 less than 20%.

Conclusion: These results indicate that plants tested in this study affect in vitro the activity of the main three CYP3A subfamily enzymes. These active plants could interfere with the metabolism at phase I of conventional drugs in vivo as well act as pharmacoenhancers in herbal mixtures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • African Continental Ancestry Group / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A / metabolism*
  • Drug Interactions / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Plants, Edible / genetics
  • Plants, Edible / metabolism*


  • Isoenzymes
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A