Are mould hepatotoxins responsible for kava hepatotoxicity?

Phytother Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):1768-70. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4620. Epub 2012 Feb 8.


Previous studies with kava components such as kavalactones, pipermethystine and flavokavain B have demonstrated hepatotoxicity from these constituents. Regardless, there has recently been speculation that adulterants or impurities such as the mould hepatotoxin aflatoxin are a more likely cause of kava hepatotoxicity, despite a paucity of supporting evidence. Although there is limited similarity between acute kava hepatotoxicity and acute aflatoxicosis, and background levels of aflatoxin have been detected in kava samples, unless epidemiological investigations can uncover direct evidence implicating mould hepatotoxins, it remains more likely that chemical constituents of kava are the cause of the hepatotoxicity from kava.

MeSH terms

  • Aflatoxins / toxicity*
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / microbiology*
  • Fungi / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Kava / chemistry
  • Kava / toxicity*


  • Aflatoxins