The present study was designed to evaluate the effects of a series of natural coumarins on ethoxyresorufin O-dealkylase (EROD) and pentoxyresorufin O-dealkylase (PROD) activities in vitro using hepatic tissues from SENCAR mice. Fifteen different coumarins were examined for potential modulating activities. Several naturally occurring coumarins, found in the human diet, were effective inhibitors of hepatic EROD activity in vitro, including coriandrin, bergamottin, isoimperatorin, and ostruthin. Notably, coriandrin and bergamottin were approximately as potent as 7,8-benzoflavone, a relatively selective inhibitor of cytochrome P450 1A1. Several naturally occurring coumarins were also potent inhibitors of hepatic PROD activity, including imperatorin, bergamottin, isopimpinellin, and angelicin. Kinetic studies of the type of inhibition revealed that these compounds inhibited hepatic EROD and PROD activity by a variety of modes rather than by a uniform one. Furthermore, experiments using a two-stage incubation assay revealed that coriandrin, imperatorin, ostruthin, and several other natural coumarins inactivated hepatic EROD activity (i.e., predominantly cytochrome P450 1A1-mediated) and that isopimpinellin inactivated hepatic PROD activity (i.e., predominantly cytochrome P450 2B1-mediated). Finally, the results indicate that some coumarins had selective inhibitory effects for EROD vs PROD and preliminary analyses suggested a possible structural basis for the observed differences. The current data suggest that certain naturally occurring coumarins, to which humans are exposed in the diet, are potent modulators of cytochrome P450. Furthermore, these compounds may be capable of influencing the metabolic activation of other xenobiotics, including chemical carcinogens.