2021 Study of Kava Extract Into the MAO-B Inhibitory Properties.

Scientific information


Summary of: Ex vivo and in vitro inhibitory potential of Kava extract on monoamine oxidase B activity in mice.


B.N. Krum, C.M. de Freitas, A. Busanello et al., Ex vivo and in vitro inhibitory potential of Kava extract on monoamine oxidase B activity in mice, Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2021.07.002


The research paper, authored by Bárbara Nunes Krum and her team, delves deeply into the inhibitory effects of Kava extract on monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) activity in mice. The study is a significant addition to the growing body of research that aims to understand the therapeutic potential of Kava, particularly in the realm of neurodegenerative diseases. The paper is meticulously structured, covering various aspects such as methodology, behavioral assays, and both in vitro and ex vivo experimental protocols.

The study begins by outlining the importance of understanding the role of MAO-B, an enzyme that plays a critical role in the metabolism of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is often found to be imbalanced in conditions like Parkinson’s disease. The imbalance of this neurotransmitter can lead to a host of issues, including motor dysfunction and cognitive decline. Therefore, the inhibition of MAO-B activity is considered a promising therapeutic approach. Kava, a plant native to the Pacific Islands, has been traditionally used for its anxiolytic and sedative properties. However, its potential in inhibiting MAO-B activity has not been thoroughly explored, making this study both timely and relevant.

The methodology employed in the study is robust. A 21-day administration of Kava extract was given to mice, and the researchers used one-way ANOVA for data analysis. The team took meticulous measures to minimize animal stress during the experimental period, adhering to ethical guidelines. The behavioral assays included the Elevated Plus Maze test and the Open Field test, both of which are standard tests to evaluate the anxiolytic-like effects of substances. These tests were crucial in understanding how Kava extract affects behavior and physiological responses in mice.

The study also employed both in vitro and ex vivo experimental protocols to measure MAO activity in different brain structures like the cortex and hippocampus. The results were promising. Kava extract showed a significant inhibitory effect on MAO-B activity. This is a groundbreaking discovery as it opens up new avenues for the use of Kava in pharmacological applications, particularly in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases that involve an imbalance of neurotransmitters like dopamine.

Image showing the MAO-B activity of kava extracts in mice.

Moreover, the study touched upon the behavioral and physiological effects of acute and chronic Kava exposure. It cited previous research that supports its findings, thereby strengthening the validity of the study. The paper also discussed the limitations of the study, such as the need for further research to explore the long-term effects and safety of extracts in medical applications. This is particularly important given that Kava has been subject to scrutiny due to potential hepatotoxicity in some cases.

In conclusion, the study by Bárbara Nunes Krum and her team is a monumental step in understanding the therapeutic potential of these extracts. It not only confirms the inhibitory effects of Kava on MAO-B activity but also opens up a plethora of opportunities for future research. The study calls for more comprehensive research to explore the long-term effects, safety, and optimal dosages of Kava extract for medical applications. It also emphasizes the need for clinical trials to validate these findings in human subjects.

The research paper is a significant contribution to the existing literature on Kava and its potential therapeutic applications. It serves as a foundation for future studies and has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. With its meticulous methodology, comprehensive analysis, and promising results, the study stands as a testament to the untapped potential of Kava in modern pharmacology.


  • The study is based on a 21-day administration of Kava extract to mice.
  • It employs both in vitro and ex vivo experimental protocols.
  • The paper calls for further research on the long-term effects and safety of Kava.
  • In paragraph 1 of Introduction the study states, “…affinity by DA type-2 and opioid receptors…”. The study with which the author references for this information was on LEAF extracts, and not root. This does not represent the actual properties of kavalactones consumed.
  • Further in that same sentence it states “dopamine” in regards to reuptake reduction. The study cited for this information (Baum et al 1998) does not necessarily have the information to assert this.

Explore previous articles

Subscribe to Our Newsletter