Journal of ethnopharmacology

The effect of Cree traditional medicinal teas on the activity of human cytochrome P450-mediated metabolism.

PMID 24971793


Rhododendron groenlandicum (Bog Labrador tea), Rhododendron tomentosum (Marsh Labrador tea) and Juniperus communis (Juniper) are used in medicinal teas by Canadian aboriginal cultures alone and in combination with conventional drug products. The safety of this combination had not been previously examined and this study was initiated to examine the potential of medicinal teas to inhibit the major human drug metabolizing enzyme, cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4). The decoctions of Rhododendron groenlandicum and Rhododendron tomentosum leaves and Juniperus communis berries were examined in a microtiter fluorometric assay to examine their potential to inhibit CYP-mediated metabolism. The decoctions showed progressive inhibition towards CYP3A4 the longer the leaves or berries were brewed. R. Rhododendron groenlandicum and Juniperus communis may have the potential to inhibit CYP3A4-mediated metabolism. The findings of this study with these traditional medicines are significant in that they provide mechanistic support that these products have the potential to affect the safety and efficacy of other health and medicinal products. As this study only examined CYP3A4, it is possible that these medicinals contain substances that could also affect other metabolic enzymes.