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Copyright 2013 Natural Standard (
March 2007

African Potato & Drug Interactions

A new study suggests that African potato may interfere with certain drugs metabolized by the liver.

Researchers from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa investigated the effects of the African potato (AP) on drug metabolism pathways involving enzymes in the liver.

The in vitro study analyzed different components of AP including hypoxoside, beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol and stigmastanol and their effects on liver enzymes associated with the metabolism of many common pharmaceutical drugs. It was suggested that these compounds may have an inhibitory effect on liver enzymes.

The effects were measured through various scientific tests against a known enzyme inhibitor, ritonavir.

The study showed that AP did show an inhibitory effect on certain liver enzymes. Researchers also studied the effects of AP on P-glycoprotein (P-gp), which is a protein that regulates the absorption of certain medications. AP stimulated the production of P-gp, which resulted in decreased drug absorption.

The researchers concluded that although this study was done in vitro, AP may have the potential to interact with a variety of medications. Further studies are warrented to determine its effects in vivo.

For more information about African potato, please visit Natural Standard's Herbs and Supplements database.


  1. Nair VD, Dairam A, Agbonon A, et al. Investigation of the antioxidant activity of African potato (Hypoxis hemerocallidea). J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Mar 7;55(5):1707-11. View Abstract.
  2. Natural Standard Research Collaboration: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Copyright 2007.
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