- What other names is Khat known by?
- What is Khat?
- How does Khat work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Are there any interactions with medications?
- Dosing considerations for Khat.
Abyssinian Tea, Arabian-Tea, Catha edulis, Celastrus edulis, Chaat, Gat, Kat, Kathine, Kus es Salahin, Miraa, Qat, Qut, Tchaad, Thé Abyssin, Thé Arabe, Thé Somalien, Tohai, Tohat, Tschut.
Khat is a plant. The leaf and stem are used as a recreational drug and as medicine.
As a recreational drug, the leaves and stem are chewed by people in East Africa and the Arabian countries to elevate mood (as a euphoriant).
As a medicine, khat leaf is used for depression, fatigue, obesity, stomach ulcers, and male infertility. It is also used to lower the need for food and sleep, decrease sexual desires, and increase aggression.
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists khat as a drug that creates “dependence” in people, meaning it produces a continuing desire to keep using it. In Somalia, civilian and military use of khat has been blamed for fueling civil war, draining the nation's economy, and undermining international relief efforts.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Stomach ulcers.
- Elevating mood.
- Male infertility.
- Reducing the need for food and sleep.
- Decreasing sexual desire.
- Increasing aggression.
- Other conditions.
Khat contains stimulants similar to amphetamines.
Khat can cause many side effects including mood changes, increased alertness, excessive talkativeness, hyperactivity, excitement, aggressiveness, anxiety, elevated blood pressure, manic behavior, paranoia, and psychoses. Trouble sleeping (insomnia), loss of energy (malaise), and lack of concentration usually follow.
Other effects include rapid heart rate, heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, faster breathing rates, increased body temperature, sweating, eye changes, mouth ulcers, inflammation of the esophagus and stomach, gum disease, jaw problems (TMJ), and constipation.
Regular use in young people is linked to high blood pressure.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to take khat by mouth if you are pregnant. Khat may lower birth weight. It is also POSSIBLY UNSAFE to take khat by mouth if you are breast-feeding. Some of the active chemicals it contains can pass into breast-milk.
Diabetes: Using khat seems to lower appetite, causing people to skip meals. When eating becomes less routine, people with diabetes may stop following their recommended diet. This could lead to higher blood sugar levels.
High blood pressure: Khat might increase blood pressure. This might be especially unsafe in people who already have high blood pressure. Avoid use.
AmpicillinInteraction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.
Khat might reduce how much ampicillin the body absorbs. This might decrease how well ampicillin works. Separate dose times by at least 2 hours.
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Khat might increase blood pressure. By increasing blood pressure, khat might decrease the effectiveness of medications for high blood pressure.
Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.
Stimulant drugsInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Stimulant drugs speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and speed up your heartbeat. Khat might also speed up the nervous system. Taking khat with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with khat.
The appropriate dose of khat depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for khat. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Adeoya-Osiguwa, S. A. and Fraser, L. R. Cathine and norephedrine, both phenylpropanolamines, accelerate capacitation and then inhibit spontaneous acrosome loss. Hum.Reprod. 2005;20(1):198-207. View abstract.
Al Hadrani, A. M. Khat induced hemorrhoidal disease in Yemen. Saudi.Med.J. 2000;21(5):475-477. View abstract.
Al Motarreb, A. L. and Broadley, K. J. Coronary and aortic vasoconstriction by cathinone, the active constituent of khat. Auton.Autacoid.Pharmacol 2003;23(5-6):319-326. View abstract.
Al Motarreb, A., Briancon, S., Al Jaber, N., Al Adhi, B., Al Jailani, F., Salek, M. S., and Broadley, K. J. Khat chewing is a risk factor for acute myocardial infarction: a case-control study. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2005;59(5):574-581. View abstract.
Al Zubairi, A., Al Habori, M., and Al Geiry, A. Effect of Catha edulis (khat) chewing on plasma lipid peroxidation. J.Ethnopharmacol. 2003;87(1):3-9. View abstract.
Alem, A. and Shibre, T. Khat induced psychosis and its medico-legal implication: a case report. Ethiop.Med.J. 1997;35(2):137-139. View abstract.
Awange, D. O. and Onyango, J. F. Oral verrucous carcinoma: report of two cases and review of literature. East Afr.Med J 1993;70(5):316-318. View abstract.
Belhadj-Tahar, H. and Sadeg, N. Methcathinone: a new postindustrial drug. Forensic Sci Int 10-4-2005;153(1):99-101. View abstract.
Brenneisen, R., Fisch, H. U., Koelbing, U., Geisshusler, S., and Kalix, P. Amphetamine-like effects in humans of the khat alkaloid cathinone. Br.J.Clin.Pharmacol. 1990;30(6):825-828. View abstract.
Brown, E. R., Jarvie, D. R., and Simpson, D. Use of drugs at 'raves'. Scott.Med J 1995;40(6):168-171. View abstract.
Dimba, E. A., Gjertsen, B. T., Bredholt, T., Fossan, K. O., Costea, D. E., Francis, G. W., Johannessen, A. C., and Vintermyr, O. K. Khat (Catha edulis)-induced apoptosis is inhibited by antagonists of caspase-1 and -8 in human leukaemia cells. Br.J.Cancer 11-1-2004;91(9):1726-1734. View abstract.
Giannini, A. J. and Nakoneczie, A. M. Treatment of Khat Addiction with Bromocriptine Mesylate: A Case Report and Review of Cocaine- and Amphetamine-Like Effects. Am J Ther 1995;2(7):487-489. View abstract.
Giannini, A. J., Miller, N. S., and Turner, C. E. Treatment of khat addiction. J.Subst.Abuse Treat. 1992;9(4):379-382. View abstract.
Granek, M., Shalev, A., and Weingarten, A. M. Khat-induced hypnagogic hallucinations. Acta Psychiatr.Scand. 1988;78(4):458-461. View abstract.
Griffiths, P., Gossop, M., Wickenden, S., Dunworth, J., Harris, K., and Lloyd, C. A transcultural pattern of drug use: qat (khat) in the UK. Br.J.Psychiatry 1997;170:281-284. View abstract.
Guantai, A. N. and Maitai, C. K. Metabolism of cathinone to d-norpseudoephedrine in humans. J Pharm Sci 1983;72(10):1217-1218. View abstract.
Hassan, N. A., Gunaid, A. A., Abdo-Rabbo, A. A., Abdel-Kader, Z. Y., al Mansoob, M. A., Awad, A. Y., and Murray-Lyon, I. M. The effect of Qat chewing on blood pressure and heart rate in healthy volunteers. Trop.Doct. 2000;30(2):107-108. View abstract.
Hassan, N. A., Gunaid, A. A., El Khally, F. M., Al Noami, M. Y., and Murray-Lyon, I. M. Khat chewing and arterial blood pressure. A randomized controlled clinical trial of alpha-1 and selective beta-1 adrenoceptor blockade. Saudi.Med J 2005;26(4):537-541. View abstract.
Hassan, N. A., Gunaid, A. A., El Khally, F. M., and Murray-Lyon, I. M. The effect of chewing Khat leaves on human mood. Saudi.Med.J. 2002;23(7):850-853. View abstract.
Heymann, T. D., Bhupulan, A., Zureikat, N. E., Bomanji, J., Drinkwater, C., Giles, P., and Murray-Lyon, I. M. Khat chewing delays gastric emptying of a semi-solid meal. Aliment.Pharmacol.Ther. 1995;9(1):81-83. View abstract.
Jager, A. D. and Sireling, L. Natural history of Khat psychosis. Aust.N.Z.J.Psychiatry 1994;28(2):331-332. View abstract.
Kalix, P. Catha edulis, a plant that has amphetamine effects. Pharm.World Sci. 1996;18(2):69-73. View abstract.
Kalix, P. Cathinone, a natural amphetamine. Pharmacol Toxicol 1992;70(2):77-86. View abstract.
Kalix, P. Khat, an amphetamine-like stimulant. J.Psychoactive Drugs 1994;26(1):69-74. View abstract.
Kalix, P., Geisshusler, S., Brenneisen, R., Koelbing, U., and Fisch, H. U. Cathinone, a phenylpropylamine alkaolid from khat leaves that has amphetamine effects in humans. NIDA Res Monogr 1990;105:289-290. View abstract.
Kassim, S. and Croucher, R. Khat chewing amongst UK resident male Yemeni adults: an exploratory study. Int Dent.J 2006;56(2):97-101. View abstract.
Khattab, N. Y. and Amer, G. Undetected neuropsychophysiological sequelae of khat chewing in standard aviation medical examination. Aviat.Space Environ.Med. 1995;66(8):739-744. View abstract.
Kuczkowski, K. M. Herbal ecstasy: cardiovascular complications of khat chewing in pregnancy. Acta Anaesthesiol.Belg. 2005;56(1):19-21. View abstract.
Mion, G., Ruttimann, M., Oberti, M., and Aversenq, C. [Acute Khat-induced psychotic crisis]. Ann.Fr.Anesth.Reanim. 1997;16(2):201-202. View abstract.
Murugan, N., Burkhill, G., Williams, S. G., Padley, S. P., and Murray-Lyon, I. M. The effect of khat chewing on gallbladder motility in a group of volunteers. J.Ethnopharmacol. 2003;86(2-3):225-227. View abstract.
Nasher, A. A., Qirbi, A. A., Ghafoor, M. A., Catterall, A., Thompson, A., Ramsay, J. W., and Murray-Lyon, I. M. Khat chewing and bladder neck dysfunction. A randomized controlled trial of alpha 1-adrenergic blockade. Br.J.Urol. 1995;75(5):597-598. View abstract.
Nencini, P., Ahmed, A. M., Amiconi, G., and Elmi, A. S. Tolerance develops to sympathetic effects of khat in humans. Pharmacology 1984;28(3):150-154. View abstract.
Patel, N. B. Mechanism of action of cathinone: the active ingredient of khat (Catha edulis). East Afr.Med.J. 2000;77(6):329-332. View abstract.
Pehek, E. A. and Schechter, M. D. Discriminative stimulus properties of (+)cathine, an alkaloid of the khat plant. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1990;36(2):267-271. View abstract.
Randall, T. Khat abuse fuels Somali conflict, drains economy. JAMA 1-6-1993;269(1):12, 15. View abstract.
Salib, E. and Ahmed, A. G. The khat-chewing elderly. Int.J.Geriatr.Psychiatry 1998;13(7):493-494. View abstract.
Schechter, M. D. Dopaminergic nature of acute cathine tolerance. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1990;36(4):817-820. View abstract.
Toennes, S. W., Harder, S., Schramm, M., Niess, C., and Kauert, G. F. Pharmacokinetics of cathinone, cathine and norephedrine after the chewing of khat leaves. Br.J.Clin.Pharmacol. 2003;56(1):125-130. View abstract.
Widler, P., Mathys, K., Brenneisen, R., Kalix, P., and Fisch, H. U. Pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of khat: a controlled study. Clin.Pharmacol.Ther. 1994;55(5):556-562. View abstract.
Yousef, G., Huq, Z., and Lambert, T. Khat chewing as a cause of psychosis. Br.J.Hosp.Med. 10-4-1995;54(7):322-326. View abstract.
Zelger, J. L., Schorno, H. X., and Carlini, E. A. Behavioural effects of cathinone, an amine obtained from Catha edulis Forsk.: comparisons with amphetamine, norpseudoephedrine, apomorphine and nomifensine. Bull.Narc. 1980;32(3):67-81. View abstract.
Attef, O. A., Ali, A. A., and Ali, H. M. Effect of Khat chewing on the bioavailability of ampicillin and amoxycillin. J.Antimicrob.Chemother. 1997;39(4):523-525. View abstract.
Cats A, Scholten P, Meuwissen SGM, et al. Acute Fasciola hepatica infection attributed to chewing khat. Gut 2000;47:584-5. View abstract.
Randall T. Khat abuse fuels Somali conflict, drains economy. JAMA 1993;269:12-13.