Document Type : Review Article


Department of Chemistry, Egerton University, P.O Box 536-20115, Egerton, Kenya


With increasing stress levels, disease burden and harsh economic times, drug abuse has increased significantly. Currently, control measures aimed at curbing drug abuse have been applied by various authorities with little success. This paper focuses specifically on one of the emerging drug substances that have been ignored for centuries – Catha edulis. The consumption of khat (Catha edulis) is mainly through chewing of young fresh shoots, sprinkling dry crushed leaves of khat on already prepared food, smoking, and boiling dried khat leaves in water to form Abyssinian tea. The use of khat has spread to many communities of the world such as the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. This has been brought about by a high number of immigrants notably from East Africa and the Middle East, improved road and air transport networks, and improved preservation methods. Chronic and excessive use of khat may result in serious medical concerns among khat users. The medical effects of khat depends on the amount and potency of the chemical cathinone and cathine that is taken in or being absorbed. This work, therefore, reviews the current knowledge on the health effects of khat, social benefits, and possible negative impacts of khat use. Moreover, this work also clearly outlines cessation strategies towards curbing chronic khat abuse, withdrawal symptoms, and pharmacology. It also identifies and recognizes the role of government authorities, non-governmental institutions, and society in addressing the medical problems associated with the consumption of khat.

Graphical Abstract

The Possible Abuse of Catha edulis and its Associated Health and Socio-economic Impacts


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