Catha Edulis – Khat

Catha Edulis, also known as Khat, belongs to the Celastraceae plant family. Native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, Khat is a flowering plant, first grown in Ethiopia where it is originally known as chat. The eastern city of Harar is officially known as the birthplace of Khat.


Among its native communities, the practice of Khat-chewing was a social custom from thousands of years ago. 

In the imperial cults of Ancient Egypt, Khat was considered a sacred substance. They believed that Khat was capable of making the user realize his divinity. These people used to intake Khat ceremoniously to manifest mystical and metaphysical experiences.

Sufis also used Khat to intensify their musical experiences for it facilitated a sense of union with God.


Khat is a slow-growing plant with evergreen leaves. It can reach a height of up to 10 meters in equatorial areas.

Khat takes around seven to eight years to reach its complete height, and it grows well in arid regions with a temperature of 5 – 35°C.

It bears small white flowers that have five petals and originate on short axillary cymes. Khat also bears an oblong, three-valved capsule-shaped fruit called the Samara fruit. It contains one to three seeds.

Khat’s leaves are sour to taste. The stem is soft, which makes it easy to chew.


Khat’s leaves are chewed and used as an ingredient in tea as it helps achieve a state of euphoria. It also has anorectic characteristics. So, the tea also becomes a weight-loss remedy. On that note, here is a list of best CBD oils for weight loss that are healthy and cause almost no side-effects.

Its stimulating effects have made it popular as a socializing drug in Yemen, used predominantly by males. In other regions, it is consumed at parties for pleasure, and by farmers and drivers to reduce fatigue and hunger, and to increase attention.

Some child soldiers in Yemen have been chewing Khat to stay alert on the battlefield, as well.

Khat acts as a refrigerant for the stomach and liver. It gives relief from biliousness, a sense of bliss, and can also reduce depression.

Side Effects

Khat has been reported to cause constipation. 

Prolonged use can cause hallucinations, psychosis, and oral cancer. It also increases the risk of heart attacks.

Less frequently reported negative effects include strokes, acute coronary syndrome, and death.

The World Health Organisation characterized Khat as an abusive drug. They claimed that it can cause the user to develop a psychological dependence on the drug if used consistently. Although, WHO does not consider it to be very hazardous to health.

Not to be Misused

It’s true that excess amounts of anything can be bad for health.

Khat can be used to enhance athletic performance, and increase focus, alertness, and confidence. It also makes you verbose and causes impaired inhibition, which is similar to the effects of alcohol.

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Misusing this shrub can cause fatal consequences on your body. Further, a poor understanding of the effects of khat on your nervous system can lead to uncalled medical issues.

Hence, do not use drugs without a prescription or proper knowledge, and keep yourself healthy!