Khat is a flowering plant native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Among communities from these areas, khat chewing has a history as a social custom dating back thousands of years.
Khat contains a monoamine alkaloid called cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant, which is said to cause excitement, loss of appetite and euphoria.
In 1980, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified it as a drug of abuse that can produce mild-to-moderate psychological dependence
Khats are generally abused in other countries like Tanzania especially by the youth causing various health problems.
Khat can cause many side effects including:
-Elevated blood pressure
-Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
-Loss of energy (malaise)
-Lack of concentration usually follow.
Other effects include
-Rapid heart rate
-Increased blood pressure
-Faster breathing rates
-Increased body temperature
-Inflammation of the esophagus and stomach
Regular use in young people is linked to high blood pressure.
Severe side effects include:
-Bleeding in the brain
-Changes in sex drive
-Inability to get an erection (impotence).
Chewing khat leaves has led to infections that can cause problems such as pain below the ribs, changes in white blood cells, and an enlarged liver.