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Chewing Khat Raises Heart Disease, Death Risk: Study

Posted 13 Dec 2011 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 – Chewing the green leaves of the khat plant for its amphetamine-like effect appears to raise the risk for both stroke and death among heart patients, according to a large new study from the Middle East. The finding, however, could have relevance far beyond that region, as emigration has increasingly brought khat-chewing to the shores of both Europe and North America. Consumed by an estimated 10 to 20 million people worldwide, for centuries the naturally grown Catha edulis shrub has been widely available (and most popular) across East Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula, where some people munch on khat in pursuit of a euphoric or aroused state of mind. "We need to be careful about the risk of using 'herbs' and 'natural substances,' and khat is an example, although it is leaves, which appear 'harmless'," said study co-author Dr. Jassim Al Suwaidi, senior ... Read more

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Chewing Khat Linked to Severe Liver Damage

Posted 29 Apr 2010 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, April 28 – Chewing khat leaves for a mild high is popular in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and the practice is also seen among certain immigrant groups in Great Britain and the United States. But chewing khat can cause severe liver damage and even death, British researchers report. Khat contains cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant that causes euphoria, excitement and loss of appetite. Although banned in the United States, it finds its way to North America from Britain, where it is readily available, the researchers reported in a letter to the editor in the April 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Eugene Schiff, director of the Center for Liver Diseases at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, said the danger posed by khat "is well established in the literature." "We see this in a variety of herbal substances," he added. ... Read more

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