“The leaves of khat, a leafy green shrub, are chewed habitually for euphoric and stimulating effects. The main ingredients, cathinone and cathine, are structurally related to amphetamine and ecstasy,” says lead author Waleed Ali, M.D., from Hamad General Hospital in Doha, Qatar. An estimated 5 million to 10 million people worldwide chew khat, predominantly those living in the horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, according to an editorial written by Farrah Mateen, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and Gregory Cascino, M.D., from the Department of Neurology at Mayo Clinic. They further state that Khat is illegal in the United States, and is not currently an accepted form of medical treatment.
Dr. Ali says, “Patients of Eastern African and Yemeni origins should be evaluated and counseled about khat chewing, even when living in Western countries.”
A peer-reviewed journal, Mayo Clinic Proceedings publishes original articles and reviews dealing with clinical and laboratory medicine, clinical research, basic science research and clinical epidemiology. Mayo Clinic Proceedings is published monthly by Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research as part of its commitment to the medical education of physicians. The journal has been published for more than 80 years and has a circulation of 130,000 nationally and internationally. Articles are available online.
About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy of “the needs of the patient come first.” More than 3,700 physicians, scientists and researchers, and 50,100 allied health staff work at Mayo Clinic, which has campuses in Rochester, Minn; Jacksonville, Fla; and Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz.; and community-based providers in more than 70 locations in southern Minnesota., western Wisconsin and northeast Iowa. These locations treat more than half a million people each year. To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to www.mayoclinic.org/news. For information about research and education, visit www.mayo.edu. MayoClinic.com (www.mayoclinic.com) is available as a resource for your health stories.