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- myocardial infarction
- coronary vasospasm
- dilated cardiomyopathy
- stroke medicine
- herbal medicine
Khat (also called Qat) is a shrub whose leaves (figure 1A) have been chewed for their central stimulatory effect by people of East Africa and the Arabian peninsular since the time of the Islamic conquest (around 640 AD) to the present day. Its stimulatory effects have been used in preparation for battle, religious ceremonies including weddings, and simply as a social pastime. It is used by some Muslims after fasting at Ramadan and has also found use as an appetite suppressant in the obese. Khat is predominantly cultivated in Kenya, Yemen and Ethiopia. In Ethiopia it is the second biggest export after coffee. Somalia has become the biggest net importer, its own production destroyed by years of civil war.
Its use is emerging as a threat to the cardiovascular system among the growing numbers of those in the UK who regularly indulge in its effects. Used for centuries in the countries of its origin, khat emerged in the western world …
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.