Catha edulis

Discover The
Stimulant Khat

What is Khat?

Khat is a flowering evergreen shrub that is abused for its stimulant-like effect. Khat has two active ingredients, cathine and cathinone.

Enjoy amazing benefits of Catha Edulis.

Other Names

Abyssinian Tea, African Salad, Catha, Chat, Kat, Miraa, Oat, Qat, Quaadka

How Its Used

Khat is typically chewed like tobacco, then retained in the cheek and chewed intermittently to release the active drug, which produces a stimulant-like effect. Dried khat leaves can be made into tea or a chewable paste, and khat can also be smoked and even sprinkled on food.

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Growing from
Khat Seeds

Buy Khat seeds and grow your own Khat plants at home.

Khat is a large, slow growing, evergreen shrub, reaching a height of between 1 and 5 metres, in equatorial regions it may reach a height of 10 metres. It is native to East Africa and Arabia, but is now cultivated in many countries throughout Africa.

It grows in arid environments, and once established thrives in full sun at a temperature range of 5-35°C. It will not usually tolerate frosts, and overwatering will cause it to drop leaves and die. In certain areas it is often grown with coffee plants and in irrigated terraces.

It has been said that Qat is a difficult plant to grow from seed, but we have not experienced any problems germinating this species. Seeds should be planted in either, horticultural sand, cactus compost, vermiculite, or any mix of these three media. It is important that the choice of growing media is very free draining, as Khat seeds are prone to damping off fungus, which will quickly kill small seedlings. Plant the qat seeds about 5mm deep in pots or seed pans, mist the surface until slightly moist, and place in a warm bright place, out of direct sunlight. Mist the surface whenever the soil dries completely.

Clinical Overview of Catha Edulis



Khat leaves are chewed mainly for their psychostimulant and euphoric effects. It has traditionally been used to elevate mood and combat fatigue. Khat is also believed to have antiobesity effects due to appetite suppression. However, there are no well-controlled clinical trials to support any of these uses.



100 to 300 g of fresh leaves are chewed to form a bolus (called a "quid") that is held against the cheek on one side of the mouth while swallowing its juice; a typical "khat session" lasts for 3 to 4 hours. A khat preparation was administered at a dose of 0.8 mg/kg of cathinone in a pharmacokinetic study.


Interactions And Toxicology

Khat chewing interferes with the absorption of amoxicillin and ampicillin. Nicotine and caffeine increase the stimulant effects of khat. Khat may cause oral and gastric cancer, cerebral hemorrhage, severe headache, myocardial infarction (MI), duodenal ulcers, hypertension, low-birth-weight infants, and a variety of other severe effects, including addiction and associated sequelae.

Catha edulis Botany And history

Khat is a natural stimulant native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, with distribution in parts of the Middle East and on the island of Madagascar.

It is a tall evergreen shrub (2.7 to 3.7 m in height) that grows best at high elevations (1,500 to 2,000 m above sea level). Its tender twigs and leaves are harvested almost year-round. White leaves are more rare and more expensive than red leaves. Freshly harvested khat has traditionally been wrapped in banana leaves to keep it moist during export to neighboring African countries.

Place the cuttings in pots or seed pans, and treat either as freshly germinated seedlings, or freshly transplanted seedlings; with one notable exception. They must be kept dry. If they are kept in a propagator they will not wilt. Water very infrequently. Overwatering will cause mould or stem rot, both of which will quickly kill the cuttings. Keep the cuttings out of direct sunlight until after they show signs of new growth. New growth may take several months.

General Care of Khat plants

Often the young khat plants will be rather top heavy, with slender stems, so they may bend under their own weight. This can be partly remedied by providing a small cane, or other support.

It is important to keep Khat on the dry side, as overwatering will harm these plants. They will quickly loose all their leaves if overwatered, cessation of water will usually remedy this problem. Also, as mentioned above, a free draining soil is essential. Compacted or too rich a soil mix will promote root rot.
Although these khat plants like to be on the dry side, when young they do need regular water. On average, I’d say I water mine about once a week. The progression from slightly wilting to bone dry leaves is quite rapid with Khat, especially in warm weather. When you see the leaves wilting or looking slightly crisp and dry the qat plant will need watering immediately.

Generally Khat makes an excellent house-plant. It prefers full sun, but will grow happily in partial shade, and it likes warm, dry conditions – something which our centrally heated houses provide in abundance. It is slow growing, so could be kept for several years as a smallish indoor shrub.

General Care of Catha Edulis plants & Khat cutting

Khat Cuttings are fairly straightforward, although rarely 100% successful. Cut a 5-20cm length from the tip of the branch. It should be the current years growth, green and pliable, not too woody.

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