Catha edulis (generic name)

treats Cognitive function
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Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Abyssinian tea, African salad, Arabian-tea, bushman's tea, cat, cathine, cathinone, Catha edulis, Celastraceae (family), Celastrus edulis, chat, chaat (Arabic), gat (Arabic), herbal ecstasy, kat (Arabic), kus es Salahin (Arabic), miraa, oat, phenylpropanolamine, qat (Yemen), qut, somali tea, tchaad (Arabic), tohai (Arabic), tohat (Arabic), tshcut (Arabic).

Background

Khat is believed to have originated in Ethiopia. It is a flowering evergreen plant native to tropical East Africa. Khat has been grown for use as a stimulant for centuries and predates the use of coffee.

Khat is an agent that has been used in social settings to induce feelings of euphoria and pleasure. Medicinally, it has been used to treat depression and to enhance work capacity. Khat has also been used as an aphrodisiac, to treat premature ejaculation, and to enhance sexual desire.

Currently, there are no well-designed clinical trials evaluating khat for any indication. Two poorly documented trials evaluated khat in cognitive function. One study revealed no difference in cognitive function in the elderly with khat use. In the other study, cognitive functioning was negatively affected by khat use.

Fresh khat leaves contain cathinone - a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act; however, the leaves typically begin to deteriorate after 48 hours, causing the chemical composition of the plant to break down. Once this occurs, the leaves contain cathine, a Schedule IV drug. Khat is currently illegal in the United States.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Cognitive function: Khat has been evaluated for its cognitive effects; however, the results are mixed with some studies showing benefit and others showing negative effects. Additional study is needed in this area to clarify these findings.
Grade: C

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Appetite suppressant, depression, gastric ulcers, fatigue, male infertility, obesity, physical work capacity, premature ejaculation, sexual activity enhancement, stimulant.

Dosing

Adults (over 18 years old)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for khat. However, approximately 100-200 grams of fresh leaves have been chewed, one at a time for their stimulant effects. The juice can be swallowed while the residue is retained in the cheek and later expelled. A juice has also been made by blending khat with water and lemon and then filtering the mixture. A tincture can be made by alcohol extraction of the active ingredients.

Children (under 18 years old)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for khat in children, and use in not recommended.

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