What is khat
- Somali tea
- Abyssinian tea
- African salad
- Bushman's tea
Khat is a flowering plant native to northeast Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
Individuals chew khat leaves because of the stimulant effects.
It contains cathinone, a phenethylamine substance which is said to induce mild euphoria
and excitement. The stimulant properties of khat are similar to, but less powerful
than, amphetamines, having the effect of speeding up your mind and body.
What does it look like?
Khat is a shrub or tree that grows to between 1.5m and 20 m tall.
The evergreen leaves are 5–10 cm long and 1–4 cm broad.
The leaves begin to deteriorate 48 hours after being cut from the plant on which
they grow and the more potent chemical, cathinone, decomposes leaving behind the
milder chemical, cathine.
How is it used?
Deteriorating khat leaves are yellow-green in colour.
To slow down the deteriorating, khat leaves and stems are wrapped in plastic bags
or banana leaves to preserve their moisture and keep the cathinone potent.
Fresh leaves and stems are chewed or, less frequently, dried and consumed as tea.