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Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline

Freephone: 0808 808 2234
Or text DAN to: 81066


Khat, Qat, Cat, Chat, Ghat, Miraa, Arabian Tea.

What does Khat look like?

A flowering evergreen shrub native to tropical East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. In its natural form, leaves and stems.

Khat prepared for use

Scientific Names

Catha edulis from the Celastraceae family.

Generic Name

Catha Edulis

Effects Of Khat

Desired Effects:

Talkative, mild euphoria & excitement, alertness, excitement, dilated pupils.


Insomnia, loss of appetite, dry mouth, hyperactivity, constipation.



Anxiety, manic behaviour, Paranoia, Tolerance.


Depression, irritability, psychological Dependence. May have negative effects on liver function, susceptibility to ulcers and lowered sex drive.

Reducing Harm

Please view our Reducing Harm page for more information.

How does Khat work?

Central nervous system stimulant. Khat contains the chemicals Cathinone and cathine which are amphetamine-like Stimulants, but Khat is much less potent.

Legal status of Khat

In June 2014 khat became a controlled class C drug in the UK. Cathinone and cathine are both Class C, under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

How Is Khat Taken?

The fresh leaves and stems are chewed, or can be brewed into a tea.


If brewed into a tea, tea making equipment.

Medical uses of Khat


Where does it come from?

Khat has been used in parts of East Africa and the Arabian peninsula for centuries. Khat chewing has a long history as a social custom amongst the communities from these areas. It is used in some Somali, Yemeni and Ethiopian communities in Britain.

Helping services

Most areas of the UK have 'street agencies' or projects (sometimes called community drug services or community drug teams) which offer a range of services including information and advice, counselling, needle exchanges and sometimes support groups and complementary therapies such as acupuncture. Multicultural organisations may be able to advise on local sources of expertise on khat. The increase in stimulant use has led to some agencies offering specialist counselling, cognitive behaviour therapy, acupuncture and other alternative therapies and prescribing of anti-depressants, and also possible referral to residential rehabilitation. Some services have extended working hours and may offer weekend support. GPs and possibly the local hospital A&E department can make referrals to specialist drug services as well as general medical services, information and advice often in partnership with a drug agency or Drug Dependency Unit.

Parents & other relatives

Drug agencies also provide lots of advice and support to parents of people using these drugs. Many street agencies can provide relative support groups or counselling for family members, partners etc.

You can view a list of National Drug Agencies.

If you would like to talk about Khat problems then please call the DAN 24/7 Helpline on:

0808 808 2234