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Qat, besides being a nice scrabble word, is also a stimulating plant. In parts of Africa and the Arab world, people chew on the leaves of the plant to get more energy and a better mood. Sounds good? Here we tell you all about the uses and effects of qat.

Qat, khat, cat, miraa: many names for a potent little plant

You can spell qat in several ways. Most people spell it with a q, but you also come across khat and kat. Another word for the plant is Swahili miraa, jaba, aluta and muguka. In Latin, it is called 'Catha Edulis'.

Many names for one and the same plant! You could say they love it in Africa. Millions of Kenyans, Ethiopians, Somalis and East Africans chew the red-green leaves for stimulation and euphoria. The drug is so potent that it is banned in several countries. Growing it yourself is allowed, though, just as is the case with magic mushrooms, for example. Just buy khat seeds and put some love and patience into it. After just a few weeks, your qat seeds will blossom into plants. You can then put those in your garden just fine. Keep in mind that these plants can eventually become 5-metre trees.

Dosage and effects of khat

Khat gives you energy. Some opponents of this drug (or drugs in general) point out that qat is the same as coke or speed. But the effect is not completely comparable to that. Whereas sniffing speed for just one second can get you all tight, qat users have to chew for hours to get a bit high. So it is certainly not the case that one leaf of khat will make you all crazy and energetic. That makes it easy to dose. As for the effect, count on a good coffee experience.

The effects of khat at a glance:

  • better mood, euphoria
  • more alertness and focus
  • more creativity and inspiration
  • more self-confidence
  • suppression of appetite
  • combats fatigue.

How to use qat?

To give you a good idea of what is called a 'qat session': chew 100 to 300 grams (!) of leaves, for three to four hours at a stretch. You spit out the leaves, swallow the juice with your drool. After chewing, the active substance is released after 15 to 45 minutes; cathinones. Peak effects are seen after 1.5 to 3.5 hours. The effects can last up to 24 hours. So plan your qat session wisely....

Are there any risks associated with khat?

As is the case with any stimulant, qat can cause negative effects. For instance, excessive use can damage your gums and damage your heart. Qat is similar to amphetamine in its effects. And that can lead to intestinal problems, diarrhoea, sleep problems, decrease in your appetite and irritability. African studies suggest that qat can lead to increased aggression towards partners or exacerbation of psychotic traits. Are you prone to such misery? Then ask yourself whether you should generally want to use stimulants, including khat. And preferably seek help with such problems, to please yourself and others.

Looking for more energy? Our tips

Does khat interest you because you are looking for more energy? If so, consider other supplements, plants, herbs and interventions. Think caffeine, maca, cola nut, better sleep and stress reduction.