Adverse Effects of Khat (Catha edulis) Chewing in Yemeni Adults: A Case-Control Study
Keywords:Khat chewing, Catha edulis, arthritis, kidney diseases
Background: Khat is the common name for the plant Catha edulis. The leaves and buds of Khat are chewed
and their use is an established cultural tradition for many social situations in Yemen. Traditionally, Khat has
been frequently chewed on social occasions, in public spaces or designated rooms in private homes. The
medical and psychosocial impacts of khat chewing have been reported previously. However, the effect of
chewing Khat on some biochemical and hematological parameters needs further investigation.
Objectives: This study was carried out to investigate the effect of Khat chewing on a number of biochemical
and hematological parameters in a population-based groups.
Materials and Methods: One hundred and eighty eight (n=188) subjects who have completed the
questionnaire were included in this study. Ninety eight (n= 98) subjects among these were Khat chewers and
ninety (n= 90) were non-chewers of Khat. Blood samples were collected from each subject in the study to
measure uric acid, rheumatoid factor (RF) and complete blood cell (CBC) counts.
Results: It has been shown that joint pain and kidney disease were significantly more prevalent in Khat
chewers than Khat non-chewers. Uric acid levels were markedly higher in Khat chewers than Khat nonchewers,
while differences in RF levels between the two groups were not significant. Although RBCs indices
showed no significant difference among the study groups, a statistical significance in the white blood cells
(WBCs), lymphocytes, and platelets counts was observed.
Conclusion: The present study strongly suggeststhat Khat chewing had an adverse effect on the development
of arthritis and kidney diseases. Moreover, altered immune defence mechanisms due to Khat chewing have
also been documented in this study.
How to Cite
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.