Chewing khat leaves is a social tradition in East Africa and Arabian Peninsula. According to experts at Heart Hospital in London, chewing it for the long time can cause heart problems, liver dysfunction, tooth loss and throat cancer. Khat leaves suppose to affect blood clotting and obstructs arteries supplying blood to heart. This study is published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
The findings support preceding studies that khat chewers were at higher risk of heart attack than people who do not chew the leaves. The habit is trendy in Ethiopia and Somalia, and among migrated communities from these countries. Catha edulis, the parent plant of khat leaves, is largely grown in East Africa, Yemen, and a major export crop in Ethiopia. Canada, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the United States have all banned the leaf.