The habit of Catha edulis Forsk (khat) chewing has prevailed for centuries among populations in the horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula. Fresh leaves of Catha edulis are customarily chewed to attain a state of brain stimulation. The fact that cathinone has a closer structural similarity with amphetamine, and both share common pharmacodynamic features, led to the conclusion that cathinone is the most important active ingredient of Catha edulis, which causes the major pharmacological effects. Problems associated with repeated consumption of Catha edulis leaves are becoming evident. Literature surveys and clinical diagnostic studies revealed an association with prevalence of psychiatric morbidity. Catha edulis also leads to several peripheral effects that include increases in blood pressure and has been associated with the increased incidence of acute myocardial infarction. Catha edulis also accounts for a number of gastrointestinal tract problems, oesophagitis, gastritis and delay intestinal absorption, as well as the development of oral keratotic white lesions at the site of chewing.