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It is also known as jimaa in the Oromo language and mayirungi in Luganda Language.Khat has been grown for use as a stimulant for centuries in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.There, chewing khat predates the use of coffee and is used in a similar social context.

the khat plant has over the years found its way to Southern Africa as well as tropical areas, where it grows on rocky outcrops and in woodlands.The shrub is today scattered in the Kwa Zulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa, in addition to Swaziland and Mozambique.Its fresh leaves and tops are chewed or, less frequently, dried and consumed as tea, to achieve a state of euphoria and stimulation; it also has anorectic (appetite-reducing) side effects.Khat contains a monoamine alkaloid called cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant, which is said to cause excitement, loss of appetite and euphoria.In 1980, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified it as a drug of abuse that can produce mild-to-moderate psychological dependence (less than tobacco or alcohol), It is a controlled substance in some countries, such as Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States (de facto), while its production, sale, and consumption are legal in other nations, including Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen.

Khat goes by various traditional names, such as kat, qat, qaad, ghat, chat, tschat, Abessinischer Tee, Abyssinian Tea, Somali Tea, Miraa, Arabian Tea, and Kafta in its endemic regions of the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

Khat is a slow-growing shrub or tree that typically attains a height of between 1 and 5 m (3.3 and 16.4 ft).

However, it can reach heights of up to 10 metres (33 ft) in equatorial areas.

The plant usually grows in arid environments, at a temperature range of 5 to 35 °C (41 to 95 °F).

It has evergreen leaves, which are 5–10 cm long and 1–4 cm broad.

The shrub's flowers are produced on short axillary cymes that are 4–8 cm in length. The samara fruit is an oblong, three-valved capsule, which contains one to three seeds.