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Khat plant may create next mens fertility wonder drug

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  • a mu-min

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  • embryodoc

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  • almuawak
    Originally posted by Ali_Khan
    bloody hell, cant you keep this in the brothers forum at least?
    Funny how the signs of still disturbs few...

    "HEY CRIPPLE sing along! :hidban: :hidban:Kumbaya MY LORD KUMBAYA , :hidban: :hidban:KUMBAYA my KUMBAYA!..
    there we go again...

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  • Mary Carol
    Khat Drug May Improve Male Fertility

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  • Mary Carol
    Originally posted by abdulhakeem
    The leaves of the khat plant, which is also known as qat, are chewed for the feeling of euphoria they produce. But scientists at King's College London have discovered that they also contain chemicals that help sperm mature and fertilize an egg.
    Do you know anyone who has used the leaves?

    Are the euphoric effects harmless to the body, both physically and pyschologically?

    It's always amazing when science discovers a modern day use for a plant that has been around for centuries.

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  • Ali_Khan
    bloody hell, cant you keep this in the brothers forum at least?

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  • abdulhakeem
    Yemen's government, residents coping with fallout of khat addiction

    Posted on Tue, Jun. 01, 2004
    The Dallas Morning News

    HAMDAN, Yemen - (KRT) - Brothers Abdullah and Yahia Al-Atia, each holding a teaching degree, are young men with young families launching careers as drug dealers.

    The Al-Atia family grows khat. It is a slight, silvery tree whose budding leaves contain the euphoria-inducing stimulant cathinone. Chew enough khat leaves, and the cathinone hits the central nervous system much like an amphetamine.

    Khat, in other words, is nature's version of speed.

    "It's a good living, thanks be to God," said Abdullah Al-Atia.

    Both the World Health Organization and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration regard khat as a dangerous drug. It is grown mainly in East Africa and in Yemen, where its cultivation and widespread use are raising environmental, health and social concerns.

    The Al-Atia brothers spend their afternoons in a cinderblock watchtower overlooking their khat trees. They chew the crop, drink water and tea, smoke cigarettes and point automatic rifles out the windows.

    "If we don't guard the trees, people will come to steal the leaves every time," Abdullah said. "We shoot at them. They run away."

    Although khat quickly loses its potency once harvested, it is being transported long distances and smuggled across borders. Law enforcement agencies seized more than 30 metric tons of khat in the United States during the first six months of 2002.

    Khat is legal in Yemen. Otherwise, most Yemenis would be criminals. Khat is the basis of social life for Yemeni men and, increasingly, for Yemeni women.

    Chewing sessions begin in the afternoon as friends carrying bundles of khat branches gather in living rooms to sit on the floor or lounge against the walls. Men chew with other men, women with other women. By midnight, the rugs are littered with stems. The conversations are intense, punctuated by laughter and emotion.

    But development agencies say khat irrigation is also depleting the aquifers deep beneath Yemen's water-starved capital city, San`a, at a rate of 10 to 20 feet a year.

    There is a human cost as well.

    Khat turns hard-working Yemenis into afternoon layabouts. Chronic khat chewers are more often sick and die younger. Pregnant women who chew khat are more likely to miscarry. From $5 to $15 a day of household money that could go toward caring for children or other family members goes instead to a drug habit.

    As much as a third of Yemen's economic output - or $3 billion a year - involves the growing and selling of khat, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    A 2002 report by Canada's International Development Research Centre found more than 23 percent of the irrigated cropland in Yemen is planted with khat trees. The orchards are concentrated on intricate terraces along mountain slopes, at altitudes between 3,500 and 8,000 feet.

    Coffee, sorghum and other crops are disappearing because they produce only a fraction of the cash. The Al-Atia family earns 1.5 million Yemeni rials a year (about $8,100) from its khat crop - three or four times what family members would earn as teachers or from growing anything else, said Yahia Al-Atia.

    Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, and even the World Bank agrees khat helps Yemeni farmers while producing some environmental benefits.

    "It leads farmers to invest quite a lot of money in what turns out to be good erosion control. The mountain terraces are kept in good repair," said Robert Hindle, the World Bank's country manager for Yemen. "Against that, you have some fairly dramatic negative social aspects. ... Large parts of family income that should be going to nutrition, health and education are being diverted to khat."

    Forty-two percent of Yemen's 19 million people live below the poverty line. Per capita income is $840 a year by some estimates, but just $460 a year by the calculations of the World Bank.

    "If you were able, from day one to day two, to redirect the money that goes into khat you would reduce the poverty rate by six percentage points overnight," Mr. Hindle said.

    Richard Cincotta, a research associate with Population Action International in Washington, said khat use heightens demographic problems like a high birth rate and land and water shortages - demographics that the population control group said are pointing Yemen in the direction of civil war.

    "It really is amazing. Even if its fertility rate falls to meet the U.N.'s median projection, by 2050 Yemen would have nearly as many people as Russia," Cincotta said. (The contrast between Russia's older, declining population and Yemen's young and growing population, the U.N. notes, would leave Russia with just 101.4 million people in 2050 while Yemen would have to 84.3 million.)

    The World Bank's Hindle agreed that khat use diverts resources needed for development purposes, of which the most acute may be girls' education. Half of Yemeni men can read and write, but only one-fourth of Yemeni women are literate. One of the most effective ways to reduce a poor country's birth rate is to raise female educational attainment. But only 24 percent of Yemeni girls living in rural areas go to school. And the average number of births for a Yemeni woman is seven.

    Abdullah and Yahia Al-Atia say they are familiar with these arguments. They send their own children to school, and expect their sons not to chew khat until they are 12 or 15 years old.

    "If, after school, they can get a good job, they will go there," Yahia said. "If not, they will work here."

    The imams at Yemen's mosques could have an impact if they would sermonize against khat. It is almost non-existent in Saudi Arabia and Oman - two of Yemen's neighbors - because of strong social and religious strictures against khat, Hindle said.

    Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Salih launched an anti-khat campaign in 1997 and again in 1999, when he announced he would quit the habit and instead learn to use a computer and devote more time to sports. Khat chewing was banned for on-duty officers and soldiers of the Yemeni army.

    But the campaign lapsed.

    Abdulwahab Al-Hajjri, Yemen's ambassador to the United States, said Yemen needs a sustained anti-khat campaign similar to the U.S. anti-smoking campaign - heavy on education, and only gradually moving toward bans on its use.

    "We shouldn't try to eliminate it, but to reduce it by 60 or 70 percent," he said. "Usually people want a once-and-for-all program to stop it, but it doesn't work when you try it that way."

    Hindle saw another reason for the government's inability to curb khat use.

    "There are too many senior people who chew khat every day and depend on it," Hindle said.

    In any case, Yahia Al-Atia said, the Yemeni people would not tolerate a ban.

    "The government cannot do that. They know this," he said. "There are millions of people who depend on khat - farmers, dealers, and people who chew."

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  • abdulhakeem
    Legal Cocaine-Like Drug Boosts Fertility

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  • abdulhakeem
    Plant May Improve Male Virility, Scientists Say

    Mon Jun 28, 2004 10:16 AM ET

    BERLIN (Reuters) - Men trying to boost their fertility may soon receive help from an unusual source -- a plant grown for centuries in East Africa and the Middle East.

    The leaves of the khat plant, which is also known as qat, are chewed for the feeling of euphoria they produce. But scientists at King's College London have discovered that they also contain chemicals that help sperm mature and fertilize an egg.

    "We envisage the development of products that could be taken by individuals, either couples who might be having trouble conceiving or even those who have just decided to try to conceive, and who have no obvious problems," Professor Lynn Fraser told a fertility conference in Berlin on Monday.

    The chemicals could also be used as additives to sperm in fertility treatments, she added.

    In studies of mouse and human sperm, the scientists discovered that amphetamine-like compounds which belong to a group of chemicals known as phenylpropanolamines (PPAs) stimulated and extended the final maturing process in sperm.

    "These preliminary data suggest PPAs, at appropriate doses, might provide a new approach to enhancing natural fertility," Lynn said.

    Other PPAs related to the compounds in khat leaves are already used in prescription and over-the-counter products such as dietary supplements for weight loss and an asthma treatment.

    But Lynn, who presented the research at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, said more research is needed to study the effect of PPAs on the ovaries, sperm and testes before they can be developed into a treatment for humans.

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  • Khat plant may create next mens fertility wonder drug

    Posted By: News-Medical in Men's Health News
    Published: Monday, 28-Jun-2004