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Books - The health and socio-economic aspects of Khat use
Written by D. Lemordant   


At the beginning of the year 1956 the lecturer assumed charge of the Chemistry Department of the Pasteur Institute of Ethiopia. That was six months before the publication of a French decree placing khat on List B of narcotic drugs.
He recalls the stir caused by this being put on the black list and comments on it, emphasizing its inconsistent aspects, which leads to some reflections upon what one might think is covered by the term toxicity, a concept which is, in short, very vague.
In regard to this property, the author criticizes the rigid attitude which attributes to khat some misdeeds for which it is not responsible, without, however, disregarding of minimizing the real ones.
He comes to a reconsideration, in respect of each of the chemical constituents, of the beneficial aspects of their therapeutic activity already used in traditional medicines, or possibly usable, thus review-ing the tannins, vitamin C, essential oil, alkaloids, etc.
This approach to the chemistry of khat permits an allusion to the chemotaxonomy of the celastraceae in order to envisage an investigation which might lead to the discovery of antibacterial or anticancerous products such as those already found in the mytenus, the gymnosporia and other genera of this same family.
The development of the beneficial aspects of the chemistry of khat must make it possible to envisage their utilization for trying to find solutions to the various socio-economic problems which khat presents. However, these solutions are difficult to apply and do not enable the future to be viewed with optimism. The examination of these solutions involves multiple social and economic aspects which, on an international scale, vary according to the country concerned.
Reference is made in connection with these socio-economic aspects to the recent theses on medicine by: Absieh, Bach, Boulet, Mouton & Talgorn.

Our valuable member D. Lemordant has been with us since Monday, 20 May 2013.