Khat (catha Edulis) Up-regulates Testosterone And Decreases Prolactin And Cortisol Levels In The Baboon.
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The potential effect of Khat (Catha edulis, Celastraceae) on fertility in humans has not been elucidated. In this study, we used the olive baboon (Papio anubis, Cercopithecidae) to determine the effects of oral administration of khat on circulating hormones. In order to establish baseline hormonal levels, five male baboons were bled once a week for 1 month. The same baboons were then fed with crude khat juice extract once a week over a period of 2 months, and the effects on serum levels of cortisol, testosterone and prolactin determined using enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and radioimmunoassay (RIA). Subsequently, sampling was repeated for a further 1 month to determine the residual effect of khat. The results showed that khat administration causes a significant increase in the mean levels of testosterone while prolactin and cortisol levels were reduced. These effects were also evident 1 month post treatment and indicate khat may exert a transient effect on male fertility by interfering with the hormonal profiles.