Kaurene as the major constituent of the essential oils of the narcotic plant, Khat (<i>Catha edulis</i> Forsk)

<p>Khat (<i>Catha edulis</i> Forsk) is a narcotic plant which contains significant amounts of amphetamines, like alkaloids. Herein, analysis of the essential oil composition showed that Khat has useful volatile chemicals in addition to its alkaloids. Results indicated that among 35 identified constituents including mono and sesquiterpenes, the diterpene kaurene, comprises the major part of the essential oil, around 50 percent of total. Kaurene is known as a potent biological agent for the treatment of cancer patients. The presence of kaurene at high levels indicates that the essential oil of <i>Catha edulis</i> can potentially be more effectively exploited rather than its narcotic stimulant amphetamine-like alkaloids.</p>