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Navigating the Challenges of Muguka Consumption Among the Youths.


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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Muguka is a stimulant plant that is indigenous in parts of central Kenya. It is chewed and has similar properties to Khat . Due to its stimulating characteristics, it has gained more usage among youths. However, as much as the product is popular, it has a lot of side effects as discussed below.

  1. Addiction

Muguka has a chemical stimulant called cathinone which can cause dependence to the product among users. Users (mostly youths) vulnerably become used and very dependent on this plant. This can cause long lasting consequences on the wellbeing of affected one.

2. Physical health risk.

In terms of health, this stimulating legal drug can cause health complications like high blood pressure and increased heart beat rate. For users vulnerable to heart diseases, it can trigger or progress developing cardio vascular diseases, stroke or even heart attacks. These health risks becomes a major concern among youths.

fig 1.0 Youths chewing miraa and muguka

3. Dental problems.

Having similar characteristics as khat(miraa), muguka is chewed together with other combinations like sugar, sweets, groundnuts etc. and the juice together with saliva is swallowed. This can lead to dental complications like tooth decay, gum infections and others.

Fig. 2 below showing a victim chewing muguka.

4. Poor nutrition among youths.

Muguka just like most other stimulant drugs has the ability to reduce appetite. This leads to poor health among the youths in their crucial and growing face of life because poor nutrition can affect growth and development a lot.

5. Education/work challenges.

Regular intake of this drug may affect the day-to-day activities of youths like education or occupation. The cognitive risk associated with usage of this plant can affect performance both in education and work activities. Working youths can be laid off and those in school suspended when they misbehave.

Muguka has been chewed for centuries due to its stimulating effects. The leaves of the Muguka plant contain cathinone, a natural amphetamine-type stimulant. This contains substances that creates euphoria and alertness. Muguka is an important part of the social and cultural life of many communities and is often ingested during social interaction and conversation. The use of muguka has been a subject of debate and concern in many areas. Although it provides a temporary burst of energy and alertness, long-term use can lead to addiction and various health problems.

Fig. 3 below showing awareness on drug awareness.

Due to these concerns, some countries have banned or regulated muguka, while others have adopted this tradition for a long time. This leads to a challenging debate about the cultural, economic and health aspects of muguka consumption. In recent years there has been interest in researching the benefits and risks of muguka and exploring sustainable growing methods. Researchers and policymakers are finding a balance that emphasizes muguka’s cultural importance while preserving its public health benefits. This highlights the need for a better understanding of the many aspects of muguka and its impact on communities.

One of the factors that contribute to the rate of drug use, among young people in Kenya is the limited availability of job opportunities and high unemployment rates. Due to a lack of employment options many youths resort to cultivating and selling muguca as a way to earn some income. This has led to additional reliance on this crop in certain communities, where sugarcane farming has become the primary activity.

However, muguka usage among youth poses challenges. There are also concerns about health risks such as addiction and negative effects like insomnia, malnutrition and dental problems as discussed above. Furthermore, the economic impact is a bag since short term earnings from muguka cultivation can discourage investment in long term prospects and perpetuate poverty cycles.

Addressing the issue of drug use among youth requires an approach. This includes not just creating job opportunities and providing vocational training but also raising awareness about the potential health risks associated with long term drug use. Additionally, implementing agriculture programs and promoting crop diversification can help communities reduce their dependence on cotton as their cash crop while learning more sustainable and profitable farming practices.


In conclusion, muguka is not good for health as it may have a lot of side effects to youths. Its effects are substantial and awareness should be created to reduce harm among the youth. However, striking a balance between recognizing the significance of muguka production while addressing health and societal concerns is crucial; it is a pivotal key in tackling the issues surrounding youth substance abuse.

About The Author

Moses Sampeke
Moses Sampeke
Community Journalist, Laikipia County, Kenya, Africa.


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