In recent times, many people seek natural alternatives to prescription medicines to improve their health. Most people keep a wide variety of plants and substances at home to treat a great number of conditions. Who hasn’t heard of valerian root to aid sleep, chamomile tea to ease stomach pain or lemon balm to relax? These and many other natural remedies have been with us for centuries or even millenniums to help us humans overcome many health issues.
Lately, the market is full of natural remedies that may seem new to us, but they are ancient in many other cultures. One of these products is kratom. Perhaps you have heard about kratom in the news, as it is being subjected of many arguments between those who think it’s a harmful substance, and those who use it and act as advocates of the plant. But, what is this plant and why do people take kratom? In this article, we’ll try to clarify these questions.
What is Kratom?
Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a tree native to South East Asia, that grows wildly in the rainforest of this area. The kratom tree belongs to the Rubiaceae family, which is, in fact, the same as the coffee family. So, we can safely say that kratom and coffee are close relatives. The kratom tree can grow to a height of 25 m. (82 ft.).
Kratom owes its properties thanks to the many compounds that are present in its leaves. Especially, thanks to mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which are the two main alkaloids of the plant. But kratom also contains at least 40 other compounds, being 25 of them alkaloids. Typically, after the leaves are harvested, they are crushed into a powder, and this is what we can find in the market, either in powder form or in capsules, tinctures, extracts, etc.
Where Does Kratom Come From?
Kratom grows naturally in the rainforests of South East Asia. The majority of kratom that we can find in the market comes from Indonesia, in fact, Indo kratom is one of the most popular varieties. But there are other regions where kratom come from, including Borneo, Malaysia, and Sumatra.
Although you can find a lot of Thai kratom on the market, it doesn’t come from Thailand. In reality, most Thai kratom is harvested in Indonesia. The reason for this is that kratom was banned in Thailand in 1943. Notably, the reason for this ban wasn’t related to any type of danger to public health, but to protect the taxes that the Thai Government was getting from opium. Nevertheless, Thailand Government is currently discussing the possibility of lifting the ban on kratom.
Like any other plant, kratom comes in different varieties. Depending on the region where the plant comes from, we can find different kratom strains, including Thai, Indo, and Malay amongst others.
But also, depending on the leaf vein color there are different kratom types. The most common kratom types are red, green and white. The strains take their name from the distinctive color of the leaf veins. One thing to take into consideration is that each kratom type has different properties and effects:
- Red vein kratom: typically, red vein kratom types are more relaxing and sedating.
- White vein kratom: this type of kratom is more stimulating. And it’s favored amongst those who seek a boost of energy.
- Green vein kratom: this type is the most balanced and offers a wide range of effects. That’s why this is one of the most popular kratom types, and it’s used many times as a blend.
Kratom Uses and Effects
Kratom has gained popularity thanks to its many properties and effects. Since ancient times, this plant was used by the native cultures of South East Asia to treat and ease a great number of health issues. Typically, they used kratom to get a boost of energy to help them go through hard working days.
In our culture, people use kratom for a variety of conditions, including:
Although there is some misinformation about people using kratom to get high, this is not typically a recreational drug. In fact, the vast majority of kratom users, take the substance to ease pain, relieve anxiety or get an extra boost of energy in the morning. Also, many people who are dealing with opiate withdrawal have found that kratom can be very helpful to ease the symptoms.
How to Take Kratom
Kratom can be found in different formats in the market. You can find kratom in powder form, which is the most frequent kratom format, but you also can find kratom capsules, kratom extracts, and kratom tinctures.
On the other hand, you can prepare a tea using kratom powder. Also, you can try the toss and wash method, which consists on scooping your kratom powder dose into your mouth, and then wash it down with a big glass of water.
Regarding the dose, there is no general rule on how to take kratom. In fact, this is a substance that acts differently in every individual. Also, depending on the condition that you want to alleviate, the kratom dose should also be different.
Although the different kratom types have different properties, you also should take into consideration that kratom has different effects depending on the dose.
But, how does this work?
Typically, kratom tends to be more stimulant at lower doses, whilst more calming and relaxing at moderate doses. Also, kratom can be sedating at larger doses.
If you never tried kratom before, it is advisable to start at a lower dose (1-2 gr.) and start building up from there until you find your desired effect.
And, how about you? What do you take kratom for? Let us know in the comments below.