What is kratom? Otherwise known by its scientific name as Mitragyna Speciosa, Kratom is a new (to us) but old remedy used for various reasons.
Kratom has been around for a long time, originating in the jungles of Southeast Asia. The leaves contain many properties that research says are at least remedial, though there is some debate on whether kratom is addictive in nature or not. Clearly kratom is not poisonous, but it is still incredibly controversial because so many claim its healing properties while forces like the FDA and DEA claim it may have potentially harmful effects. In the very least, scientists, kratom enthusiasts, and natural path doctors alike are all very interested in the chemistry and toxicology of this plant and are waiting on the edge of their seats to gather more evidence for understanding what kratom really does to the human body. Let’s dig into some basics, then get into some of its magical properties, shall we?
Where is it from?
In the jungles and tropics of the Southeast Asian world, a plant known as kratom, grows heavily in its native terrain. Originally a native plant to Thailand, the kratom plant, also called “kakuam, ithan, thom, ketum, and biak-biak,” grows anywhere from 13 to 20 feet high in many countries across southeast Asia including Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam (Reys kratomonline).
What is kratom’s scientific categorization and its uses?
According to The Plant List which categorizes a working list of all plant species, kratom (or Mitragyna Speciosa) belongs to the well-known Rubiaceae family which contains many flowering plants, including the coffee tree. (The kratom tree is related to the coffee tree.)
Mitragyna Speciosa, is a tree which produces large, broad shaped leaves that are dried, crushed, and consumed, smoked, or chewed.
Just as with most edible plants, there are various options of ways to consume it, and likewise, the effects vary from person to person. In the past, people have used it like tobacco, as a tea, as an extract, a resin, and a powder.
What does kratom look like? What are veins and strains?
The leaves are referred to by the color of the vein. The vein of a leaf is the pipe-like vein that travels up the middle of the plant and branches out to all edges of the leaf itself. This vein will be one of the following: red vein, white vein, or green vein, each with their unique effect on the human body. In addition, other descriptions such as “horned” are added to the name to further identify the specific shape of the leaves’ edges which, when horned, have a special pointed edge surrounding the leaf. Other things that may differentiate the kind of kratom are the drying processes or fermentation processes that are used to produce different effects for the user.
The plant, kratom, is a pure product with no additives, though many have extracted either the 7-hydroxy or mitragynine alkaloids and mixed its properties with other drugs or substances, which can cause addictive or life-threatening effects.
What does kratom taste like?
Kratom is very bitter and reminiscent of a concentrated green tea. The consistency, if in powder form, is comparative to that of the recently popular Matcha Tea or cinnamon. When in its powder form, it does not mix well with anything unless it is blended into a shake or a smoothie of some sort or is mixed in with hot water and stirred until dissolved (5-6 minutes), and is easily stuck to the roof of the mouth, inhaled, or puffed out if taken incorrectly. All together, it’s bitter and chalky. When kratom is wet and unmixed, its consistency is like that of clay, and as it can be consumed in a tea form which tastes like a strong and gritty version of green tea. Many add some form of sweetener like honey to dim the bitter taste.
Why do people use kratom?
Pure kratom has absolutely no additives. It is plant which is said to have many benefits - but as I am unable to discuss them here, I recommend you visit the American Kratom Association for more details.
We are advocates for the responsible use of kratom as an additive free, natural plant.
The Plant List (2010). Version 1. Published on the Internet; http://www.theplantlist.org/ (accessed 1st January).
* The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act require this notice.