A tree first documented by Dutch botanist Pieter Korthals, kratom, has become increasingly popular in the western word for its medicinal properties.
It’s been used since time immemorial in its native South East Asia where it grows in the luscious jungles and rain forests for its therapeutic effects.
It’s generally used as tea by boiling the leaves. The main active ingredient being, mitragyna, with the leaves from mature trees having the highest alkaloid content. It’s very important when sourcing kratom that the leaf is from mature trees that have been harvested using Sustainable Forest Management.
Kratom is a member of the Rubiaceae family, commonly known as coffee.
So, what do people use kratom for? Well, it has in fact many uses, it can be used as an energiser, and yes, a bit like a strong jolt of coffee. It can also be used to help anxiety or depression issues, pain management and sleep.
Kratom comes mainly in three different varieties: White Veined, Red Vein and Green Vein.
The white strains are the ones that give you energy and can contribute to an uplifting mood. Users of white strains report increased motivation and concentration, as well as endurance, which is why it is popular with people suffering from depression.
The most popular strain is Red Veined Kratom, known for its calming effects to help you relax and release tension. It’s popular as a sleeping aid for those suffering insomnia. This is the most popular strain for its analgesic properties, with many users preferring it to prescribed painkillers. It has the added advantage that it is less addictive and users do not need to keep upping the dose to get the same results. In fact, kratom has been proven to wean people off prescription opiates or even heroin withdrawal. As well as it’s painkilling properties, the certain red strains are also known for their mood enhancing effects.
Another strain is Green Veined Kratom which people like to say is kind of in the middle between the red and white strains. It’s known to give you a mild energy booster, a coffee like pick-me-up, but also has painkilling properties like the red strains, but not so strong resulting in less drowsiness and oscitancy. Patients sometimes mix the green strains of kratom with the red or white to give an increased all-round variety of effect. Other users report using the white strains in the morning and the red strains in the evening; it’s not uncommon for medicinal kratom users to stock up on more than one variety.
Funnily enough, one of the most popular strains to be found on sale is Maeng Da kratom from Thailand, which literally means pimp grade in the Thai language.
Kratom powder is readily available for sale in smoke shops, head shops and online retail stores in the USA and much of Europe. The DEA considered banning it back in September 2016, but backed down in an unprecedented move after outrage from consumers who lobbied Congress and in a historical first, the decision to put kratom on the scheduled drugs list was reversed.