Kratom is not approved or regulated by the FDA. This article contains data about kratom for informational purposes only. None of the information contained herein should be considered medical advice. Kratom is not intended for use in diagnosing a disease, or for treating, curing, or preventing diseases or other health conditions. Anyone considering the use of kratom should speak with their physician to answer any questions before doing so.
Where Does Kratom Come From?
One of the most popular botanical supplements in recent years is Mitragyna speciosa, better known as kratom. Kratom has boomed as of late, with kratom bars opening up similar to kava bars. If you are looking to learn more about this plant, look no further. We're doing a deep dive on kratom so that you can be up-to-speed.1
Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is not native to the U.S., where it is steadily gaining popularity. Kratom is originally from Southeast Asia. The plant is found in the countries listed below:
- Papua New Guinea
The Parts of Asia That Produce Kratom
While all of the countries listed above are the home of native kratom, they are not all large exporters of the plant. The world's largest kratom producer is in Indonesia. It is currently believed that 95% of the world's kratom supply comes from Indonesia specifically. As such, having good relationships with Indonesian kratom farms is highly important.
How Kratom Was First Used
In the country that Mitragyna speciosa grows in, the original intent of the plant was medicinally based. Traditional cultures would chew the kratom leaves, allowing them to feel the desired effects. The use of kratom today is better understood, however, and the plant is not to be used medically.
Kratom produces a number of desirable effects when consumed. These effects depend on the dosage of the plant being taken. As such, low doses and high doses provide several different effects.1
- Low Dosage Effects: Mitragyna speciosa is related to the coffee plant. In low doses, kratom provides energy and mental focus. Most users report mental clarity when using kratom in small doses.
- High Dosage Effects: High doses of kratom provide mood-improving effects, like relaxation and calming feelings. It has even been known to provide a euphoric effect for people who consume it.
What is the Kratom Plant?
The kratom plant has two naturally occurring compounds in it that provide the desired effects. These two compounds are listed below.
Mitragynine is the most abundant active alkaloid in Mitragyna speciosa, hence the scientific name of the plant. It is one of two compounds in kratom that produce the effects of the plant. In dried kratom leaves, there are roughly 1.5% of concentrated alkaloids in total, and mitragynine makes up two-thirds of those concentrations. It is the reason behind the effects that kratom has on people.
7-HMG is one of the other active alkaloids found in Mitragyna speciosa. 7-HMG is the abbreviated name, with the full name being 7-hydroxymitragynine. In the alkaloid concentrations of kratom, 7-HMG only makes up about 2% of the total. This alkaloid compound provides the same effects that mitragynine does, but it is considered more potent.
The Strains of Kratom
As with many other plants, there are different strains of kratom. The term strain refers to different genetic variants of the same species. As such, all of the strains listed below are the same species (Mitragyna speciosa), but they vary slightly from one another.
What Are the Kratom Strains?
There are four different strains of kratom popularly available on the market. All of these strains are listed below.
- White vein kratom
- Red vein kratom
- Green vein kratom
- Yellow vein kratom
Where Do the Strains Come From?
Strains in plants result from selective breeding of the plants themselves. The plants are bred and pollinated to provide the desired effects. As such, different strains do different things better than the others do.
What Are the Effects?
Depending on the strain of kratom you are consuming, you may experience different effects. The different possible effects are listed below:
- Mental focus and clarity
- Higher energy levels
- Mood lifting feelings, like euphoria
- Alleviation of discomfort
How is Each Strain Different?
Kratom strains are harvested differently from one another, in addition to being different variations because the strains have different chemical lifecycles. At certain parts of their lives, they have different alkaloid concentrations. This means that they have to be harvested properly.
- White vein kratom: This type of kratom is harvested at the earliest possible maturity. It has the highest levels of mitragynine present.
- Red vein kratom: Harvested later than white vein kratom, but earlier than green vein kratom, red vein kratom is more balanced in its alkaloid concentrations.
- Green vein kratom: This type is the longest strain in terms of maturity. It has higher levels of 7-HMG than other strains. It is considered the most potent, and the most popular.
- Yellow vein kratom: Yellow vein kratom is a less potent and common form of the plant. It is harvested from kratom leaves that are already decaying or "yellowing," hence the name.
How to Use Kratom Today
Kratom has come a long way since the chewing of leaves. As such, there are many different ways to consume and use kratom in modern times.
Kratom resin is a very popular form of kratom extract. It removes most of the plant matter, leaving only the concentrated alkaloids behind. It can be mixed with beverages or taken orally.
Kratom tea is arguably the most popular way to consume kratom. There are kratom bars that serve kratom tea exclusively. However, there are other kratom beverages, as well. The reality is that you can take brewed kratom leaves and tea and mix them with your beverage of choice. Popular options are orange juice and flavored teas.
Kratom capsules are much like any other supplement that you may come across. They come as a dried powder in a gelatin capsule and are taken orally with food or water. Capsules are not the most popular way of taking kratom, but they are certainly the easiest. They are also the best way to monitor and control your kratom dosages. If you are looking to take kratom on the go, then capsules are your best bet.