Kratom refers to a plant species, specifically a tree called Mitragyna speciosa, a member of the Rubiaceae family native to Southeast Asia. This tree is particularly large, and can grow sixty feet tall with a width of over fifteen feet. Kratom leaves are long and oval shaped, and their color ranges from light to dark green, with yellow flower pods. Such plant life can be found across the whole of Southeast Asia, from Malaysia and Thailand to New Guinea and Borneo, where it thrives in wet, marsh-like regions.
Dutch traders were the first to notice and write about the use of Kratom, by mostly Malaysian people in traditional medicine. That being said, this plant has been used across Southeastern Asia for numerous purposes. Kratom is consumed for the treatment of opioid dependence, an an antidiarrhoeal, and even for premature ejaculation during sex. Traditional use dictates that the plant is not seen as a drug, and is thus sans any stigma attached to it. It has been and integral part of Thai culture, largely in the south for thousands of years. Quite often Kratom appears in both agriculture and cultural performances.
While the average number of leaves consumed has been recorded between ten to twenty leaves per day, it is not unnatural for people to take more. In certain areas located in the south of Thailand, there is speculation that over seventy percent of men living there use Kratom in one form or the other. Kratom remained a staple in Native medicine within the entire region before spreading across the globe. Traditionally, the leaf is either chewed or dried and turned into powder for tea or in the preparation of other foods and beverages. It is the leaf in and of itself that contains medicinal properties, and contains a number of active alkaloids.
One of the said alkaloids is known as Mitragynine, named after the tree. Additionally, Kratom comes from the coffee family, and it's effects are often compared to said product. The effects of Kratom are relatively mild. It is both a stimulant and a depressant. In other words, it provides both a calming and stimulating effects. It can further be argued that Coffee is in fact, stronger than Kratom since drinking Coffee necessitates dilution with water prior to consumption. Since Kratom has become wildly popular, new strains have been created to cater to the plants' diversity of effects. One can find a particular strain that increases energy and psychological clarity, or another that acts more as a sedative. Of all the three strains, Green Vein Kratom is perhaps the most celebrated.
Although it can be found in both Indonesia and Thailand, it's most effective form is found in Malaysia. This Kratom, although mostly used for it's stimulating effects, also acts as a painkiller. Malay Kratom is an extremely well-rounded medicine, and a healthy alternative to many pharmaceutical drugs. Some would advise, depending upon what you are using Kratom for, to alternate the use of various other strains such as red Thai Kratom for a week or two, before following it with a green Kratom. Others have popularized blends, each crafted to suit individual needs. Having recently been integrated into Western culture as an alternative medicine and psychoactive substance, people around the world are now turning to Kratom as an effective alternative to more harmful medicines.
As previously mentioned, there is a diversity of strains now available. For example, there is Bali Kratom, regarded for it's analgesic properties coupled with mild energy enhancement. Additionally there is the white-veined Sumatra Kratom, ideal for work. New to the North American market is Vietnamese Kratom, which shares much in common with Maeng Da and Malay strains, by providing users with strong mental focus and drive. Finally, Kratom is a fascinating addition to a new world of medicine and will surely be further recognized for it's undeniable benefits no matter where one comes from.