When people talk about kratom, they’re talking about the mitragyna speciosa plant. Human beings have had a relationship with this plant throughout history, and now it’s starting to become more popular in the Western World. Some cultures have traditionally treated kratom like an herbal remedy or supplement, which is why so many people in the wellness community are becoming interested. To understand this plant and why people buy it, start by exploring kratom history.
Where is Kratom From?
Mitragyna speciosa grows naturally in Southeast Asia, which is why some people there have already been using kratom for hundreds of years. You may hear of Thai kratom or Malaysian kratom, but most kratom in the United States now comes from Indonesia, and especially the island of Borneo. Strains that originated in Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, and other places have also been transported to Indonesia throughout the years. While people get kratom from a variety of sources, we at Gold Leaf Botanicals only sell wild kratom from the jungle of Indonesia.
Traditional Uses Throughout Kratom History
People in Southeast Asia have already been using kratom for centuries, and there are many reported reasons for this. In some societies, laborers would chew mitragyna speciosa leaves in an attempt to feel stimulated and have more energy while working. Members of these groups often believe that the highlights of kratom include increased appetite, more energy, and even greater sexual potency.
After people started eating kratom to experience the effects of its alkaloids, they also began smoking it and brewing it like tea. In addition to an increase in energy, many proponents of kratom throughout the years have consumed it in some way or another in an effort to address pain. This reason for taking kratom is appealing to people with physically demanding jobs or any other source of physical discomfort.
The idea of using kratom for pain relief has motivated people to start using mitragyna speciosa leaves instead of opium products in more recent history. It’s possible that the opioid crisis in the United States is partially responsible for a rising interest in kratom products. Since kratom does not contain any opiate substances but does interact with opioid receptors in the brain, there are many people who look at mitragyna speciosa leaves as a potential alternative to opioids.
As opposed to pills and other types of pharmaceutical drugs, kratom is appealing to so many people in part because it’s a natural product. The potential effects of kratom are related to the alkaloids in this plant. Kratom alkaloids have also become a source of political discussion in the United States. There is a lot of disinformation about the highlights and side effects of kratom, which is why it’s so important to know about alkaloids.
Alkaloids in Kratom
Alkaloids have always been what made people interested in kratom, even before people knew what alkaloids are. An alkaloid is a natural organic compound that contains nitrogen and produces a physiological effect on humans or other animals. These natural compounds can be found in multiple kinds of plants including mitragyna speciosa (the plant kratom comes from). There is so much demand for kratom because its alkaloids can interact with opioid receptors in the human body, according to The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
Kratom alkaloids are said to behave similarly to anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs like oxycodone, fentanyl, ibuprofen, tramadol, and anesthesia drugs. Since pure kratom is nothing more than the leaf of a plant, many people find it to be more appealing than pharmaceutical drugs. Kratom advocates, including many scientific organizations, are calling for studies and research to learn more about the effects of kratom.
So far, experts believe that the two most important alkaloids in kratom are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. For many years, it was commonly believed that only mitragynine was important, but it’s not hard to see why someone would reach that conclusion. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association has reported that mitragynine acts on the delta, kappa, and mu-opioid receptors in the human body.
It was relatively recently that we learned just how important 7-hydroxymitragynine is. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association has published research from scientists who suggest that 7-hydroxymitragynine has “13- and 46-fold higher potency than morphine and mitragynine, respectively.” These same researchers also discussed the unique biochemical structure of 7-hydroxymitragynine, noting that it may interact with the body more quickly.
Kratom in the United States
The alkaloids in kratom attracted attention from many people in health and wellness communities, which eventually got attention from media outlets and news organizations. There has been political talk about banning products of the mitragyna speciosa tree in the United States. In 2016, the DEA even announced its intent to ban kratom after being persuaded by the FDA. They were met with immediate backlash from doctors, scientists, citizens, and organizations like the American Kratom Association (AKA). Thanks in large part to an outpouring of public support, the DEA is yet to proceed with a kratom ban.
What Is the Future of Kratom?
The future of legal kratom depends in part on the individuals and organizations advocating on its behalf. Kratom consumers, doctors, lawyers, and other concerned citizens all speak out to share their experiences with this plant and advocate for testing and regulation. Many fear that a ban would interfere with any testing that could otherwise uncover and prove the potential positives of kratom. Although the FDA and its spokespeople have taken a stance against kratom on multiple occasions, their efforts are matched by people and organizations asking the government to follow the science about kratom.
One example of a pro-kratom organization is the American Kratom Association. The AKA was founded in 2014 to protect the right of American citizens to make their own choices about products of the mitragyna speciosa tree. Those involved with this organization intended to educate Americans about kratom, provide a platform for sharing kratom stories, and advocate for sustainable kratom harvesting practices. Along the way, they also aim to create a positive change in kratom legislation in the United States and Around the world.
What Is Kratom Like Now?
Since kratom isn’t very well regulated right now, it’s important to find trustworthy companies before you buy kratom. Some businesses try to take advantage of the limited regulation to sell inferior and dangerous products. The good news is that there are other companies that hold themselves to higher standards and sell kratom that reflects well on the industry. When you buy kratom online, look for companies that get pure kratom and conduct thorough lab analysis to ensure high quality.
Gold Leaf Botanicals celebrates the history of the mitragyna speciosa plant. Even more importantly, we’re completely committed to having a positive impact on the future of kratom. We conduct hours of research to find the best kratom farmers who harvest natural mitragyna speciosa leaves that have grown in the wild in the Indonesian jungle. We put in all of the effort to sell organic kratom because we want our customers to have access to the best natural products possible. Shop our selection to experience natural, traditional kratom.
Featured Image: Shutterstock/ Yanawut Suntornkij