What is Kratom?
Kratom or Mitragyna Speciosa, as they say in science, is a tropical plant that grows naturally in the marshy regions of Southeast Asia; particularly Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, and also in some parts of the Pacific Rim.
The plant can grow quite tall (up to 13 meters) and is famous for its heavy usage in folk medicine. Traditionally speaking, the growers would handpick kratom leaves, dry them up and brew them as a drinking preparation using water for its healing/medicinal properties such as pain management, relaxation, rejuvenation, etc. Alternatively, some would chew the leaves or drink it down with water to achieve the same effects.
The herb found its way on the isles of the Western markets at the beginning of the 21st century. Kratom’s real strength comes probably from its dualistic nature, seeing how many use it as medicine. At the same time, others use it recreationally (depending on the dose and the type of kratom strain).
History and Pharmacology
It remains largely unclear as to when exactly kratom’s usage might have begun, but the practice is thought to be quite ancient. Traditionally speaking, the leaves would be used for treating pains, aches, soothing fevers, and in some cases, for alleviating various kinds of addictions too.
Some documents suggest its usage to go as far back as the early 19th century somewhere in Malaysia, where people would use the leaves for their sedating effects.
By 1994, Kratom’s second most active alkaloid 7-hydroxymitragynine was discovered along with 20 other alkaloids. But, it was through message boards on the internet that got the word out for kratom for the general public’s awareness. Since then, its popularity has increased exponentially and still is on the rise around the globe.
In terms of pharmacology, two main alkaloids are active in kratom: 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine. Some other alkaloid is also likely to be involved in its working mechanism, but it’s unclear yet which one that is.
Although their exact working mechanism is still mostly a mystery in the world of science, both of these alkaloids are thought to show their effects by binding themselves with opioid receptors in the brain.
How to Consume Kratom?
There are actually a couple of popular ways to consume kratom such as –
Toss n Wash – The name itself says it all. You basically take it with water. So you take the kratom powder dosage on a spoon, throw it back in your mouth and quickly wash it down with a liquid before it can settle on your tongue. Typically people would use water for this purpose. But, many use juices, such as orange or pineapple.
Brewing method – Basically, you boil it with water in a pan for a reasonable amount of time until the essence has seeped well into the water. After that, you let it sit for a while. Lastly, you strain it and sip it like any green tea. You can easily find a bunch of exciting kratom recipes on the internet. That shouldn’t be a problem at all.
Capsule form – This form is best for people who have their dosage tracked down accurately and know exactly what works for them. Capsules are rather straightforward to use. You put one in mouth and swallow it with water or any liquid of your choice (not alcohol, though).
Benefits of Kratom
Let it be known that to this day, no research has been carried out to stipulate kratom’s medicinal/health benefits from a medical point of view. All claims are based solely on the word of mouth publicity. It can take a lot of trial and error to establish your accurate personal dose. Therefore, exercise caution if you are new to kratom. Also, the FDA does not oversee the sale and distribution of any kratom product in any form. It has has not approved kratom for public consumption either.
With that said, based on anecdotal research and the reviews available on WebMD, you can expect to see some of the following benefits –
- May offer relief from chronic pains and aches – Those who are in constant pain may find a great deal of comfort from certain kratom strains. Therefore, do your research properly. Aches stemming from arthritis, cramped muscles, or tight muscles may see the most difference. This is probably the leading reason behind kratom’s increasing popularity as most people use it for pain management and a better life.
- Relaxation – Depending on the right type of strain, kratom can induce relaxation. To that end, it’s best to use it for relaxation after a long tiring day. Preferably in the evening because it may induce mild sleepiness in an occasional user.
- Energizing effects – Kratom comes from the coffee family. That should probably explain why some kratom strains have energizing effects that should get you ready for the day. For real energizing benefits, take it on an empty stomach – first thing in the morning, preferably.
- May help you overcome social anxiety and stress – Kratom relaxing properties may invariably help you overcome social anxiety and fear. Therefore, some people may find it useful to consume it before attending a social gathering or a meeting where they need to socialize or speak in front of a bunch of people. It may also, to some degree, help you feel at ease by overcoming stress. Some people experience a pause to their running thoughts that seem to be out of control.
- Red Vein Kratom – This is supposed to be the best for beginners as it induces calming/pleasant effects. You may feel rejuvenated and more optimistic after consuming it. Those struggling with insomnia may find it of some help. It’s also famous for helping relieve aches and pains.
- White vein kratom – This strain is best if better concentration and a sense of motivation are what you’re aiming for. It can keep you going during long hard days. Those experiencing gloomy sensation may suddenly find themselves feeling better after taking white-veined kratom.
- Green Vein kratom – This is supposed to brighten up your day. Much like the white one, green kratom also makes you feel more focused and alert. The effects of this are subtler in comparison with white and red type.
Word of Caution
The actual profile and range of effects can vary significantly from one person to another. A variety of factors including and up to age, type of product, dosage, type of kratom used, consumption method – all go into governing how you end up feeling. Therefore, it’s advisable to start slow with kratom if you are a beginner. Go with a minimum dose and note down the effects before upping the dosage.