What is Kratom?


Kratom is a medicinal plant that has been used for centuries to help with chronic pain. Kratom leaves are traditionally taken as an alternative treatment for opioid withdrawal.

History of Kratom:

Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia. This plant comes from the Mitragyna Speciosa family. Dutch botanist Korthals documented Kratom’s earlier usage among Malaysian populations since 1836.

Kratom belongs to the coffee family and is mainly grown in Africa. Nowadays, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia are the main producers of this tree-like vegetation. It has been used in herbal medicine since at least the nineteenth century.

Kratom was first formally described in 1839 by Dutch botanist Pieter Korthals. He named it “Stephegyne speciosa”. It was renamed and reclassified a number of times before the final name and classification were established in 1859 by George Darby Haviland.

In Southeast Asia, Kratom plants were traditionally grown alongside other crops such as rice or corn because of their dense foliage that provides shade from the sun during harsh weather conditions. Farmers would harvest the dried leaves for medicinal purposes by drying them out in sunlight before consuming them.

Other names used for Kratom:

The scientific name for Kratom is Mitragyna speciosa. Other names for Kratom include;

  • Thom,
  • Ithang,  
  • Biak-Biak in Malaysia 
  • Thailand’s variation of the word is called “Kakaum”.

Uses of Kratom:

Kratom has been well-known for its medicinal benefits and natural anti-inflammatory properties since ancient times. It is one of the lesser-known remedies for various health issues. Some people use it in an attempt to manage their disorders, while others are looking at its potential as a solution.

Traditional use:

Traditionally this herb is used for the treatment of various ailments such as cough, flu, healing of wounds, intestinal infections, and diarrhea.

It is used as a relaxant, to relieve depression and anxiety. As a result mood enhancement is observed in the consumers. Thus, Kratom was popular among farmers as a pain killer.

Opioid withdrawal:

People report Kratom’s withdrawal effects are less intense than traditional opioids. Its withdrawal effects are much milder.

Therefore, some people use it for that purpose. However, there are no formal trials on the efficacy and safety of Kratom to treat opioid addiction and more research needs to be done before Kratom could become a mainstream treatment option.

Recreational use:

Kratom can produce euphoric effects in low doses and opioid-like effects in higher doses. The onset of effects is typically within five to ten minutes and the effect lasts for two to five hours.

As a recreational drug, the leaves of Kratom are chewed or steeped to promote a state of euphoria and enhance physical capacity.

Most people have experienced increased work capacity, better mood, and talkativeness after consuming Kratom.

According to the US DEA and a 2020 survey, there is a growing interest in Kratom for its pain relief, anxiety-reducing, and mood-enhancing effects. Kratom can also be used as a replacement for prescription opioids.

What are the health benefits of Kratom?

The leaves of the Kratom plant have been used for centuries to help treat a variety of ailments. It can be taken as a stimulant, painkiller, and sedative, or euphoric depending on how it is brewed. Kratom is helpful in;

  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Cough.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Opiate withdrawal.
  • Pain.
  • Hypertension
  • And other conditions.

Let’s discuss some of the most prominent health benefits.

To relieve anxiety and depression:

People consume Kratom to improve their mood. It is used to reduce anxiety levels. This has been shown by anecdotal reports that these benefits are seen following Kratom use at various doses. Even some claim it helps relieve pain as well.


Traditionally, farmers and laborers have used Kratom leaves in coffee to give themselves more energy for a long day’s work. It is said that this increased alertness makes them feel energetic enough to do their jobs with no difficulty.

The white vein Kratom is best known for its stimulation effects. It gives you an energy boost as a coffee substitute without making you feel jittery. 

Mood elevation:

Most strains of Kratom reach brain center euphoria thus it helps in relieving stress and anxiety and keeps your mood elevated for the whole day.

Green vein Kratom strains are known as “potent energy-boosting stimulant” that keeps away fatigues during tight daily schedule.  It makes you feel lighter and more relaxed.

Enhances mental functions:

Most of the Kratom strains can keep your mind clear. It improves your cognitive functions. As a result, you can stay focus on your work, thus increased productivity.

To heal wounds:

The leaves and extracts of Kratom are used to heal wounds. You may find that this natural way to heal your body could work better than some over-the-counter medicines you’re taking now.

As a painkiller:

Kratom contains a chemical called mitragynine. Mitragynine interacts the same way opioid drugs do and can relieve pain.

For treatment of cough and flue:

The extracts of Kratom are used as a local anesthetic, and as a cough medicine for coughing illnesses. The plant is also used in Thailand as an intestinal deworming agent. It is most common use has been found in treating flu symptoms such as coughs and diarrhea.

What are the side effects of Kratom?

As it is a common fact that excessive use of everything leads to consequences. There are no side effects of this herb is taken according to the recommended dose. However, if you overdose for a longer period, it may lead to consequences. And these side effects depend on the amount you take regularly.

The most common side effects of this plant-based drug include appetite loss, hair loss, and erectile dysfunction. Other more severe side effects are respiratory depression, seizures, and psychosis.

According to Drew Fickket, the owner of Arizona Kratom, the recent stories about Kratom’s side effects such as paranoia and psychosis have no scientific ground. The reports about Kratom’s harmful side effects are unfounded due to the lack of scientific evidence supporting these claims.

On the other hand, there is evident scientific research on its health benefits. Such as Kratom leaves have been promised as an antioxidant and anti-cancer compound by the journal of Pacific Cancer Prevention in their research studies conducted in 2014.

Let’s discuss the side effects associated with the overdose of Kratom intake.

Sleeping disorder:

In some cases, Kratom can cause trouble sleeping. Overdose of any type of Kratom strain may lead to insomnia and restlessness.  

Respiratory problems:

Having too much of this herb leads to respiratory problems and insufficient oxygen intake. In the rare case that someone takes too much of this drug, they will experience serious toxic effects such as coma and death from respiratory failure.

Liver toxicity:

When used for a long time or in large amounts, it may also lead to liver toxicity.

Cardiac problems:

Other side effects include high heart rate and blood pressure because when its use is stopped, withdrawal symptoms may occur due to decreased levels of serotonin in the brain.


One of the most common side effects of Kratom is that it can lead to addiction. The plant has been used for centuries in Asia as a natural remedy and stimulant, but many addicts have reported withdrawal symptoms which include irritability, runny nose, muscle pain, and increased sweating.

In 2016, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) proposed banning Kratom at the federal level, but they dropped that proposal to give scientists more time to study it.