Even though it has a history spanning centuries, Kratom, the dried leaves of the mitragyna speciosa plant, has mostly remained under-the-radar of most Americans – until now.
As an under-researched botanical specimen with remarkable properties, scientists and federal legislators alike have recently turned their attention towards kratom in the hopes of demystifying the plant’s enigmatic nature. The most pressing questions involve the risks, possible medicinal value, and the future of the plant within the US.
However, kratom’s sudden surge in popularity has left many Americans wondering how kratom is made. As a naturally-occurring botanical substance, kratom isn’t synthesized in a lab or patented by any single drug manufacturer. In actuality, we’ve been coexisting alongside the kratom plant for thousands of years.
So how do the leaves of this towering Southeast Asian tree continue to find their way into the United States as a finely-ground powder? Let’s find out!
The Roots of Kratom
Mitragyna speciosa powder begins with the mitragyna speciosa tree, a plant native to Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. Indigenous populations in these areas have been growing and harvesting kratom for centuries, and the earliest reports of kratom consumption in Malaysia date back as far as 1836 according to Burkill.
The plant’s environment is a significant factor in how kratom is made. At maturity, the mitragyna speciosa tree can grow as tall as 80 feet in ideal conditions. Its leaves have a shiny, dark green coloration and are quite large, with most full-grown leaves dwarfing the size of an average human hand. Because the kratom plant is evergreen, its leaves quickly regrow when shed, making kratom production possible year-round.
Kratom grows best in warm, humid environments where sunlight is plentiful. As such, the plant is abundant in rainforested areas such as the tropical island of Borneo.
Once the leaves of the kratom plant have reached an ideal maturity, they’re picked or collected in large quantities. The freshness of the leaves plays a vital role in how kratom is made, as it alters the phytochemical concentrations that are responsible for the plant’s characteristics. For instance, red kratom strains typically consist of mature leaves, while white and green kratom strains are generally produced using younger leaves.
To create kratom powder, the leaves of the mitragyna speciosa plant undergo a drying phase in the sun or the shade. Different powders can be produced depending on the length and specifications of this drying or “curing” process.
Once the leaves have been dried, they’re subsequently shredded or ground into a fine consistency. Later, an industrial grinder is used to produce an even finer mitragyna speciosa powder with the texture of flour –– a fundamental cosmetic step in the process of how kratom is made.
Specialty Strains And Colors
Although kratom is typically dried in the sun using large-sized racks, some kratom farmers rely on additional production and processing methods to create specialty kratom strains that are often popular with online buyers.
Some kratom strains, such as the rare Bentuangie strain, are supposedly “fermented” post-harvest, resulting in a darker coloration and an “enhanced” alkaloid percentage. Unfortunately, a lack of information on how kratom is made makes it difficult to vouch for the differentiation between strains. That said, researchers such as Hassan et al. have stated that the alkaloid content of kratom does appear to vary from leaf-to-leaf, depending on factors such as the geographical region of origin and season of harvest.
Other Kratom Colors
Although red, green, and white kratom variants are established staples of choice, other rarer kratom “colors” also exist.
Yellow and gold kratom strains are the most common outliers, although the exact method of production behind these strains isn’t standardized or consistent. Some kratom farmers purportedly mix white and red kratom to create yellow blends, while others utilize additional curing processes to create “gold” kratom varieties.
The World’s Biggest Kratom Exporters
We’ve delved into how kratom is made –– but where does it come from?
Although kratom can be grown outside of its indigenous home of Southeast Asia, the vast majority of the supply circulating within the US and elsewhere is imported from Southeast Asian countries.
Indonesia is perhaps home to the highest volume of mitragyna speciosa powder production and exportation. Unlike other Southeast Asian countries, kratom has not been deemed an illicit substance within Indonesian borders, which has popularized kratom farming efforts. A significant amount of kratom is sourced from Indonesian provinces such as West Kalimantan on the island of Borneo.
Supposedly, farmers located in other neighboring regions such as Malaysia and even Thailand also play a role in how kratom is made, although kratom is a controlled substance in both countries. In Thailand, kratom was deemed illegal to buy, sell, import, or possess in 1979. However, despite regulation efforts, kratom has maintained its popularity and remains Thailand’s most widely consumed substance.
The Importance Of Quality Kratom
The production of kratom involves thousands of farmers, encompasses dozens of strains, and spans over several distinct regions. And although kratom has deep roots in the history of the world, it’s uncertain where the future of the plant may be headed.
However, one thing is for sure –– choosing quality kratom is essential.
At Kratom Spot, we’re proud to provide our customers with ethically sourced, premium-grade mitragyna speciosa powder. After importing our kratom directly from Southeast Asia, we utilize strict laboratory testing methods to ensure our highest standards of purity are met. All of our products are sealed air-tight to preserve freshness and maximize customer satisfaction.
Place your order with us today, and receive same-day shipping on any order placed before 3:00 PM EST, Monday through Friday!
A Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula, Burkill 1935
From Kratom to mitragynine and its derivatives: Physiological and behavioural
effects related to use, abuse, and addiction, Hassan et al. 2013, Page 141