Kratom is a type of tree that grows in the tropical climate of many countries in Southeast Asia. The leaves from the kratom trees are often dried in the sun and then ground into a fine powder, which can either be used by itself or in a capsule form according to individual preferences. However, the kratom tree comes in many varieties, and each is said to have its own unique characteristics. Knowing what different kratom strains there are and how each of them works is key to finding the best kratom strain for you.
The 3 Main Strains of Kratom
There are three main varieties of kratom that are primarily distinguished by how they are processed and prepared for retail. You may see differently named strains of kratom outside of these three varieties, but when the types are broken down any further, it usually refers to where the leaves for different kratom strains were sourced from, rather than a difference in the intrinsic properties and preparation of a particular type of kratom (with the exception of Maeng Da kratom, which is usually grown and selected under more scrutiny to ensure the quality).
We’ll quickly outline each of the major kratom strains and effects so you can learn key differences and find the best kratom strain for your purposes.
White Vein Kratom
White kratom carries an acquired taste, compared to other strains. Its intensity makes it harder for beginners to appreciate, but it can be rewarding for those who are interested in and have tried other types of kratom.
Features: White vein kratom may be harvested while the leaves of the kratom tree are still young and the veins are white (similarly to how white teas are harvested from younger tea leaves). After harvesting, the leaves are dried entirely indoors with no light on them.
Potency: White kratom is thought to be the most potent of all the major kratom strains (outside of Maeng Da), so it’s not the best type of kratom for people who are just learning about kratom.
Effects: White kratom is said to have a mild stimulant effect. In lower quantities, it is associated with increased energy and alertness.
Red Vein Kratom
One of the most popular strains of kratom, red vein kratom is best used for its supposed sedative effects. Red kratom may also be used for pain relief or to bring about a feeling of euphoria in the user.
Features: Red kratom leaves are processed using lots of sunlight or a UV lamp during the drying process. Red kratom may also be fermented during its processing to create bentuangie kratom, a slightly different variation on the standard red kratom (more info on bentuangie below).
Potency: Red kratom is the most mellow of the major kratom strains, and is not generally classified as a stimulant. This makes it more approachable than its white or green counterparts.
Effects: Red kratom is thought to have a mild sedative effect, helping the user to remain calm. Some people claim red strain is the best kratom for pain relief, although it has not been approved for this use or as a substitute for any medication.
Green Vein Kratom
Green vein kratom is the middle road option between white and red. It is said to offer similar stimulant effects to those of white kratom.
Features: Green kratom leaves are typically harvested when the kratom plant has been given more time to mature, hence the darker coloring. Green kratom is dried indoors at first, often in an air-conditioned room, and then moved outside to finish the drying process.
Potency: Green kratom has a more subtle effect than its white vein counterpart, but is still regarded as a stimulant.
Effects: As a stimulant, green vein kratom can give a mild energy boost, similar to white vein kratom, but it may also give the user better mental clarity to focus on tasks with greater endurance.
Other Types and Varieties of Kratom
The three major kratom strains are split up by the kinds of effects that they have on the user. However, there are still other varieties of kratom within these three main categories. Other popular kratom varieties will present a variation of one of the major three, or sometimes a blend of two or more different kratom strains, boasting more subtle differences such as increased potency or a longer-lasting effect.
Maeng Da Kratom
Maeng Da refers to a variety of kratom that was originally grown in Thailand (though growers now replicate the production to grow Maeng Da varieties elsewhere) and is curated to be of particularly high quality compared to other major kratom varieties. Maeng Da varieties may be classified and marketed as both red and white kratom, as Maeng Da has a characteristic blend of the traits of red vein and white kratom. It may provide a boost of energy alongside a feeling of mental clarity.
Bentuangie is a variety of red kratom that is fermented as part of the drying process. It is thought to have the same sedative effects as its red parent strain, but fans of this variety may use it to relieve intense pain. Bentuangie kratom is said to be the best kratom for pain relief.
Yellow Vein Kratom
Like the three main strains of kratom, yellow vein kratom is named after a color, though this name does not derive from a specific leaf. In truth, it is not a distinct kratom strain by itself. Instead, it is likely that yellow kratom is produced when two strains of kratom (such as white and green or green and red) are mixed together. The yellow name refers to this blending of other colored strains of kratom.
Varieties Named for Their Source
Many other popular varieties of kratom are named after their source. So, for example, White Borneo is a white kratom from the island of Borneo, while Red Bali is a red kratom from Bali, an island in Indonesia.