Recently, countless Americans have welcomed kratom––the ground leaves of the mitragyna speciosa plant––into their lives. Due to this sudden leap in popularity, the kratom plant has received considerable media attention, stirring interest as well as skepticism.
Although many Americans were unfamiliar with kratom until just recently, mitragyna speciosa has a vast history that spans hundreds of years. In its Southeast Asian countries of origin, kratom has deep roots in the culture and lives of indigenous populations who have utilized the plant in numerous ways for centuries.
Today, kratom remains widely misunderstood. But, by turning back the pages of history and uncovering the past of this remarkable plant, we may be able to better understand the trajectory of its future.
The Origin Of Kratom
The story of the kratom plant begins with mitragyna speciosa, an evergreen tree native to countries like Thailand and Indonesia. Unbeknownst to some, mitragyna speciosa is a member of the same family of flowering plants as coffee, Rubiaceae.
Typically, an average mitragyna speciosa tree reaches heights of 13 feet, but the plant can grow to upwards of 100 feet in ideal environments where sunlight and water are plentiful. However, most of the attention mitragyna speciosa receives centers around its leaves, rather than its tall trunk or wide branches.
Once the leaves of the kratom plant reach a certain maturity, locals pick them directly from the tree’s branches. The fine-grain kratom powder that is typically available to consumers is the result of harvesting, drying, and grinding these leaves.
Traditional Kratom Uses
In their research, Cinosi et al. observed that Southeast Asian manual laborers either chewed the leaves of the mitragyna speciosa plant or used them to brew a tea. When consumed, farmers and workers purportedly felt less fatigued and more productive.
However, additional researchers found that, in other regions and cultures, kratom’s utility extended far beyond recreational use. Hassan et al. noted that native populations in Malaysia and Thailand had utilized the kratom plant as a treatment for a variety of ailments, including intestinal infections, muscle pain, and coughing.
In Burkill’s foundational research on the plant, he claimed that kratom use in Thailand had been identified as early as 1836. Other researchers such as Carl Ruck have estimated that human populations have been using the plant for thousands of years.
Kratom’s Introduction To The West
With the proliferation of global importation, kratom eventually found its way into the Western world. Powdered kratom products became available at brick-and-mortar specialty stores across the US, and American consumers quickly gravitated towards them as “alternative medicines.”
However, the primary catalyst for the kratom plant’s surge of popularity within the US was the internet. Hundreds of American vendors have made kratom products available for purchase via online storefronts, contributing to a rapid growth in sales and generating nation-wide interest.
Although powdered kratom products are the most commonly available, American vendors have also popularized the sale of kratom capsules and concentrated extracts. Region-specific kratom strains have also become readily accessible, such as Bali and Thai kratom.
Vein Variety And More
Part of what makes kratom intriguing to buyers across the globe is the plant’s sizeable diversity. Unlike other botanical products, the mitragyna speciosa plant is available in a variety of colors and is often processed in unique ways.
Depending on the time of harvest, the leaves of the kratom plant can possess green, white, or red veins. Each vein coloration variant supposedly signifies a distinctive alkaloid composition, and buyers often prefer certain vein colors over others.
Generally, red-veined kratom is composed of mature leaves, green-veined kratom is somewhat mature, and white-veined kratom is harvested early. Other strains, such as Bentuangie, are subjected to a post-harvest “fermentation” process that further alters the alkaloid composition of the leaves.
Since kratom’s introduction into the mainstream of American society, the plant has been scrutinized by authorities for its “opioid-like” nature. Due to these purported similarities, the FDA and DEA have both expressed interest in controlling and even illegalizing the kratom plant. However, researchers often insist that kratom isn’t easily classifiable and that reaching a consensus on the plant will require more rigorous research.
The Future Of Kratom
It’s unclear what the future holds for the kratom plant in the United States. While federal institutions push for regulation and control, thousands of Americans have banded together in the interest of protecting unfettered access to the mitragyna speciosa plant. Through rallies, campaigns, and internet advocacy, kratom has maintained its favorable reputation.
Further research may uncover answers to long-standing questions about the plant, and as a body of factually-founded information builds, positive awareness for kratom may continue to grow.
By purchasing kratom from a reputable vendor, customers can ensure that they have a favorable experience with the kratom plant. At Kratom Spot, we’re happy to offer additive-free, all-natural kratom products that are ethically sourced directly from Southeast Asia.
We batch-test all of our kratom in accordance with strict quality standards to verify the purity and safety of our products, ensuring that our customers receive nothing but the best.
Shop with us today and get same-day shipping on all orders placed before 3:00 PM EST Monday through Friday. If you spend over $100, we’ll also throw in free shipping!
Following The Roots Of Kratom, Cinosi et al. 2015, Page 1
From Kratom to mitragynine and its derivatives, Hassan et al. 2013, Page 140
A Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula, Burkill 1935
Mushrooms, Myth and Mithras: The Drug Cult That Civilized Europe, Ruck et al., 2011
Update on the Pharmacology and Legal Status of Kratom, Prozialeck 2016, Page 804