An Introduction to Kratom
Kratom is one of the most talked about plant-based remedies on the market. Despite a long history of its use all over the world, kratom remains largely misunderstood and a great deal of misinformation is spread about it on the internet. At Apotheca, we strive to cut through that misinformation with thorough research and a selection of quality kratom products from trusted brands.
This blog post is our way of introducing new customers to kratom, answering some of the most common questions we hear and helping you make the best decision regarding your own wellness.
What is Kratom?
Kratom is the Thai word for the Mitragyna speciosa plant. Mitragyna speciosa is a tropical evergreen tree from the Rubiaceae family of plants (the same family as coffee). The plant can grow anywhere from 30 to 70 feet tall and is native to Southeast Asia, most notably Thailand, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.
The kratom products you see on shelves and in our online store are made from the leaves of the plant. These leaves are typically dried and powdered, although there are a number of other common preparations, especially in the plant’s native countries.
What is Kratom Used For?
In Southeast Asia, kratom has traditionally been used by manual laborers as a way to stave off fatigue and increase productivity. Kratom has also been a part of traditional medicine traditions and religious ceremonies in Thailand and Malaysia for centuries.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved kratom for any uses. Therefore, kratom companies cannot give specific recommendations for use or suggest that kratom can be used to diagnose or treat any conditions. At Apotheca, we gather scientific studies and other resources to provide an understanding of the potential documented effects kratom has. We encourage you to do additional research if you would like to hear the experiences other customers have had with kratom.
How Does Kratom Work?
Numerous studies have been conducted to examine the chemical makeup of kratom and how it interacts with the body. These studies are typically centered on two alkaloids found in kratom leaves: mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitrgynine.
Alkaloids are natural, nitrogenous compounds that have some physiological effect on humans. There are a wide variety of alkaloids with an equally broad spectrum of physiological effects. These range from the analgesic (pain reducers like morphine) to stimulants (like caffeine) to anti-asthmatics (ephedrine).
Studies have shown that mitragynine is an opioid agonist, which means it activates opioid receptors in the brain. Researchers suggest this is responsible for a pain-killing effect. The same study shows 7-hydroxymitragynine has antinociceptive effects in mice, meaning it blocks sensory neurons from detecting painful stimulus.
At this time there are no US clinical trials with human patients documenting the effects of kratom, but we will update our blog when some are produced.
How is Kratom Prepared?
In Southeast Asia, kratom leaves are typically chewed or made into tea. The majority of kratom products you’ll find in the United States are made from dried and powdered leaves. This powder is sold as-is, or made into capsules for easy measurement.
What are Kratom Strains?
Like other plants, there are a wide variety of Mitragyna speciosa plants. Everything from the climate to the soil impacts the plant, and humans have cross-bred plants to create new strains with unique attributes.
Kratom strains are typically classified by the color of the vein running down the center of the leaves. These vein colors are red, green, and white. Each strain has a slightly different alkaloid profile and therefore potency varies from strain to strain.
Is Kratom Legal?
There are no federal restrictions on kratom sale or use under US federal law. However, there are some local restrictions in certain cities, counties, and states. Apotheca will not sell or ship to customers living in these areas. If you would like to see if kratom is the subject of any regulation where you live, you can check this map.
Kratom is an exciting plant with great potential. Its recent surge in popularity presents an exciting opportunity for more rigorous study and a better understanding of why kratom has been a staple of so many cultures for hundreds of years. Our goal at Apotheca is to provide access to pure kratom from trusted brands and to share new information as it becomes available. You can browse our selection of kratom brands and products in our store, or read more about plant-based remedies on our blog. We look forward to sharing our knowledge with you and helping you make informed decisions regarding your personal wellness.