Simply put, Kratom is an herbal leaf derived from a tree that belongs to the Rubiaceae family. Due to its similarity to the stigma of bishop’s mitre, the herb was placed under the genus Mitragyna by a Dutch botanist who first documented the herb.
Kratom trees also known as Mitragyna speciosa are characterized by dark green leaves that are quite enormous. They grow for up to approximately 4 inches in width and 7 inches in length. The tree itself grows to a height of up to 12 to 30 feet and can be as big as 15 ft in width. During the entire flowering stage of the plant, it is covered by numerous overlapping bracteoles. Its leaves may either grow or fall depending on the seasons. For instance, during a dry season the leaves fall and on a rainy season they flourish.
Kratom is used widely due to its unique properties. It contains various substances that include; 7-hydroxymitragynine, mitraphylline, and mitragynine. These substances are alkaloids that mainly play the role of mu-opioid receptor antagonist. This may explain why kratom is usually used in the place of opiates for individuals who are affected by opium dependence. During kratom therapy patients are normally given a low dosage at the start then increased gradually before being withdrawn. Unlike opium, kratom normally has milder withdrawal symptoms.
Mitragyna has immense uses. It is used as a depressant and stimulant. It is one of the best libido boosters and thus is used as a sex enhancer. It also eliminates various illnesses such as pain and diarrhea. The leaves of kratom plant are normally utilized in various forms such as tea, chewed, boiled, or smoked. When taken it has a calming effect on the mind.
Despite its many benefits, kratom is a controlled substance in many parts of the globe. Most counties have even included the substance in their Regulation Laws. It is a substance that is controlled in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, Poland, Bhutan, Lithuania, Denmark, Finland, and Myanmar. This substance is generally milder when compared to morphine and it is not harmful when compared to cocaine.
History of Kratom
Kratom has been in use for centuries in most native states but it came into the global spotlight of modern medical researchers and studies in late 2004. It mainly generated a buzz in April 2005. Studies about its potential pharmacological applications are still underway and some states have even banned the substance without carrying out due research on its pros and cons.
It is therefore much safer to say the global legal status of kratom is uncertain irrespective of its immense benefits. Kratom gained widespread use since the onset of the millennia and most of the researchers, users, and vendors who fully comprehend its benefits lead in spreading the message of its immense benefits. The one major advantage that this herb has over others is the fact that no major negative effect has been recorded so far.
According to Western literature, Pieter Willem Korthals, a Dutch botanist was the first to document kratom in the 19th century. He was at the time working for East India Company. Some other sources state that Low mentioned the plant in 1836. According to his writings, rural workers and peasants in Malaysia used the herb when they could not get opium. According to E. M. Holmes, kratom was used as a substitute for opium and was mainly used to wean opium dependants.
According to 1907 writings of L. Wray, Kratom was locally drunk as a concoction, smoked, and was even chewed. In the hope of potential medical use, Wray send some samples of the herb and its relative Mitragyna parvifolia for laboratory testing at University of Edinburgh. Once at the university, Hooper successfully isolated Mitragynine alkaloid from kratom or Mitragyna speciosa but he did not give it a name. In 1921 the same procedure was repeated by Fray who gave the name Mitragynine to the alkaloid. He was even able to isolate Mitraversine from Mitragyna parvifolia leaves. According to documented studies done by I. H. Burkill in 1930 and confirmed by Dr. Sangun Suwanlert in 1975, kratom has been in use as a psychoactive and a cure for various problems such as diarrhea and fever. It has also been in use as an ointment and a poultice. Various other studies were later conducted and let to the discovery of other 3 alkaloids in kratom. More research is currently underway and is geared towards ascertaining the true benefits and side effects of the herb.
Various states have banned the herb in the past and some still regard the substance as illegal. In 2001, Thai Narcotics Control Board categorized kratom as one of the country’s most abused illegal drug. According to a study done at the time, more than 2 million people were using the herb. In fact police seized 1270 kilograms of the herb within the same period. The ban instead of having a positive impact increased the illegal supply of the substance. It even led to increased supply of “fake kratom” usually made from Mitragyna javanica.
In Malaysia, Mitragynine was banned in the year 2003 then later in August 2004 there was an extension on the ban to cover Mitragyna Speciosa or kratom. During the same period an operation was carried out by the authorities mainly aimed at kratom market in certain states that included Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang. The search led to 15 arrests and 245 kilograms of kratom leaves, and more than 800 liters of kratom tea were captured.
Other countries have followed suit in banning kratom in the past. For instance, countries such as Malaysia, Australia, Romania, Thailand, Myanmar, and US states such as Indiana, Louisiana and Mississippi. Some counties that did not ban but controlled its use in 2013 included Denmark, Poland, Latvia, New Zealand, Lithuania, and Sweden. The substance is still banned in some states and controlled in others. Since the legal regulations and ban on the substance keeps changing you should keep checking about the status of the herb within your region.