Food Knowledge

What is Kratom?

What is Kratom?

Kratom is a green herbal leaf picked from a tree, Mitragyna Speciosa, which is native to Southeast Asia and can grow to over 20 meters. The largest producers of kratom are Indonesia followed by Malaysia and Thailand. It’s a natural plant that has long been used by mainly the rural population.

Kratom is a part of the coffee family and has health properties that acts as painkillers for body pain and also helps relieve mental stress.  Recently, the regulations controlling kratom are lifted in Thailand, which allows for more freedom to grow and sell kratom. As a result, there is a large interest in kratom not only in Thailand, but also in many countries towards its potential properties as a drug.

What are the types of Kratom?

There are many varieties of kratom, which differ on the thickness of its leaf along with the color of the leaf’s vein, stalk, and flower. Popular strains are white vein, green vein, red vein, and maeng da. Each variety of kratom has different strength in its effects, flavor and aroma. Some strains such as the white strain kratom are described as relaxing and has mild effects, while others like the red vein and maeng da strains are more bitter and highly stimulating.

How is Kratom eaten?

Kratom tastes bitter and earthy. The leaf of kratom can be eaten in many ways, depending on preference. Rural farmers, before heading out to work in the fields, prefer to chew the fresh leaf of green vein kratom after removing the stem and then spit the leaf out as it’s less bitter and milder compared to other strains. Meanwhile, the red vein kratom leaves are typically boiled in water due to its bitter taste and strong effects.

Rural villagers sometimes take kratom leaves with a little bit of salt or lime because it’s believed that salt may prevent indigestion and lime may help slightly reduce the intense stimulation. However, further research is needed to confirm this link. In addition, kratom can be dried in the sun and then grind into a fine powder to brew in hot water like tea. Kratom is also available as a capsule.

Other uses of kratom include incorporating into recipes to create new dishes such as fried tempura flour kratom or grilling it. 

What are the benefits of Kratom?

In the past, kratom was traditionally used by local farmers as a mild natural painkiller. Kratom mainly consists of the chemical, Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which are found in opioid and morphine. According to traditional medicine and knowledge from the rural farmers, it’s believed that kratom may have the following health benefits:

  • Reduces body aches and muscle pain
  • Promote relaxation and helps calm the mind
  • Has antidiarrheal effects
  • Boost energy
  • Lift moods
  • Reduce hunger cravings and promote weight loss
  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Increase tolerance against the sun’s heat and help farmers work longer in the fields

What are the risks of Kratom?

Although kratom has potential health benefits, there may also be harmful side effects. Taking large doses of kratom can create hallucinations and worse, lead to addiction. Therefore, it’s important to not consume too much kratom and or mix it with other drugs as it can be dangerous.

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