In today’s world, herbal remedies, cannabis, and supplements all converge to help us live our lives just a little bit better. Among these is an herb known as Kratom. But what is Kratom? That’s the question on many of our minds as the substance has made its way into our collective memories. In this article, we’ll tell you what it is, describe different strains, and provide the details you need to know about using Kratom in 2022.
Kratom (also known by its classification Mitragyna speciosa) is a type of tropical tree indigenous to Thailand, Indonesia, and other parts of Southeast Asia. The tree—belonging to the same family as coffee—is used for herbal medicine and other applications. For millennia, kratom leaf have been used whole, raw, ground up, and otherwise medicinally in some parts of the world. Often, the leaves are ground or crushed, as powder forms are easier to use in other products.
While many in the United States may be unfamiliar with the herb, it’s been around a long time. But it was only as recently as the 1800s that the U.S. became truly aware of the herb. Today, scientists continue to study kratom for its benefits and uses. Due to its occasional opioid-like effects, it faces some regulatory challenges. Due to this, some states—specifically Arkansas, Alabama, Wisconsin, Indiana, Vermont, and Rhode Island—have banned it entirely, along with some cities like San Diego, CA, and Monument, CO.
Kratom is known to be used to treat opioid withdrawal to great success. According to the American Kratom Association, this is because it binds to the same receptors as opiates do—similar to the way coffee and chocolate affect the brain—and kratom is not an opiate. There is still some debate going on over the herb, but it is a naturally occurring and safe supplement that people have been using for centuries and continue to do so to this day.
Each strain will offer a unique effect, similar to other herbs. And there are a lot of unique strains. When it comes to kratom strains, there is a lot from which to choose, each with its own individualized effects. These run the gamut from pain relief, mood stability, stimulation, sedation, relaxation, and more. In most cases, you’ll see them listed more or less with generic names like green vein kratom or red vein kratom. These names are based on the color cycle of the plant. When the leaves grow and mature, their veins change colors. At the beginning stages of life (immaturity), the veins appear reed. They grow lighter, taking on a white hue until toward the end of their life cycle, the veins turn green. Leaves can be harvested at any stage, hence the colored designations for each strain. The strains themselves are typically listed like so:
- White Vein
- Green Vein
- Red Vein
- Gold Vein
- Stem and Vein
Strains in these sub-categories may also have unique names like Bali Gold, Gold Maeng Da, Red Thai, White Indo, and so on. Names usually contain the origin of the plant and the vein color, so it’s easy to distinguish them from one another.
Benefits and Uses
Kratom is largely a mood-enhancer that can also possibly double as an antidepressant or hunger suppressant. It’s also seen some use as a potential paint reliever. The most common ways it’s used are as a pill/capsule, as a mixed drink, or as an extract. Some like to make tea from its leaves. The leaves can be made into a powder that can be mixed into juice or water. There are many other potential uses for the plant. It is not yet FDA-approved, and it affects different people in different ways. As with any herbal supplement, you always want to do plenty of research, medical consultation, and a risks-vs-benefits assessment before using it. It’s also easy to buy kratom online from a reputable source and have it delivered to your home. As we mentioned above, the effects of Kratom can vary depending on the strain, so be sure to do plenty of research and consult with medical experts to see what’s right for you!
One way people use kratom is in capsule form. In a kratom capsule, powdered kratom is placed into a capsule. Consumers can buy the capsules in small quantities. Strains typically used in the capsules are Red Maeng Da, Green Maeng Da, White Maeng Da, a red and green combo, or a fully white vein blend. These are pre-dosed capsules made from kratom harvested in Southeast Asia. Capsules are meticulously quality tested and have recommended dosages on the packaging.
Another way to use Kratom is via a power blend. Blends are merely a recipe that combines different herbs together. Made with Fair Trade kratom, blends might be ground to different sizes (such as ultra-fine or soft) and consist of dried, ground leaves. You might find a white and green blend or a blend of different white kratom strains. It varies by the supplier, but each offers a unique opportunity to try kratom in teas, coffee, juices, and other recipes of your choice.