The rainforest jungles of Southeast Asia and parts of Africa house an amazingly beneficial plant by the name of kratom (also known colloquially as thang, biak, ketom, thom, and/or kauam). Sometimes referred to by its scientific name, mitragyna speciosa (M. speciosa), kratom belongs to the Rubiaceae (coffee) family (Stolt et al. 2014) and is becoming increasingly popular as a natural way to relieve pain, decrease anxiety, and promote productivity*.
As with other plants, there are different sub-types. When one refers to specific strains of kratom, he is most often referring to the color of the powder and its supposed harvest location. Think of Green Malaysian or Red Vietnam. These days, the title of the country is simply a name of reference so users can recall their favorites. Interestingly enough, all kratom types are now grown almost exclusively in Borneo.
Although it is a misnomer, keep in mind that we do refer to strains throughout the website for familiarity reasons. Essentially, “strain” is really just a way to classify how a kratom powder was treated after its leaves were cut. That, and its environmental conditions and seasonal timing.
Although secondary attributes will vary between kratom samples, there are only two primary types of mitragyna speciosa leaves – horned and regular. These can come from the same plant and each adult tree can yield around 20 kg of kratom powder annually. There are differences in color, but these differences may also be noticed throughout a single tree. What this means is you could have a red, white, yellow, and green yield all from the same tree.
Coloration is determined by the specifics of the drying or curing process used by the farmer and is also influenced by the seasonal timing of the harvest. Kratom contains plant chemicals called alkaloids, which are solely responsible for the effects felt from a particular strain. The composition of these alkaloids is dictated by the environmental conditions effecting the originating tree as well as everything that happens to the leaf once it is cut.
We will refer to kratom throughout this post as having particular vein colors because that is what most people are familiar with.
The three most popular types of kratom are referred to by the color of the final ground powder product: red vein, white vein, and green vein. Yellow and gold colored kratom has become relatively popular in recent history as well. These are usually fermented or are blends, which are normally used as a way to experience a more robust alkaloid profile than one would get by sticking to a single kratom color.
The general properties of red, green, and white strains are the same for any type, though individual kratom strains exhibit their own unique effects. Again, we can thank kratom’s more than 40 known alkaloids for the leaf’s wide array of beneficial effects. Each distinct kind of kratom varies, sometimes significantly, in composition.
Red kratom, or slow kratom as it is commonly referred to, is most popular for its ability to relieve pain and encourage relaxation. It is also used as a tool for getting to sleep faster and sleeping better. Since the red color observed with this kind has to do with drying and curing techniques, particular batches may vary among samples and could appear any shade including green. This is not an indication of strength. Instead, a reddish color is usually associated with lower levels of mitragynine but higher levels of 7-hydroxymitragynine. Some of the most well-known red varieties include Red Bali, Red Maeng Da, and Red Thai.
White vein kratom is what is considered to be fast kratom. It is commonly used as a stimulant and is often recommended as an ideal substitute or addition to coffee. It may also be associated with mood regulation and mild euphoria. Just as with reds, the final color of white kratom is influenced by the procedures carried out during the farming process.
Whites are cured in the absence of sunlight in cooler ambient temperatures. Because of this, they are usually higher in mitragynine and are thus more energetic than red types. Popular whites include White Maeng Da, White Borneo, and White Elephant
Green varieties of kratom lie somewhere in the middle of reds and whites in terms of reported effects. Typically they receive less direct sunlight and high humidity during a short drying phase and contain more nitrogen than other leaves. These leaves usually undergo fewer steps after harvesting to influence alkaloid content in a certain way. Commonly used green vein kratom names are Green Borneo, Green Sunda, and Maeng Da Sulawesi.
Yellow kratom leaves do exist in nature and can be potentially found on any tree. It is even possible to have red, green, and yellow all on the same leaf. Though yellow leaves may be a sign of uneven nutrient uptake by the host tree, where kratom powder’s yellow comes from is extended oxidation by sunlight.
Yellows are used for an entire spectrum of purposes based on their individual chemical makeups. Blends are of course a mixture of any two or more types of kratom and are usually specified in the name or product description. Our best selling yellows and blends are Yellow Thai, Tri-blend Maeng Da Bali, and White Batak.
Red kratom gets its color from exposure to light, humidity, and heat during the drying/curing process. Red Maeng Da and Red Bali are two of the most purchased red strains available. The former is often considered the most balanced of the pain-relieving kinds. It provides an ideal balance of alkaloids while remaining relatively high in mitragynine, the main pain-relieving alkaloid inside the kratom leaf.
Red Bali is said to be fairly sedative and may thus be used by people who want help falling asleep. This can often be attributed to a higher concentration of 7-hydroxymitragynine in the leaf, which comes from the sun drying process used by Indonesian farmers.
When it comes to white vein kratom, two very popular kinds are White Borneo and White Maeng Da. White Borneo is said to aid with energy production and to yield anti-depressant characteristics while the name Maeng Da is usually reserved for the strongest kratom overall. This is again due to high levels of mitragynine and other alkaloids that are primed with without a lot of sun exposure.
The energy production may also be due to higher levels of the alkaloid, akuammigine, which promotes the production of adrenaline. More studies of akuammigine need to be carried out before we fully understand its potential. White kratom is the result of sun bleaching, during which multiple interactions take place within the leaf itself yielding unique alkaloid profiles.
When most people think of green kratom they are probably thinking of Super Green or Green Maeng Da. These two strains are quite similar in that they both provide high levels of mitragynine, an indole alkaloid responsible for the plant’s analgesic effects. Both are used by those looking for energy, focus, and increased production.
Green kratom is green because the leaves get exposure to heat, humidity, and a bit of light. This leaves them higher in chlorophyll and allows them to cure with less alkaloid oxidation and therefore undergo less conversion from mitragynine to 7-hydroxymitragynine. Since greens are higher in mitragynine, there is a tendency for them to be more energetic than reds but more sedating than whites.
Notable yellow kratom includes Yellow Thai and Yellow Bentuangie among some other creatively named kinds. Yellow Thai is said to be great for energy and focus while Bentuangie may be more sedating than other strains. Some people choose to mix the two for a combination of energy and pain relief.
Both of these are traditionally a bit lower in mitragynine but higher in 7-hydroxymitragynine, a barely-present but very potent indole alkaloid like its cousin. In fact, 7-OH-mitragynine is around five times stronger than mitragynine. The amount present is a result of oxidation during the curing process. Some farmers also implement fermentation bags to help reach the desired color.
Kratom blends are a great way to sample the best of each individual ingredient at once. Some blends we sell often include:
Of course you don’t have to stay limited to what pre-mixed blends you can find online. Get creative!
Some things that kratom is used for, as well as some things that kratom is currently being investigated for, are:
For details on kratom pharmacology, usage, effects, and more, please refer to our post, What is Kratom?
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Kratom can be consumed orally a variety of ways. It most often comes in the form of a dried, finely-ground powder that is commonly taken directly by mouth then quickly followed by a large amount of liquid in a process referred to popularly as “toss-and-wash.” Others like to brew kratom tea. Kats Botanicals has a nice write-up on some different recipes.
The taste of kratom is very unique and is not for everyone. For those averse to the taste, kratom capsules are an extremely practical method of consumption. Our capsules are size “00” and each contains 525 mg of kratom. Some websites also sell pressed kratom tablets, though these will still leave a kratom taste in the mouth and throat if one gets stuck.
Your choice of kratom vendor influences your experience. First and foremost, you must be sure that your vendor will not deliver adulterated or contaminated products. Adulteration has been a problem in the past and some vendors have even resorted to mixing their kratom with controlled substances.
Heavy metals, salmonella, listeria, and other pathogens should also be a concern, so it is advisable to go with someone who tests their products before marketing them. A good vendor will have lab results available upon request.
At Socratic Solutions, we test our batches with Alliance Analytical Laboratories. We are all about repeat business, not one-time sales, so it is in our best interest to only serve products that we choose to put in our own bodies. It’s not just the right thing to do, it is also the reason why we have such a high customer retention rate.
Many people want to know whether they should simply purchase kratom from their local shop rather than order it over the internet. The same rules from above apply here as well. Purchasing kratom on the internet allows buyers to shop around for the best value, easily access customer reviews to get a general feel for how a company operates, and to have the product delivered right to their doorstep.
Worth mentioning is that shop prices are generally much higher. Finally, most shop kratom that we have tested has been week relative to what we normally stock, though there may be some exceptions out there. Ultimately, one of the most desirable traits in a vendor is consistency.