Maeng Da kratom is one of the most popular strains on the market today. This strain gets its name from the Thai word for “pimp” or “dragon.” The classic claim is that it is the result of cross-breeding kratom trees from various sources to achieve a sort of “super kratom.” You will find this story on the websites of many vendors throughout the industry.
The truth is that Maeng Da isn’t a type of kratom tree and the name is simply used to refer to a high-grade kratom variety with an extensive alkaloid profile. The alkaloid content of a kratom leaf is dictated by the natural conditions in which it’s grown as well as the curing process that takes place once the leaf is picked.
Overview of the Kratom Leaf
The kratom tree is a tropical deciduous and evergreen tree in the coffee family. It grows to a height of 30 to 40 feet (15 meters) with a trunk diameter of up to 15 inches (38 centimeters). It has large, glossy, ovate leaves that grow to about eight inches (20 centimeters) long and five inches (12 centimeters) wide on average.
The kratom tree was first described scientifically by Dutch botanist Pieter Willem Korthals in 1839. It was previously known by the names “Biak” and “Ketum.” Kratom grows naturally in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. In these countries, kratom has been used for centuries as a folk medicine.
Maeng Da kratom leaves are, on average, a dark green in color and can be chewed fresh or dried and brewed as a tea. Some users have reported smoking it. This is technically possible, but not advised due to the inherent inhalation of other potentially dangerous chemicals like tar.
Dried leaves are most often ground into powder or paste form. In all commercially-available kratom, this process is carried out by large industrial machines. The drying process itself is very nuanced as it influences the chemical makeup of the final product. More on that next.
How Maeng Da Kratom is Produced
The best Maeng Da kratom starts with trees that are grown in the lush rainforests of Indonesia’s Borneo, the third largest island in the world. Socratic Solutions sources kratom grown in two locations depending on the strain: a private plantation in West Kalimantan and wild growth areas along the banks of the Kapuas Hulu River.
In these areas, the soil stays at a pH level of around 5.5 to 6.5, which is the optimal range for a kratom tree to flourish. Due to the region’s continuous rainfall, nutrients are cycled through the soil regularly, meaning the tree is free to feed on a wide variety of beneficial chemicals.
The result is a leaf very high in the full spectrum of alkaloids. According to our farmers, once a tree reaches a mature age of six years, it is ready for its first harvest. In the wild, mature trees tend to have a more robust alkaloid profile compared to their young counterparts. This
Harvests are done in rotating sections so no single area is totally depleted without being allowed to replenish itself fully before the next run. Sustainable harvesting techniques are key to making sure there will be a continuous supply of high quality kratom in the future. The kratom tree also plays a role in the local ecosystem.
Once the fresh leaves are picked, they are dried, or cured. This is where the difference between strains comes in. Though you may see yellow strains offered from time to time as an offshoot of red types, Maeng Da kratom is generally available in red, white, and green varieties. Colors are achieved as described next.
Red Maeng Da kratom is the result of oxidation, which occurs after exposure to high heat and humidity. When outdoor drying, this is facilitated by direct sun exposure. For indoor red drying, farmers use UV lights and humidifiers to achieve the same result.
As the leaf begins to turn red and the oxidation takes place, the alkaloid content of the leaf changes. Leaves that are allowed to oxidize more end up containing more 7-hydroxymitragynine and less mitragynine, as the latter turns into the former during the process. There is also a change in the rest of the alkaloids and flavonoids that constitute the leaf
There are two ways that White Maeng Da kratom is created. For the first, stems and veins are added to what would have otherwise been green kratom, which is described under the next heading. Since stems and veins are often higher in mitragynine, this is a way to boost its content in the mixture and it gives the kratom an overall reddish tint.
The second method requires the leaves to be dried as far as possible from light, heat, and humidity. As we mentioned when discussing reds, these things actually lead to oxidation, which changes the chemical makeup of the leaf.
With whites, the goal is to keep the leaf as close to its natural state as possible in terms of alkaloids and flavanoids. If the leaves are cured with this second method, the final product will be a powder that is only slightly varied from green and it may be impossible to distinguish the two even side-by-side.
Green kratom is the easiest to achieve. Kratom is picked, sorted, and rinsed before being hung on special racks to dry. These racks are much like clotheslines and allow for for airflow in between leaves for even drying.
Our Green Maeng Da kratom spends 20% of its dry time outside in a shaded area before moving indoors for the remaining 80% to dry in low light, low humidity conditions. The little bit of light and humidity exposure allows for a bit of oxidation, but nothing like what we see in red cures.
This allows some of the mitragynine to be converted into 7-hydroxymitragynine, though the magnitude of this conversion is unknown. As previously mentioned, there are many other important alkaloids present worth nothing. Each one of these contributes to the overall effects.
Yellow Maeng Da kratom is an offshoot of red. Many farmers like to use fermentation bags to develop their yellows, which involves a few extra steps and a bit more caution. The final product is heavily oxidized. More information about oxidation in tea leaves can be found here.
Dosage really depends on your tolerance level and the strength of the product you’re using. We carry Maeng Da kratom that contains a minimum of 1.5% mitragynine, which is a level consistent with “good” kratom. There are more alkaloids that contribute to the overall effects of kratom, but that’s a topic for another post.
Given a “good” strength leaf, we usually advise starting with anywhere between 1-3 g, based on bodyweight, taken by mouth to assess tolerance. In roughly 50 minutes following consumption, you should be able to tell how a given dosage will affect you, then you can always add more if needed.
Caution should be taken to not consume too much at one time, otherwise you are likely to experience nausea. Under 4 g is considered a light dose, from 5-8 is a moderate dose, and anything over that would be considered heavy.
Again, this is based on “good” kratom. If your kratom is weaker than this, you would need more to achieve the same effect. Some vendors offer products with as little as 0.5% mitragynine, while our top-shelf premium leaf contains well over 2%.
Most Maeng Da kratom users consume it in the beginning of the day and then again later in the afternoon, though some may choose to add a third dose later based on their hours and the day’s demands. Our philosophy is to dose twice daily as to allow for some time each day for kratom to clear the system. This helps avoid tolerance and dependence.
If you choose to consume it on a daily basis, it is strongly advised to take breaks periodically to avoid dependence. Many choose to use it during the week, taking weekends off as a wash-out period. This author has determined that 12 weeks is about the longest practical period of continuous use before taking a week or two off.
Maeng Da kratom is available in several forms:
- Powder: by far the most common form of Maeng Da kratom and implicated in the “toss and wash” method. Most grinds result in a powder of around 40 microns in particle size with nano and micro types being even smaller. Common dosage may be between 2-8 g.
- Capsules: most kratom capsules are size 00, which is standard in the dietary supplement industry. Each one usually contains between 500-700 mg of powder, as it is impossible to fit much more. Heavy kratom users must consume many standard kratom capsules.
- Extracts: extracts are a way to get more of kratom’s active ingredients per unit of powder of capsule. Special chemical reactions take place that isolate these ingredients, meaning you have to take less product. Extracts come in a wide range of strengths and are found as powders, capsules, and liquids.
- Resin: technically an extract, resin involves isolating alkaloids from the plant material and then running that through a filter. After the leaf is discarded, the remnants are dried to create kratom resin. Resin can be used either straight or in the production of edibles.
- Edibles: kratom and/or extract can be mixed in with other ingredients to create some interesting culinary treats. The alkaloid content of edibles depends on the strength of the kratom powder or extract used.
There have been tens if not hundreds of Mitragyna speciosa strains conceived throughout the industry. None are quite as well-known as Maeng Da kratom, and for good reason.
The term Maeng Da is often reserved for strains with the highest concentration of overall alkaloids. We hope you now have a better understanding of what Maeng Da kratom truly is and how it could benefit you.