Vendors usually supply small volumes of product in resealable containers like bags with zip closures, but what if you’re buying larger amounts? If you pick up your kratom in bulk, you’re most likely going to be trying to figure out the best way to keep it at its freshest for the maximum amount of time possible.
Although there is no officially agreed-upon shelf life for kratom products, most consumers would agree that consuming it closer to harvest time provides a better taste and experience. In this post, we will cover what you want to avoid when storing kratom and provide some recommendations on what containers should work well for you.
The Myth of the Shelf Life
There are some articles out there on vendor websites that claim kratom has a specified shelf life. Some even claim that kratom goes bad after as little as three months. To be clear, there haven’t been any studies as of the time of this writing that established the temperature stability of kratom’s alkaloids in varying environmental conditions for an extended period of time.
One study showed that mitragynine, kratom’s most abundant alkaloid, remains completely stable at 178 degrees F for at least eight hours, but that’s the best we have.
You can only extrapolate that information so far, so it’s not going to help you much if you’re contemplating storing a couple of kilograms in the basement near the window for a year.
In theory, kratom should begin losing potency over time due to chemical changes that occur during exposure to environmental factors, but there is no way of knowing how long this process takes or how soon measurable changes occur.
That said, kratom begins to appear and smell less fresh as time goes on, so those who prefer a vividly colored, potent smelling product want to extend the freshness as long as possible. This is particularly relevant to those who use the toss and wash method or brew teas.
Starting Out With Fresher Kratom
You should make it a point to start out with the freshest kratom possible if you plan on taking a while to go through it. You will want to deal with a vendor who imports directly from the source so there is less time that passes between when the leaves are harvested and when you’re actually consuming the final product.
Small batch importers are always the best option because they maintain close relationships with the people who produce kratom and therefore usually get preferential treatment when it comes to quality. They also buy more frequently in kilogram amounts rather than occasionally in tons.
In some cases, you could be consuming kratom that was still on the tree as little as two weeks prior. Another unmentioned benefit to doing small batch runs is that the kratom is made airtight immediately after being ground into a powder and stays that way until it gets to you.
This leaves very little time for exposure to the elements and is in contrast to how larger parcels of kratom are handled. On big bulk orders, often times a processor will put together 25 kg sacks and simply close them without an actual seal.
These bags are then boxed in regular cardboard packaging as they await being loaded into a shipping container. Once they eventually make their month long journey from Jakarta to the US and make it through Customs, they are usually packaged fairly quickly. Only then are they again stored properly. That is until you open that package.
What is Oxidation?
Oxidation is a process that happens when materials are exposed to oxygen. The most common example of oxidation is rust. When iron is exposed to oxygen, it forms a red substance called oxide.
Over time, the iron will continue to oxidize and eventually turn into dust.
The same process happens with kratom, but on a much smaller scale. When kratom is exposed to oxygen, the alkaloids start to break down and change form.
Over an undetermined amount of time, the overall amount of each alkaloid becomes lower. There has recently been some debate about what that means exactly in the context of kratom. Mitragynine oxidizes into 7-hydroxymitragynine, which is a more potent form.
This is then further oxidized into a chemical called mitragynine pseudoindoxyl, which is even more potent on a milligram to milligram basis
At the surface, it seems like this means leaving kratom out in the open air would made it stronger, but we know that a little bit is lost in the conversion process. How much? We don’t yet know.
Until there have been some data produced indicating otherwise, we should assume that exposure to oxygen will result in reduced effects.
Importance of the Container
It is of utmost importance to choose an airtight container when storing kratom. The longer your leaf is exposed to oxygen, the more oxidation it will undergo. Although it would take quite a while, at some point it would be rendered useless.
To avoid oxygen destroying your stash, you should keep your gear in a container that won’t allow air in. Completely sealed containers also help keep out moisture and bacteria.
Those most concerned with anti-bacterial properties may opt for NSF-certified containers like the ones used by most reputable, hygienic companies. NSF-certified contact surfaces are easily cleaned and sanitized and hinder the spread of bacteria. Popular brands include Cambro, Rubbermaid Commercial, Winco, and Thunder Group.
Not all quality containers are certified. Airtight bins from Rubbermaid, OXO, Sterilite, Pyrex, and IRIS come in either plastic or glass in a variety of sizes and are all solid options. Read product reviews to help find the product with the tightest and longest-lasting seal.
Avoiding Exposure to Sunlight
Air isn’t the only potential enemy to consider when storing kratom. UV light can also oxidize its components causing the product to lose potency. This process is called photo-oxidation If you aren’t going to be getting to your kratom until a while down the road, the effects of exposure can be measurable.
UV from the sun can also promote a rise in temperature. Temperature fluctuations are associated with moisture buildup. As we all know, condensation inside a container can lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which you definitely don’t want in something you plan to consume.
The main culprit in UV oxidation is of course sunlight. Storing containers out in the open, on a countertop for example, is not recommended as a long-term solution.
Even indirect sunlight can lead to the degradation of kratom’s key components. Inside a cabinet, away from moisture (not under the sink) and windows, or in a closet, are good places for storage.
Vacuum Sealing & Freezing
Buying kratom in bulk is a great way to save money. You end up paying less per gram and you don’t have to order as much or worry about running out of kratom and waiting for delivery. Once you have so much kratom on hand, though, how do you actually go about storing it?
One pointer is to use a vacuum sealer. This will keep out air and moisture and is ideal for kratom that you won’t be getting to for a while. You can use your vacuum sealer to portion out your kratom.
Calculate how much you consume each week and multiply that by 12 or so to determine what amount to put into each vacuum bag. Take what you need and store the rest away.
Although it is debatable, some recommend storing leftovers in the freezer. This helps combat another enemy of kratom – heat – and of course there’s built-in protection from UV light. What many fail to recognize is the potential for moisture to build up inside the container.
This becomes a problem as the container is removed and replaced because miniature amounts of moisture will build up each time temperatures change. This is indeed a very gradual process, but all it takes is a little bit of water to stimulate the growth of microscopic mold spores, which you don’t want to be consuming.
One idea that has been proposed to counter this is to place silica gel packets on top of the powder to absorb any condensation that may form. Dry rice in an open baggie may work as well. If you decide to use the freezer, know that this may cause your powder to pick up scents and flavors from other items that you may have alongside it.
A great way to combat this is with baking soda. Arm & Hammer makes a product called Fridge-N-Freezer that does the trick for very little cost. All you need to do is place a box in the freezer near your kratom container and it’ll begin working.
Storing Kratom Tea
You can also brew your tea in larger batches to save yourself time down the road, though the container will be different. If you have the have the capacity to brew two gallons worth (8 quarts), you would have 16 individual 16 ounce servings of tea when you finish.
At twice a day, that’s more than a week’s worth. All you would need is two gallon jugs or pitchers. With the tea, you won’t have to be worried about using airtight containers or risking exposure to humidity, plus it’s in the fridge so light and heat won’t be a problem.
The only consideration would be keeping the proper level of acidity. If you made your tea using citric acid or lemon juice, it is likely in the pH range of 4.0 – 6.0, which is ideal for alkaloid stability. Again, refer back to the table data presented by this study.
Kratom tea has shown to be stable for at least 14 days under certain conditions. Worth noting is that the tea in the 14 day trial was kept at 32 degrees F, colder than your average refrigerator, and pH was unspecified.
Again, alkaloids in solution show the most stability at neutral to slightly acidic pH ranges. Also, there is also no evidence that tea would be unstable for a period longer than 14 days
Buying Your Kratom in Bulk
Now that you know how to store kratom for the long term, you should know some things to help you find the best possible source. Here are some tips:
- Small batch is best: Look for small batch kratom vendors versus large, mass market brands. You’ll find that they usually have access to higher quality product that hasn’t been sitting in a warehouse for months (or years). On top of that, since it is imported more frequently, it is naturally fresher.
- Lab testing matters: It’s important that companies lab test their products to make sure that any potential microbial contaminants or heavy metals are within safe limits established by a recognized bodies like AHPA, SNI, USP, or FDA. Make sure lab test results are actually made available and that they come from a third-party lab instead of in-house.
- Don’t overpay: It costs a lot to run a kratom business, but some sources take advantage of customers by charging outrageous prices that simply can’t be justified. A good vendor networks and negotiates to get the best cost, then passes that savings along to customers. This way, both retailer and end user benefit in the end.
- Inquire about wholesale: If you really want to buy in bulk, some vendors will offer wholesale to the general public. Even if you don’t see it offered explicitly on their website, it never hurts to ask about large scale discounts.
- Check reviews: What do other customers have to say about their past purchases? Buy your kratom from someone who has earned positive reviews. One thing to consider, though, is that a lack of reviews may simply indicate the vendor is newer, not that customers are unhappy.