What is Kratom?

A Short Guide to the Kratom Leaf

Table of Contents

History of Use

What is kratom? Let’s begin with a brief bit on its background. Kratom has a longstanding history of use throughout its native east Asian countries of Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. These populations have utilized the leaves of the kratom tree as an alternative medicine for generations. Ironically, kratom is or was recently illegal in many of these individual countries.

In Thailand, it was illegal from 1943 until 2018 when Thailand decided to start overhauling its harsh drug laws. This was not a danger thing. The Thai Office of Narcotics Control Board acknowledged kratom as being less harmful than coffee. When it became illegal around mid 20th century, opium was a major export and revenue source for the TKratom Leaves Low Defhai government. After many shops and regular users switched to kratom, laws were passed to protect the opium trade.

The leaf of the kratom tree is heavily used throughout Thailand in particular despite its old legal status. It is still very favored by manual workers and considered by many of the area’s Muslims to be a sort of alternative to alcohol. Overall, it is estimated that about 70% of the male population uses kratom in some form.

It is not considered to be a traditional drug in this region and is considered a way of life in many southern parts. Many Thai chew the raw leaves of the kratom plant, but those in the younger age group most commonly mix kratom powder with a liquid and drink it. This “toss and wash” method has made its way to the United States and is now mainstream.

Kratom has been traditionally used throughout Southeast Asia as a malaria treatment, in salves to treat rashes and other skin conditions, as a sleep aid, to regulate blood pressure, as a cough suppressant, to cure diarrhea, and to help laborers make it through long, strenuous workdays. Oh, and it is most often chosen as a reliever of chronic pain.

M.speciosa as a whole contains more than 40 compounds called alkaloids. Each type of kratom is comprised of a distinct alkaloid profile, which is responsible for the leaf’s many beneficial effects. The alkaloid profile is influenced by the growing conditions of the plant as well as the drying and curing processes that are done after the leaf has been cut. The major portion of the profile is comprised of indole alkaloids, which are bioactive compounds that elicit various pharmacological action.

Of the 40+ alkaloids that have been extracted from M. speciosa, mitragynine is the most abundant at approximately 66% of total alkaloid weight. This alkaloid is primarily responsible for much of the pain-relieving kratom effects as it is a partial mu-opioid receptor agonist. Its cousin, 7-hydroxymitragynine, may also be present and it is even stronger than mitragynine.

7-hydroxymitragynine is the result of mitragynine oxidation, so it is often associated with kratom that has been sun dried for a while. One study found that roughly 8% of a leaf’s mitragynine can be converted to 7-hydroxymitragynine by the sun alone. All in all, there are at least six known alkaloids that act on the opioid receptors and a slew of others that are associated with the benefits you’ll read about in the next section.

What Does Kratom Do?

Regarding the alkaloids present inside the kratom leaf, here is a short snippet about them and the individual effects that each has been studied for (thank you, Kratom Science):

What does all this really mean in terms of kratom’s real-world effects on a human body? A person consuming kratom can expect to feel a degree of pain relief along with slight euphoria, relaxation, and relief from anxiety. There is no such thing as a kratom “high,” as anyone who has actually used the leaf will attest to. Kratom’s effects begin around 50 minutes from oral consumption for most and will last anywhere from three to four hours based on tolerance and other factors.

More research needs to be done before we fully understand all of kratom’s individual substances and how they truly work in the body. However, it would be naive to deny the potential that this botanical has to offer new and effective alternative treatment options. Time will tell if researchers will be allowed to carry on their studies and discover all the possibilities.

Pain Relief

The analgesic (painkilling) effect of kratom is due to the interaction of alkaloids with opioid receptors present in the brain. The result is an enhanced release of enkephalins and endorphins, which may numb the pain receptors of the body. This characteristic is why so many fans of natural medicine have chosen kratom over prescription pain medications.

Our customers have reported applications such as mild to moderate relief from pain caused by fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fractures, and post-operative procedures.* Our products are not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure anything, but we have (and love to share) incredible customer testimonials crediting kratom with a renewed freedom and the ability to live life again.*

*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.

Blood Pressure

Rhynchophylline acts as a natural calcium channel blocker. These are typically prescription drugs that modulate the movement of calcium and potassium ions, ultimately resulting in reduced blood volume and therefore lower blood pressure. Mitraphylline is another alkaloid that helps to moderate blood pressure, though this one acts as a relaxant for vascular tissue like veins and arteries. More human studies must be done on both to draw any strong conclusions, but they show promise.

Stimulation and Focus

The stimulation that is produced by M. speciosa occurs when it partially acts on mu-opioid receptors in the brain. This activates the body and mind in such a manner that one receives a subjective boost in mental energy and focus. Additionally, some claim that the kratom leaf, when used in the right amounts, enhances cognitive ability.*

Note that, although some of kratom’s alkaloids act like central nervous system (CNS) stimulants (think coffee), others do the opposite. The net effect is not one seen with CNS stimulants – there are no jitters, no insomnia, and none of the potential negative effects on blood pressure.*

*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.

Blood Sugar and Diabetes

In a 2011 study, mitragynine was found to improve glucose uptake within muscle cells and to improve insulin function, meaning that there may be possible future uses for it in treating diabetes and pre-diabetes. Another study found that another kratom alkaloid, epicatechin, is capable of mimicking as well as promoting the production of insulin.

*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.

Bacterial and Viral Infections

Antioxidant Characteristics

Some research has shown that kratom leaves contain certain antioxidants that may help protect users against cancer. These antioxidants have similar effects to the ones found natuRed Kratom Powder From Socratic Solutionsrally in your own body, ones like superoxide dismutase and glutathione, which aid in preventing the formation of free radicals. You can think of free radicals sort of like rust on a piece of metal, in a very abstract sense.

A reduction in free radicals may be strongly correlated with better odds in staving off cancer and adding to one’s lifespan. Also being currently researched are several other health benefits of kratom leaves. Much remains to be learned about this special leaf. In December of 2018, the University of Florida received a $3.5 million grant to study the potential benefits of kratom’s alkaloids. We are awaiting UF’s findings with great anticipation.

*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.

Antipsychotic Properties

Not only does kratom not cause psychosis as the FDA would have you believe, it can actually help alleviate the symptoms and may serve as an alternative treatment for those wanting to avoid prescription antipsychotics. The leaf’s alkaloids bind to the dopamine, serotonin, and alpha-2 adrenergic receptors the same way that some antipsychotic drugs do. On top of that, kratom shows promise as an anti-depressant as well.


The kratom leaf may help to improve the immune system by helping to rid the body of free radicals and harmful microbes. Particular alkaloids inside of kratom may work as immunostimulants which improve the immune system and combat against infections. Some are also toxic to viruses.

*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.


The major and primary alkaloid of kratom is mitragynine, which has been referred to as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. This property is similar to over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) in that it reduces pain, inflammation, swelling, and redness at the site of inflammation. Rhynchophylline (often found alongside mitragynine) shows these characteristics as well.

*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.

Mood Regulation

The alkaloids present in the leaves of the kratom plant are commonly used for their euphoric, anti-depressant, and anxiolytic effects.* Despite what you may have read in the media, kratom not only does not cause psychosis; it has actually been shown to act as an anti-psychotic.* This makes future research potential more alluring and the need to fight any kratom bans more critical.

As far as depression is concerned, kratom has shown our staff members that it can improve mood. With the right kratom, there is a noticeable euphoric boost that takes place about 45 minutes or so after consumption. This effect is again due to interactions with opiate receptors. This leads to a release of sympathetic neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.

Kratom’s alkaloids may also be useful for other symptoms of anxiety-like insomnia, heart palpitations, sweating, and muscle cramps.* Time will tell what other cool things are discovered. We hope that society is allowed to see what other great things can come from mitragyna speciosa.

*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.

Dependence, Side Effects, and Safety

Common Side Effects

The most common side effect of consuming too much kratom is nausea. This is dose dependent and can be fairly severe. The only thing that mitigates it is time, so it is advisable to try kratom at a moderate dose if you have not tried that specific type before. Constipation is another possible side effect as kratom slows down gastrointestinal transit time.

Some people claim that kratom can produce dry mouth, so be sure to watch your fluid intake as a general health rule just in case. Tolerance and even slight withdrawal symptoms in extreme cases can become an issue with daily consumption, so we recommend taking breaks from time to time.

Can Kratom Kill?

As of the date of this writing, all available reports of fatal kratom overdoses have involved other, often multiple, drugs or subjects with histories of poor health. To date, there have been zero cases of death in which kratom was ascertained to be the sole cause (Suhaimi et al., 2016). One would become violently sick long before reaching such a level of toxicity in the blood. Contrary to what you may have heard, true experts on kratom have published peer-reviewed journal articles attesting to the insignificant, or small, risk profile of kratom.

The mortality rate associated with a substance is most often gauged by a measure called LD50. A substance’s LD50 is the amount it took to kill 50% of the test animals it was given to. Although the amount will fluctuate between individuals, a large enough sample size provides a reliable average.

In a 2019 study, Dr. Lauren Smith, et. al found the LD50 of mitragynine, kratom’s most abundant alkaloid, to be roughly 548 mg per kilogram of body weight in study rats. Due to differences in metabolism, surface area, and general physiology, one must covert this to a human equivalent dosage (HED). This is done by dividing the LD50 in mice by 12.3. This means that the LD50 in humans would be approximately 45 mg/kg.

A 150 lb person weights about 68 kilograms. At an HED LD50 of 45 mg per kilogram, this person would have to consume 3,060 mg of mitragynine to die. Keep in mind very high quality kratom contains mitragynine at about 2% or so, so each kilogram of kratom would yield roughly 20 grams of isolated mitragynine, or 20,000 mg.

Calculating this out, we see that a person would have to consume about 0.154 kg of kratom to reach a fatal dose. This is about 5.5 ounces of organic kratom powder, or just under 160 grams. Obviously, this is far more than any person could even fit inside their body, let alone tolerate after swallowing.

The Truth About The Dangers of KratomKratom Sampler Pack From Socratic Solutions

The following are some facts from real academics, scientists, doctors, and others qualified to speak on the subject, though this very small list is non-exhaustive:

Hopefully this inspires you to get you started in your own research. You can refer to our list of additional resources for a more kratom facts.

Kratom Dosage

We are technically unable to recommend a specific dosage for our kratom products. That said, our general rule for ourselves is to try 2-3 grams when experimenting with a new batch of kratom. We generally dose two or three times during the day.

Remember, you can’t take it back if you consume too much and time is the only thing that will help with the nausea. Just like anything else in life, moderation is key. Kratom effects everyone differently, so you will probably need to adjust a bit before you find your perfect spot.


There are ways to get more out of your kratom experience. One is consuming grapefruit juice around 30-45 minutes before your kratom. The other one involves taking curcumin, the active component of turmeric. The former extends your experience a bit and the latter helps you get more from a given dose.

Grapefruit juice works because it inhibit kratom’s metabolization, so its alkaloids will be around in the body for longer. Turmeric works because it blocks actions of the CYP3A4 enzyme, which is responsible for clearing kratom from the system. Without that enzyme being able to get rid of the kratom as quickly, there is a longer and more pronounced effect.

More CYP3A4 enzyme inhibitors include green tea, black pepper in large amounts, cinnamon, quercetin, tagament, and prozac. It is said that the synergy between these inhibitors and kratom does not seem to increase one’s tolerance particularly fast.

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