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Kava vs Kratom: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve ever spent time in your local vitamin and supplements store, then you’ve probably seen kava and kratom sold side by side. What’s more, it can be easy to confuse these two distinct products because they tend to be marketed in the same way. Plus, kratom and kava do have a lot in common. However, there are some crucial differences between kava and kratom. And in this blog, we’ll explain them all. Consider this your ultimate guide to the kava vs kratom question: 

What is Kratom? What is Kava? 

Scientifically, kratom is known as mitragyna speciosa, which is a type of evergreen tree in the coffee family. Kratom is derived from the leaves of this tree. 

Kava, or piper methysticum, belongs to the pepper family. Unlike kratom, kava comes from the ground-up roots of its plant.  

Geography

Kratom originates in Southeast Asia, in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. Meanwhile, kava is spread across a string of Pacific islands including Hawaii, Vanuatu, and some parts of Micronesia. 

Consumption

Kava is almost always taken in the form of a drink. Kava roots are ground up and mixed within a tea-like beverage. Culturally, people may drink kava on a regular basis, but it does also have a connection with some religious/spiritual festivals. In addition, some places serve kava in bar-like settings in lieu of alcohol.

Kratom, on the other hand, most often comes in powder or capsule form. Traditionally, inhabitants of Southeast Asia were known to chew on kratom leaves throughout the day. 

It’s worth noting that both kratom and kava have a similar taste. Kratom is a bitter substance, and the word kava translates to “bitter.” Some compare the flavor of kava to that of an IPA or strong coffee. 

Effects

In the main, the side effects associated with kava and kratom are similar, and many people take either kava or kratom for the same reasons –– namely to relax and reduce pain. The side effects of kava consumption include:

  • Muscle relaxation
  • Drowsiness
  • Sense of euphoria

At high dosages, kratom effects can mirror those of kava. At lower dosages, though, kratom tends to produce side effects more similar to caffeine, such as increased energy and alertness, social hyperactivity, decreased appetite, and heightened libido. 

Pharmacology

From a pharmacological standpoint, kava and kratom are quite different. The active ingredient in kratom are chemical compounds known as alkaloids. There are two main alkaloids found in kratom: mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. In practical terms, mitragynine is closely related to pain relief and is more prevalent in green and red strains of kratom. Conversely, 7-hydroxymitragynine tends to produce bursts of energy and is more often found in white strains. Kratom affects the brain in a similar fashion to morphine by blocking pain receptors.

The active ingredients in kava are known as kavalactones. It’s relatively unknown how these ingredients work, but they appear to affect neurotransmitters in the brain, in a similar fashion to dopamine

The Bottom Line

Still not sure whether kava or kratom is right for you? Then no worries! At Kingdom Kratom, we’re supplement experts and we’re happy to answer any questions you may have about our product. Contact us here for more information!




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