Kratom vs. Kava


29 Sep, 20210

Kratom vs. Kava

If you’ve heard of Kratom, you’ve probably also heard of Kava, and you may be wondering what the difference is between the two. Kratom and Kava have been consumed for centuries and are often used interchangeably or confused with one another. However, while they have similarities in their appearance and some of their effects, they are different in many ways and unique in their own right.

In this article, you will learn:

What is Kratom?

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is an evergreen tree native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia and is part of the coffee plant family. Kratom leaves have been harvested for centuries by farmers in Southeast Asia, who have become experts in growing and producing Kratom. The tree has been part of traditional culture for hundreds of years and is known for its medicinal properties; it was traditionally used to aid workers on the farms and rice fields to help relieve joint pain.

What is Kava?

Kava (Piper Methsycticum) is a plant of the pepper family native to the Western Pacific. These communities have been consuming Kava for years and traditionally would only consume it before the beginning of an important religious ritual. In more recent times, Kava is mixed with beverages and brewed in tea to be drunk socially and enjoyed as a relaxant.

What is the difference between Kratom and Kava?

While Kratom and Kava have many similarities, they differ in their effects, chemical composition, and processes.

Taste of Kava vs. Kratom

Kratom and Kava are both known for their earthy, bitter taste. Most people find that Kava has a more potent taste compared to Kratom. When mixing ground or powdered Kava root with water, it turns into a brownish mixture that resembles mud; most people can’t consume it without adding flavor. While Kratom tastes similar, it has a slightly less bitter flavor which means some people can drink it solely with water. 

How can I tell the difference between Kratom and Kava in taste?

To tell the difference between Kava and Kratom, you need to be familiar with both flavors as they are so similar. The one with the more potent earthy, bitter taste will be Kava. 

Effects of Kava vs. Kratom

Kratom and Kava have some similar medicinal properties, such as pain relief. However, Kava is less potent than Kratom. This means Kava has more calming properties, whilst Kratom can boost energy and focus and is reported to offer stronger pain relief. 

This is because Kratom is very dose-sensitive; it has a stimulant-like effect in lower doses, whereas it has more of a sedative effect with higher doses. In comparison, Kava’s effects are more consistent as sedative effects.

Composition of Kava vs. Kratom

The main difference between Kratom and Kava is in their chemical properties and how they react with the brain. 

Kratom contains the alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which interact with opioid receptors in the brain. Opioids are what modulate how we respond to pain. This means Kratom’s effects can be similar to opiates. 

The chemical composition of Kava is very different from Kratom. Kava contains kavalactones, and the active ingredients vary depending on the variety of the plant. The Kavalactones interact with the limbic system, the part of our brain that deals with emotions, by binding to the receptors in the amygdala. 

Intensity of Kava vs. Kratom

The intensity of effects felt from both Kratom and Kava are very similar. For both, the effects are typically felt within 30 minutes of consumption and usually last between three to six hours. 

The sensations are expected to resemble feelings of calmness, relaxation, and euphoria. The intensity of these effects depends on the dosage, but they are generally mild to moderate.   

How are Kratom and Kava consumed?

Traditionally, Kratom and Kava were both chewed, but they are consumed in several other ways today. 

Kratom can be taken as a powder, capsule, extract, or in edible form. The powder form is the most popular way to consume Kratom, as it can be mixed in with beverages or can be taken as a “toss and wash” for those who don’t mind the taste. You can also brew Kratom leaves in tea. 

Kava was traditionally consumed by chewing it into a pulp and spitting it into water. Today, it is also consumed in the form of capsules, kava root powder, pre-made liquids, extracts, and teas.

What are Kratom and Kava tea?

Kratom and Kava tea are teas made from brewing the powders of the Kratom leaves and the Kava root in hot water and straining. Tea is an easy and delicious way to enjoy both Kratom and Kava. 

How safe is Kratom vs. Kava?

Both Kratom and Kava are reported to be very safe. Like any individual dose of a plant product, as long as Kratom and Kava are used in moderation, there should be no adverse side effects or dangers to safety.

Many people wonder whether it is safe to combine the two. While it isn’t remotely unsafe, taking Kratom in tandem with Kava may maximize their individual effects. This could be beneficial in experiencing the full extent of the wellness benefits that Kratom and Kava contain. 

Choose what feels right for you

Kratom and Kava are two very different compounds, yet the effects they provide are very similar. Both Kratom and Kava are valuable plants that help many people in their daily lives. It is worth trying both Kratom and Kava to figure out what works best for you, depending on your needs. Start your journey by trying Kratom today!

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