What is Kratom?

Kratom, formerly known as Mitragyna Speciosa in the scientific community, is a raw botanical product that comes from the Rubiaceae (coffee) family of trees. Kratom is native to the tropical rainforests of Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Mitragyna Speciosa powder and leaved have been used for centuries in customary rituals, ceremonies, and fold medicine all over Southeast Asia. It was only in recent years that it has gained popularity in Western cultures. Although Kratom is widely sold as a raw botanical product for various uses, in both powder and capsule form, as well as in a more concentrated extracted form, known as Kratom extract, it has not been approved for human consumption by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). When dealing with Mitragyna Speciosa, it is important to know that even though it is legal to . buy and sell Kratom, the ingestion of Kratom has not been proven safe for humans by the governing bodies of the FDA.

Kratom as a Medicine

One of Kratom’s first western researchers, L. Wray, worked with the university of Edinburgh in 1907 to isolate the alkaloids of Mitragyna Speciosa. This research was officialized in 1921 when Fray named the alkaloids Mitragynine, as well Mitraversine and Mitragyna parvifolia. In 1930, I.H. Burkill studied the psychoactive effects, and he described its traditional use as a medicine, mentioning it as an effective treatment for diarrhea and fever, among other ailments. This study was compared to a Thai study conducted in 1975 by Dr. Sangun Suwanlert, in which he observed the additional alkaloids. Mitragyna Speciosa leaves have been studied and found to have over 40 chemical compounds that include a number of alkaloids such as mitragynine, 7-hydroxymitragynine, mitragynine pseudoindoxyl. The potency and concentration of Mitragynine contained in the leaves is dependent on several factors, especially the region where the tree was grown. For example, trees grown in Southeast Asia tend to have higher levels than trees grown elsewhere. Controlled climates such as greenhouses, tend to produce kratom leaves with very low levels of Mitragynine.

Another well-known compound in Kratom is 7-hydroxymitragynine. According to a series of recent research, its potency level is massively higher than Mitragynine, which makes it the most powerful substance in the Kratom plant. Furthermore, studies showed that 7-hydroxymitragynine has also been found to communicate with three major Opioid sites – Delta, Kappa and Mu. However the chemical is said to bind itself most commonly to Mu receptors.


While several countries have banned the possession and sale of Kratom, it is still federally not a controlled substance in the United states, although the FDA has made numerous attempts to finally ban it. Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Vermont, Tennessee, and San Diego have banned the possession, trade and distribution of substances contained in Kratom and thus sales to those states are prohibited by local laws. The US FDA does not approve the alkaloids for human consumption at this time.

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