Kratom as a Magic Bullet of Biology
- a medicine or other remedy, especially an undiscovered or hypothetical one, with wonderful or highly specific properties.
Kratom. Otherwise known by its scientific name as Mitragyna Speciosa, Kratom is a new (to us) but old remedy used for various reasons.
Kratom has been around for a long time, originating in the jungles of Southeast Asia. The leaves contain many properties that research says are at least remedial, though there is some debate on whether kratom is addictive in nature or not. Clearly kratom is not poisonous, but it is still incredibly controversial because so many claim its healing properties while forces like the FDA and DEA claim it may have potentially harmful effects. In the very least, scientists, kratom enthusiasts, and natural path doctors alike are all very interested in the chemistry and toxicology of this plant and are waiting on the edge of their seats to gather more evidence for understanding what kratom really does to the human body. We don’t have all the evidence, but I strongly lean towards believing that this is a plant that has truly wonderful and specific properties that can help many people with all types of issues. That being said, I do not recommend using this plant unless you have first spoken to your Naturopath doctor. (Find out more about Naturopath doctors here).Let’s dig into some basics, then get into some of its magical properties, shall we?
Where is it from?
In the jungles and tropics of the Southeast Asian world, a plant known as kratom, grows heavily in its native terrain. Originally a native plant to Thailand, the kratom plant, also called “kakuam, ithan, thom, ketum, and biak-biak,” grows anywhere from 13 to 20 feet high in many countries across southeast Asia including Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam (Reys kratomonline).
What is kratom’s scientific categorization and its uses?
According to The Plant List which categorizes a working list of all plant species, kratom (or Mitragyna Speciosa) belongs to the well-known Rubiaceae family which contains many flowering plants, including the coffee tree.
Kratom is related to the coffee tree.
Mitragyna Speciosa, is a tree which produces large, broad shaped leaves that are dried, crushed, and consumed, smoked, or chewed.
Over the centuries, this plant has been used for various ailments, mood enhancement, depression, pain relief, and as a stimulant.
Just as with most edible plants, there are various options of ways to consume it, and likewise, the effects vary from person to person. In the past, people have used it like tobacco, as a tea, as an extract, a resin, and a powder.
What does kratom look like? What are veins and strains?
The leaves are referred to by the color of the vein. The vein of a leaf is the pipe-like vein that travels up the middle of the plant and branches out to all edges of the leaf itself. This vein will be one of the following: red vein, white vein, green vein, or the rare yellow vein, each with their unique and positive effect on the human body. In addition, other descriptions such as “horned” are added to the name to further identify the specific shape of the leaves’ edges which, when horned, have a special pointed edge surrounding the leaf. Other things that may differentiate the kind of kratom are the drying processes or fermentation processes that are used to produce different effects for the user.
The plant, kratom, is a pure product with no additives, though many have extracted either the 7-hydroxy or mitragynine alkaloids and mixed its properties with other drugs or substances, which can cause addictive or life-threatening effects.
What does kratom taste like?
Kratom is very bitter and reminiscent of a concentrated green tea. The consistency, if in powder form, is comparative to that of the recently popular Matcha Tea or cinnamon. When in its powder form, it does not mix well with anything unless it is blended into a shake or a smoothie of some sort or is mixed in with hot water and stirred until dissolved (5-6 minutes), and is easily stuck to the roof of the mouth, inhaled, or puffed out if taken incorrectly. All together, it’s bitter and chalky. When kratom is wet and unmixed, its consistency is like that of clay, and as it can be consumed in a tea form which tastes like a strong and gritty version of green tea. Many add some form of sweetener like honey to dim the bitter taste. (Refer to blog post: How to Consume Kratom in order to receive instructions on taking kratom powder–please note the dose and do not take above that dose without speaking to your Natural Path doctor).
Why do people use kratom?
As mentioned above, kratom has been used for various reasons, either as a stimulant and mood enhancer or a pain reliever and antidepressant. Though this may go without being said, in addition to so many other acclaimed benefits, this plant easily substitutes for various other prescribed medication, though there is still little research on its effectiveness versus addictive-ness. Kratom has absolutely no additives. It is pure plant. Kratom is one natural way to relieve symptoms of opioid withdrawal (according to users) and avoid over-the-counter medication or addictive pain medication. This is the only way I endorse this plant. Separating its properties and mixing them with other substances is what can potentially cause destructive results.
I am only an advocate for the responsible use of kratom as an additive free, natural plant. Consult your Natural Path Doctor.
Check out my next post on how I became an advocate for kratom!
The Plant List (2010). Version 1. Published on the Internet; http://www.theplantlist.org/ (accessed 1st January).