Kratom: general information about leaves, powder and capsules

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is an evergreen tree from the Marenov family that grows in tropical and subtropical regions of Southeast Asia and Africa, Indochina, Malaysia and New Guinea.

The entire genus Mitragyna, comprising Mitragyna ciliate, Mitragyna ledermannii, Mitragyna parviflora, Mitragyna speciosa, Mitragyna stipulosa, Mitragyna javanica and Mitragyna inermis, has medicinal properties of bark and leaves of the trees, that contain many alkaloids including mitragynine and 7 gidroksimitraginin (7-OHM), decoctions and tea from them have long been used in traditional medicine of the countries of Southeast Asia.

Kratom (kratom) is the common name for the species Mitragyna speciosa. In its homeland, the Malay Peninsula, and in the northern part of Borneo, it is called Thom, Ithang, Biak Biak, Ketume, Kakuam, Pokok, and others.

The botanical name – Mitragyna speciosa – was given to the plant by the Dutch botanist Peter Willem Cortals because of the similarity in the structure of the flower with the shape of the bishop’s miter. In his monograph on tropical plants, published in 1839, Cortals was the first European to describe in detail all species of the genus Mitragyna, their properties, social significance and methods of application.

The use of fresh kratom leaves has been a common tradition in the countries of Southeast Asia since ancient times. Drivers of tuk-tuk transport, manual labor, farmers and traders chews fresh kratom leaves throughout the day, which allows them to go without rest for a long time. Among today’s young people, a drink based on chilled kratom broth with the addition of fruit juices or Coca-Cola is popular. Village healers traditionally use a decoction for any ailments, to relieve physical pain and stress.

Kratom spread in the Pacific region partly with the help of immigrants from Thailand, who planted seedlings brought with them to the new places of residence. Artificial kratom plantations are created to study and preserve the species, as well as for commercial purposes.

Different varieties offered on the market are clones of the strongest natural variety Maeng Da (Thailand) and, depending on the place of growth, have different colors of leaf veins: red (red), green (green) and white (white). What is the difference between them is not exactly established, but in countries where it grows, they prefer a mixture of all three species.

Scientific interest in the Kratom originated at the beginning of the twentieth century; research is still being conducted at institutes in many countries. The results are published on the relevant resources. It is known that the Kratom leaf contains more than 25 alkaloids, including mitrajinin, raubasine (found in rauwolfia snakeskin) and corynantheidine (alkaloid Yohimbe), as well as epicatechin contained in dark chocolate and green tea.

In the wild, Mitragyna trees form dense thickets with numerous undergrowth; they grow well on moist fertile soils, in places protected from wind and near water bodies.

Kratom multiplies seeds and cuttings. It is well acclimatized outside the natural environment and in rooms, it has a very fast growth.

The average height of trees is 4–9 m, they are up to 30 m, they have a straight trunk and a branchy crown, which is abundantly covered with large (15–20 cm) oval leaves. During the year, the tree several times sheds old foliage, replacing it with new one; during the rainy period, the growth of leaves is more active, during the drought season most of them fall down. The concentration of the active substances in the leaves varies with the seasons: in the dry season, which begins in March and ends in September, the tree receives more sunlight than in other months, and the leaf collected during this period has more power.

Most of the population of Southeast Asia is Muslim and drinking there is considered a sign of bad taste. For relaxation and relaxation, Betel nuts, Kava-kava root drink and Kratom leaf tea are commonly used.

People who use Kratom are distinguished by hard work, as a rule, they have a large farm and a large family, the villagers treat them with respect.