Kratom goes by a lot of common names including ketum, kratum, thang, thom, biak and kakuam, but all refer to the scientific plant species mitragyna speciosa. Belonging to the same species as the coffee tree (Rubiaceae), tropical kratom trees grow indigenously to Southeast Asian countries including Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar. The tree itself can grow up to an astounding 50 feet tall with over a 15 foot span. The tree mostly grows in rainforest areas but has also been known to grow in swampy regions of Africa as well. The tree has yellow flowers while the leaf has an oval looking shape and is typically darker green in nature making it hard to miss. Multiple shadings of the leaf have been noted over the course of different seasons. Growing the tree is very hard to do given its large size and sensitive conditions needed to promote proper growth, so it is recommended to buy from a trusted kratom supplier.
Kratom has been used by natives of Southeast Asia for quite some time as an herbal supplement. Traditionally kratom has been used by laborers of the region as a mild stimulant to cope with the locations difficult jobs and hard burdens of work. They chewed the leaves to give them added energy provide relief to strained muscles. One of the earliest known mentions of the botanical herb was by a dutch botanist, Pieter Korthals in 1839. Resembling the shape of a Bishop’s miter, he coined the tree Mitragyna.
Over 25 alkaloids have been detected in the plant, 3 of the most popular being mitragynine, 7-hydroxymitragynine and epicatechin. Pharmacology studies show that the herb presents opioid-like activity in animals. Chemical composition varies due to the age of the tree, environment and the time it is harvested with alkaloid content typically ranging from 0.5% to 1.5%. Kratom is known to inhibit electrically stimulated ileum and vas deferens smooth muscular contraction. Through binding affinity to opiod receptors, the herb inhibits gastric secretion and reduces pain response.
Kratom has been reported to produce energizing and also sedative effects. In low doses, it has been known to produce stimulating and energetic effects with users reporting increased alertness, talkativeness and high social behavior. At high doses, kratom offers a more sedative effect with euphoric-like tendencies. Effects begin within 2-5 minutes after ingestion and will last anywhere from 2 to 6 hours.