what is kratom - mitragyna speciosa plant

The Origins of Mitragyna Speciosa

Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree which is native to Southeast Asia.  It grows indigenously in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea and has been used extensively for its healing properties across these regions.

It is known officially by its scientific name, Mitragyna Speciosa, and its various slang names such as Ketum, Kray, Ktom, Tum-Tums, Biak-biak, Ithang, Thom, Herbal Speedball and Kahuam.

The Different Types

Kratom comes in multiple forms depending upon the use case and preference of the individual. Here we’re going to look at the possible varieties that you can get from a vendor today.

Powder – the majority of kratom users prefer to purchase it in powder form. This product is created by grinding
dry leaves into a fine powder, which can then be blended with any type of food or drink. Alternatively, it can be consumed raw in powder form for the same effect.

Extract – some sellers use an extraction process to produce a higher concentration of kratom by removing the contents of dozens of leaves to make one small product. One of the most common extraction methods is to boil the leaves and form a resin, and then grind it into a fine powder. The final result is more potent than the average powder on the market.

Enhanced powders – because extract powders are too powerful to be consumed regularly, some users combine them with traditional Kratom powders to make a slightly more potent blend. This mixing of extract with regular products is called an “enhanced powder”.

Resin – this is what comes out of an extraction process and manufacturers normally crush or melt the resin to form strong Kratom products.

Super – in the harvesting process, some people only select the larger leaves as they are believed to contain a higher amount of alkaloids than smaller leaves. The end product is more powerful than regular powders or blends.

Tincture – lab processes are sometimes used to make a liquid extract by dissolving leaves in ethanol to form a “tincture”. Another process called “full spectrum” singles out a particular ingredient known as mitragynine, and leaves out other alkaloids to form a more mild product.

Understanding Strains

There are three basic strains of kratom when separated by color.  These are the red, green and white vein strains.  Each of these colored strains can come from multiple locations such as Thailand or Indonesia, which is why there are so many different combinations available for purchase.

Strains with red veins typically work the best for pain and sedation. Those with green veins have a slightly more stimulating effect than kratom with red veins, and the green lasts the longest. White-veined kratom strains are the best for lifting energy levels and elevating your mood. They are the best stimulant.

Not everyone experiences the exact same effect from each strain. Some people find green more stimulating than white, depending on their individual body chemistry. Give them all a go and find the one which works best for you.

When you encounter a yellow or gold kratom, you have not found a vein color but rather a drying technique which results in a stimulant which is halfway between white and green. Purple kratom is typically a blend made by a vendor, containing up to eight various strands of kratom.

These blends are custom made for specific effects including wake-up blends, those designed for focus, and others engineered to highlight the best qualities of each strain used. Bentuangie is a type of fermented kratom which can be made from any color strand but these blends are typically the strongest type which you can get.

Basic Kratom Terms

The naming systems for kratom vary from one region to another; however there are a few common defining terms that you may come across when purchasing different versions of this product. Remember the dosage you need will most likely be determined by the grade you purchase. Here are the main types of kratom strains:

  • Super strain: It comes from the larger kratom leaves which have a higher number of alkaloids. It’s also a bit pricier compared to other strains.
  • Premium strain: the products under this strain are made using a rather complex sifting process that is meant to weed out most of the stems and other debris that have no major alkaloid content. Premium products are therefore said to only contain potent leaf surfaces.
  • Extract: It is made by boiling kratom powder to form a thick resin, which is then crushed to form a highly concentrated extract.
  • Ultra: When kratom extract is blended with traditional kratom powder, it forms a strain commonly known as ‘enhanced’ or the ‘ultra-enhanced’ variety.

How to Use it

As a member of the coffee family, kratom is legal in most of the world and is relatively easy to get hold of.  There are many different ways to use kratom depending upon the type and desired outcome.  It is sold in a range of forms such as powder, capsules, tincture, resin and extracts — with the powder being the most popular type.

In its native region, kratom leaves are chewed fresh (after removing the stringy, central vein) or dried and ground to form a powder, which can then be taken with water or food. In powder form it’s much easier to swallow because you can mix it with other liquids such as fruit juice or chocolate milk – it’s also a good way to mask the natural taste.

Powdered kratom can also be used to form a paste that can then be swallowed with water. Dried leaves are sometimes used to make tea, and although it takes a while to get used to the taste, some people prefer this method.

In some instances, kratom has been smoked for its medicinal properties. The main challenge with this method is the fact that it takes a considerable amount of dried leaves to create a powerful dose, which means you’d have to smoke a whole bunch of leaves for the same effect.  This method is not recommended.

It is possible to prepare a resin-like substance by evaporating the water from kratom tea. The remaining extract can then be used to create small pellets that can then be swallowed with water or dissolved in hot water and consumed as tea. Alternatively, the extract can be stored and used sparingly by combining with black tea or other herbal teas.

You can take kratom in a range of ways, but most users refer to “tossing and washing” as the most popular means of administration. This simply refers to putting the kratom powder into your mouth and then washing it down with a beverage without inhaling any.

You can put the powder either on or under the tongue. You can also mix the powder with water first, drinking it down as you would a shot, and then following up with another drink. Never use carbonated water or soft-drinks as this destroys the ever-valuable alkaloids.  Lemon and other acidic juices such as orange and white grapefruit juice can be used as potentiators and help to extract the alkaloids, while masking the taste as an added benefit.

Your other option is capsules, although they can be far more expensive than obtaining raw kratom powder.  Capsules are perhaps the most well-known method of consuming kratom today with simplicity being the main appeal. You should know that the onset when taking a capsule is much longer and you may need to take many capsules to hit your dose.

Recreational use of kratom is popular amongst unscrupulous individuals, with the onset starting in just five to ten minutes and lasting for between two and five hours. For this reason, kratom has become a controlled substance in sixteen countries. It is used as everything from a medication to a dietary supplement, even being mixed into cocktails of other psychoactive drugs.  We do not condone this sort of irresponsible behavior on Kratom Ninja.

The Benefits

This herbal treatment holds a range of benefits as described by the users.  These are not health claims however.  Supposed benefits range from controlling the symptoms of withdrawal, to eradicating depression and social anxiety.  It is said to boost energy levels and heighten concentration, while strengthening the immune system and helping to relieve pain throughout the body.

While this plant may not have mainstream acceptance in the medical community, there are literally hundreds of years of recorded use of kratom and the benefits claimed are pretty amazing.  The medicinal effects are broad and diverse due to the uniqueness of kratom’s alkaloid profile. The main effects are:

  • Pain relief
  • Energy promotion
  • Insomnia relief
  • Immune system stimulation
  • Mood lifting
  • Depression relief
  • Opiate withdrawal relief
  • Opiate maintenance
  • Cognition enhancing
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Anti-malarial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-leukemic

Apart from this wide range of medicinal applications, kratom also has other positive effects such as high anti-oxidant properties and high vitamin content.

To find a dose that works for you, you need the following:

  • Start by selecting a specific strain that you believe fulfills your requirements; for instance a white strain may be more effective for nootropic assistance. On the other hand, red veins leaves are more effective at pain relief.
  • Search for kratom vendors that sell this particular strain in capsule form
  • Do your research online and find out if there are any other tips on usage for your particular strain of kratom

Ideally you want something that saves time and is efficient. This is why capsules are most popular. They come in standard dosage from the manufacturer and there are many different sizes of capsules, each with its own potency. When you have a specific reason for taking kratom, you will know which size of capsule works best for you.

The Side Effects

While usually minimal, side effects are possible with kratom use.  The most common adverse reactions people have are constipation and nausea.  Prolonged or irresponsible use of the herb increases these risks.  Also, it is never a good idea to use kratom while driving or while operating potentially dangerous equipment due to the sedating effects that it can have.  For further guidance on dealing with side effects of kratom be sure to check out this article.

Best Place to Buy it

Finding the right place from where to buy kratom is a very important part of your overall experience.  The two obvious choices are either from a local shop or an online retailer.  Take time to investigate whether the vendor sells quality products and take into account the methods they use to advertise their products.  To be properly informed, you read our article on the best kratom vendors.

Keep in mind that the way a substance is marketed can have a positive or negative effect on its continued legality.  While most states in the U.S. allow the use of Kratom, some sellers have raised concern about its effects based on their promotion of a “wonder drug” or attempts to sway patients to quit conventional medicine in favor of Kratom. Be wise when purchasing and using kratom and always consult a health expert before making major decisions about medication.