What Is Kratom

Kratom is the common name for a plant that carries the scientific name: Mitragyna speciosa Korthals. It is a tree indigenous to Southeast Asia (Thailand, the northern Malay Peninsula to Borneo); it is mostly grown in the central and southern regions of Thailand, and only rarely in the northern part.

The traditional use of this plant dates back many centuries and, of course, has its origins in Thailand. In recent times, kratom has become popular for recreational purposes, because of the pleasant effects the leaves of this plant can have. 


Kratom and more specifically mitragynine are known for their positive effects on one's mood. It stimulates the body and thus increases activity. Traditionally, kratom was mostly used as a stimulant by Thai peasants, labourers, and farmers who used the plant to overcome the burdens of their hard work and meagre existences. They did this mostly on a daily basis. When it was first used has not been determined, since it goes too far back. 


The Mitragyna genus, part of the family Rubiaceae, is found in tropical and sub-tropical regions of Asia and Africa. Asian Mitragynas are often found in rainforests, while the African species (which are sometimes still classed in a separate genus, Hallea) are often found in swamps. Most species are arborescent, some reaching heights of almost 100 feet (30 meters). The genus was given its name by Korthals because the stigmas in the first species he examined resembled the shape of a bishop's mitre. This genus is characterized by a globular flowering head, bearing up to 120 florets each.

Mitragyna speciosa itself can reach heights of 50 feet (15 meters) with a spread of over 15 feet (4,5 meters). The stem is erect and branching; flowers are yellow; leaves are evergreen and are a dark glossy green in colour, ovate-acuminate in shape, and opposite in growth pattern. Kratom is evergreen rather than deciduous and leaves are constantly being shed and replaced, but there is some quasi-seasonal leaf shedding due to environmental conditions. During the dry season of the year leaf, fall is more abundant; new growth is more plentiful during the rainy season


More than 25 alkaloids have been isolated in Mitragyna speciosa. The three most abundant indoles are mitragynine (9-methoxy-corynanthidine) which is responsible for 1/2 of the alkaloid content, paynanthine, and speciogynine. The first two of these are believed to be unique to M. speciosa. The two most abundant oxindoles are mitraphylline and speciofoline. Other alkaloids present include ajmalicine, corynanthidine, mitraversine, rhychophylline, and stipulatine. Mitragynine is believed by many to be but has not been proven to be, the primary active alkaloid in M. speciosa.


Most users describe the effects as stimulating and euphoric, for some it also has a relaxing and analgesic effect. People report feeling euphoric, but still energetic enough to function normally. Most sources say that it is a stimulant in lower doses, becoming sedative in higher doses.