Kratom is a Thai word that is used in depicting a tree species which scientifically known as Mitragyna speciosa. This is a huge tree one that belongs in the Rubiaceae family and largely grows in the Southeast Native Asia.
The tree leaves grow in two ways, where they either contain dark red or light veins. The color of the leaves can at times be dark green in color or just light green depending in the variety (Maeng Da, Thai Red, Malay, Ultra Enhanced Indo and a long etc). The shape of the leaves is an elongated one that features a vein (straight) from bottom to tip. The leaves also feature symmetrical veins that shoot off from the main vein.
The tree does well in tropical climate and it predominantly grows in either wet or marshy areas in Southeast Asia in countries such as; New Guinea, Thailand, Borneo and Malaysia. This tree (Kratom) produces flower pods that are round and yellowish which carry up to 50 seeds.
A Dutch botanist by the name Pieter Korthals was the first person to mention Kratom back in the early 19th century. He went ahead to state that its flowers reminded him of a Bishop’s mitre. Hence the reason why he named the tree Mitragyna.
During the times of the Dutch botanist, Kratom was one historical remedy that was extensively used in Thailand. The tree provided a source of cure to all varieties of physical and mental ailments. However, the ancient history of Kratom remains largely unknown and sources depicting that the tree was used as for its medical purposes before the European Colonization are not well defined.
Nevertheless, it remains as a fact that this tree was extensively used by indigenous populations of the Southeast region for well over a thousand years. In a normal setting back then, Kratom was used by farmers who ground the leaves and used them as an energy booster as they tilled their lands.
On a sad note, 1943 was the year when the then Thai government enacted the “Kratom Act 2486” that went ahead to ban the use of the Kratom tree. But since the tree was indigenous to Thailand, its banning was not going to be effective as the Kratom is still extensively used in Thailand.
As much as the effects of Kratom ingestion can be compared to that of Coffee in mildness, a number of countries (Thailand Included) classify Kratom in the same category with Heroin and Cocaine. Thailand runs a law where if one is founded with just an ounce of Kratom can face the death penalty.
As much as the death penalty cases are quite rare, people who are caught selling Kratom end up serving a significant number of years behind bars. Kratom is grown in a number of countries in Southeast Asia as well as a host of other tropical countries by people that carry the hope of propagating this wonderful tree.
As it is today, a lot of people openly indulge in the growing and possession of Kratom without fearing that they will be punished. As much as Kratom is prohibited and outlawed, is qualities and quality control are severely damaged.
Today, anyone can purchase Kratom in powder leaf form for medicinal purposes without having to fear that their purchase will be compromised with any other substance. But if more countries were to ban the use of Kratom, then the black market would cease.
A ban of Kratom would mean buyers would start fearing that their purchase wouldn’t be the original Kratom and would stop purchasing it for fear of buying something more poisonous. Regulation is a necessary, but prohibition would only lead to harming innocent users across the planet.
Traditionally, the Kratom leaf is chewed dried up and finally powdered turning it into fine powder which is then mixed with foods and at times it gets boiled with tea. The Kratom leaf carries the medicinal properties.
The leaf contains a host of active alkaloids, the main one known as Mitragynine which is derived from the name of the Kratom tree. Mitragynine being a mu-opioid receptor agonist makes it possible for it to produce response when binding to the mu-opioid receptor.
Kratom leaf has another big alkaloid known as the 7-Hydroxymitragynine that is also a mu-opioid agonist.