As the result of the increasing exploration, popularity, and success of alternative and herbal medicine, you may have already heard of the kratom. It might just be the alternative to coffee or your regular fizzy energy drink or even painkillers that you’ve been looking for.
What is Kratom?
Kratom (mitragyna speciosa) is an evergreen tree in the coffee family that grows naturally in Southeast Asia and contains mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine, indole-based alkaloid compounds. It has been used by the natives, similar to how coffee is used in the west.
Traditionally, fresh or dried Kratom leaves are either brewed into tea, chewed, and even more recently, smoked or made into a pill that can be swallowed. Kratom comes in different strains, and it is also referred to as Biak, Ketum, Kakuam, Ithang, and Thom.
Even though there is a lot of research going on to help scientists truly understand the various benefits and possible effects of kratom, it is widely perceived and embraced worldwide for several reasons.
Why Would You Want to Try Kratom?
- It is widely believed that the mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine contained in the Kratom leaves can attach to the brain’s receptors. This places kratom as one of the likely alternatives to painkillers.
- The kratom dosage makes a difference in the impact of kratom. Always begin with a lower dosage and increase for different effects. Kratom is federally legal throughout the United States; however, it is illegal to grow, possess, or consume kratom in some states. Thailand legalized kratom as an herbal supplement that can safely work as a mood stimulant amongst many other things in 2021; the same year cannabis was legalized in the country. This decision was made to provide ease of access to people or patients who need kratom.
- Kratom is widely used as a treatment method for opioid addiction. The increased use and misuse of opioids in the United States have created a need for better treatment solutions for opioid addiction and withdrawal. As a result, people are quickly turning to kratom. The first indicated use of kratom to treat OUD dates as far back as 1836. A new study by researchers at the University of Florida suggests kratom could be an excellent treatment option for opioid dependence after a controlled study was done and kratom was discovered to deliver significant pain-relieving benefits and reduced opioid withdrawal symptoms.
- Kratom has been recognized as an herbal supplement that may optimize metabolism and increase circulation in the body, thereby boosting energy levels. It is said that the Maeng Da, which is the most popular strain of kratom and originated in Thailand, is capable of giving you the “pick-me-up” you need for a long day’s work and even for increased concentration without the burden of caffeine hangovers.
- Kratom, especially the Red Maeng Da strain, contains high levels of 7-hydroxymitragynine, which is widely known for its anti-anxiety and sedating effects. Kratom is popularly used by people worldwide as an excellent anti-depressant and anti-anxiety supplement because it balances neurotransmitters in the brain and increases serotonin production, the “happy hormone.” Improved levels of serotonin may help fight against anxiety and depression.
- Another popularly known use of kratom is for lowering blood pressure. One of the many compounds found in kratom is called Corynoxine. This alkaloid decreases blood pressure by acting as a calcium channel blocker. Some studies have found that Corynoxine can reduce hypertension when combined with other treatments.
- Kratom has been recently recorded as a possible remedy for high blood sugar levels. In addition, several patients with diabetes claim that they have experienced remarkable benefits from taking kratom as their natural dietary supplement. Scientists have found that the mitragynine and other alkaloids found in kratom mimic the action of insulin and improve the body’s insulin sensitivity. This can help reduce the body’s resistance to insulin and lower blood sugar levels.
- People have also begun using kratom as a weight loss supplement. Kratom strains have appetite-stimulating properties that can help in shedding off excess fat. In addition, these herbs work as appetite depressants, making users less hungry and eating less. In clearer terms, you are more likely to lose weight when you eat less. People use this calorie deficit method that kratom provides to keep their weight in check.
- As mentioned earlier, the main active ingredients in kratom are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine alkaloids, which are known to have anti-inflammatory or muscular relaxant effects. For this reason, Kratom tea is often used to ease symptoms of fibromyalgia.
- A recent study from the University of Putra Malaysia has shown that kratom can reduce fever and may even be better than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). So if you would rather use a natural alternative treatment for fever, kratom might be your best bet.
With all these listed uses and benefits, it is still generally advised, as with other medicines, to do thorough research on Kratom products before you start to use them. There are also studies available on the different strains of kratom and how to efficiently use them for their various benefits.