Where did Kratom come from?
Kratom refers to the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree, which is a deciduous evergreen native to Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia. The alkaloids and leaves have been used in traditional medicine amongst numerous Asian cultures, and in some cases for thousands of years. In Thailand, the traditional method of ingesting the leaves is by chewing them in their raw form. Certain communities, especially in the southern region of the country, have estimated daily usage rates of over 70% in the male population, with individuals who fall into this category consuming between 10-60 leaves per day (and sometimes upwards of even that).
How does Kratom Work?
While kratom leaves have over 40 chemicals present that contribute to their psychotropic effects on the human brain, the primary two that have been identified as mitraphylline and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These two chemicals are known as alkaloids. Actually the majority of active chemicals in kratom leaves are an alkaloid of one type or another. The specific combination of alkaloids present in maeng da is known as an “alkaloid profile,” and it is this profile that determines, among other things, the best kratom for pain management.
Alkaloids work so well in managing pain because they behave in the body as opioid receptor agonists. This means that they bind with the receptors in the body that opium would normally interact with, mimicking some of the effects of the much stronger drug. In addition to mimicking the effects for pain relief, kratom has also been used as a medicinal tool for helping individuals who have already developed a dependency on pharmaceutical opiates to break their addiction or even to deal with the often brutal withdrawal symptoms.
What are some benefits of Kratom?
Analgesic effects are just one side of the kratom coin, as the unique chemical makeup of the herb also allows it to act as a stimulant similar to caffeine at lower doses. Kratom can provide users with increased levels of physical and mental energy, mental alertness and focus, libido, and overall feelings of euphoria. These characteristics mean that it can be used effectively to combat the symptoms drowsiness or fatigue. Users often report that while similar to caffeine in its effects, kratom offers a smoother experience without the unpleasant crash at the end.