The past few years have witnessed a significant surge in the demand for kratom. Every other alternative medicine article you come across recommends the herb for its powerful therapeutic benefits.
But if you’re encountering this term for the first time, you’re probably wondering what kratom is and whether it truly lives up to the hype. Below is a definitive guide to kratom and why the herb has been making waves lately.
Kratom is the common name for Mitragyna speciosa, a tropical evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia, widely consumed for its potential health benefits.
Kratom has been hitting the headlines in the global pharmaceutical industry for only a few years. But in countries where the tree grows indigenously, locals have used its extracts to remedy numerous ailments for decades.
As you shall find, there’s a long list of medical conditions you can treat, manage, or even prevent using kratom powder and other supplements.
Why Is Kratom So Popular?
1. It Contains Immense Healing Benefits
Kratom’s powerful therapeutic properties are the primary reason behind its popularity. Various studies have shown that the herb can treat several medical issues. Common ones include;
Kratom relieves pain by desensitizing the opioid receptors in the brain. Opioid receptors are pain-signaling receptors in the central nervous system (CNS).
By desensitizing these receptors, kratom reduces the brain’s ability to interpret pain signals. What would have presented as excruciating soreness becomes more bearable.
Studies conducted on both animal specimens and segments of the human population have shown that Mitragyna speciosa possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
As with many herbs, kratom soothes inflammation by inhibiting the production of key inflammatory messengers, including chemokines and cytokines.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can take a heavy toll on mental health if they go untreated long enough. Fortunately, many who’ve turned to kratom for help report positive improvements. According to this study, kratom may improve the symptoms of anxiety and depression by stimulating the signaling of ‘feel-good’ chemical neurotransmitters.
Kratom’s anxiolytic effects make it an excellent choice for managing sleep disorders like insomnia. Its ability to enhance the signaling of ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters also makes it a potential remedy for nausea and inappetence.
Kratom comes from the same botanical family as coffee. Its effects are similar to those of caffeine.
Kratom can relieve physical fatigue, making it ideal for consuming right before hitting the gym. You can also administer the herb to boost concentration before undertaking mentally-taxing assignments.
2. It Comes In Multiple Strains
Like most trees, kratom is available in multiple strains. Whichever strain you choose depends on the desired effects.
For instance, white-vein kratom is generally energizing. This strain is perfect for treating fatigue, poor mental concentration, and nausea.
Red-vein kratom, on the other hand, is highly sedating. The strain is best suited for soothing pain and inflammation. It’s also the right strain to consume for anxiety and sleep disorders.
Lastly, we have green-vein kratom that contains half the effects of red-vein and white-vein kratom. Many new kratom users prefer this strain for its more manageable effects.
3. There Are Multiple Ways to Consume It
Kratom is available in a variety of formulations. Popular ones include;
- Kratom powder
- Pills and capsules
- Kratom-infused edibles, such as gummies and chews
- Kratom-enriched topicals, such as salves and ointments
- Kratom-based e-juices
- Kratom pre-rolls
- Aromatherapy products
Whichever product you choose depends on how you intend to administer it and, ultimately, the desired effects.
For instance, some users prefer kratom edibles for their long-lasting benefits, while others prefer inhalable products for faster onset time.
4. It Presents Lower Side Effects
Another reason behind kratom’s surging popularity is its lower propensity for side effects. Users love that they can administer the herb without worrying about severe negative reactions.
But like most herbs, kratom tends to trigger side effects primarily on the doses consumed.
Various credible resources cite 5 grams of kratom administered thrice daily as the standard dosage. However, the conventional wisdom is to start low and build momentum slowly.
Kratom overdose may still trigger unintended effects, such as nausea and vomiting.
5. Many Countries Are Legalizing It
Kratom is either highly regulated or outright illegal in many countries worldwide. However, we’ve witnessed a legalization pattern in the past few years.
Thailand is one of the countries that recently legalized kratom in all its forms, following the passage and eventual enactment of Thailand’s Kratom Plant Act in August 2022. This was a milestone achievement, considering Thailand is home to most kratom strains, including Maeng Da.
Various jurisdictions in the United States have also relaxed their once-punitive kratom regulations. A noteworthy mention is the State of Colorado, which legalized the herb in June 2022 after enacting the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA).
The World Health Organization (WHO) hasn’t been left behind in the race to mainstream access to kratom. In December 2021, the international health body voted to lift an international kratom ban, citing insufficient evidence of the herb’s toxicity.
Kratom’s many health benefits, high versatility, and a general tendency for global legalization are the primary reasons behind its popularity. The herb also presents lower risks of side effects.
But if you’re new to kratom, remember that moderation is key. Start with lower doses and monitor the herb’s effects over a few days before possibly upping your dosage.