What Is Kratom

Kratom Leaves

Kratom Leaves

Mitragyna speciosa (ketum, kratom or kratum, Thai: กระท่อม) is a tropical deciduous and evergreen tree in the coffee family (Rubiaceae) with a long history of medicinal use in Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand or Malaysia.


In low dosages of a few grams of leaf, kratom functions primarily as a stimulant, with effects similar to caffeine without the marked jitteriness of drinking several cups of coffee. In higher dosages, kratom functions as a neurological opiate, triggering the mu opiate receptors in the brain, even though kratom is chemically different from the opium derived medications such as codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone.


Until 2002, the alkaloid mitragynine was believed to be the primary active ingredient in kratom. Out of all the alkaloids in kratom, there is more mitragynine than any other alkaloid. In the 1970’s, the predecessor of the pharmaceutical giant GSK did research into the medicinal potential of mitragyna speciosa. They did a scientific study comparing the effects of pure mitragynine to crude extract of kratom leaf and found that mitragynine by itself was not an effective analgesic medicine. They subsequently decided that there was no medical use for kratom.

kratom-leafs 2

In 2002, the true active alkaloid in kratom, 7-hydroxymitragynine, was discovered by a group of Japanese researchers. These researchers have filed a patent for all possible medical derivatives of mitragynine and over the next few decades will likely bring kratom derivatives to market as patented pharmaceutical drugs.


Also see Erowid’s kratom scientific literature overview.

10 thoughts on “What Is Kratom

  1. I suffer from severe anxiety, depression and chronic back pains due to two slipped discs. Pain meds and antidepressants and such, never worked or only worsen my state. I take the Red Strain of Keaton, have been for three years now. And I feel like a whole new me. I can work, function normally and there are no side effects. Best stuff ever. Give it a try. I drink it in coffee.

    1. To get the pain-killing effects, but not to be overly sedated, what do you suggest as a starting dosage? And then as a maintenance dosage?

  2. I’ve suffered with pain for the last 16yrs now! I’ve had many Mri’s, & at least a 100 different injections and doctors still don’t know for sure what it is. Now they want to stabilize my sacroiliac joint but insurance won’t cover it. I’m taking 8 Percocets a day plus 2 OxyContins a day. Now the laws are changing and making it harder too get pain medicine. None of these medications are helping me I’m just addicted to them. I have five grandkids now and the pain is effecting what I can and can’t do with them. Im so depressed that I don’t have the energy or ambition to clean my house anymore. My poor husband does it plus works 40+ hrs a week. What would you reccomend for me and the dose and where do you order it from? I’m at my breaking point here and can’t take much more of this pain!!

  3. Kratom works.i suffered chronic [email protected] for more than 15 yrs. Drs.only prescribed me pain @ anxiety meds.i bellieve too have worsend my condition.through. a friend i learned about Kratom. I feel better now than i have felt in 18 yrs.educate yourselves on kratom and change your life…….

  4. i have a lot of chronic pain and anxiety. i wold like to know how to use this herb and what strain or brand i should get to best meet my needs of pain reduction. i would also like to know how often i should use this herb. i am desperate to get help. pleas provide me with any info you may have on this subject thx so much sharone

    1. Try the red meng da fine powder.thats about the strongest one for pain and seditive effects.its about twice as expensive as the other strains but it really works man.ill never agsin go back on pain killers…this stuff works and everytime i stop for a week or so,i feel no withdrawls at all….i have my life back and this stuff really helps.im at the gym everyday and now at 40 yrs old w multiple herniated disks,all my lifts are bigger than when i was in my 20’s.give it a shot.

    2. It lasts for awhile….try one to two teaspoons of the red meng da fine powder to start,sharone….u just dump it in ur mouth,take a drink of water or ice tea makes the taste go away,swish it around and swsllow…very simple…good luck to ya.

  5. In need for pain–anxiety –energy not sure what kind to order or how to order

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