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.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Jacqueline hertzog

    I love using Kratom , but honestly , 1/3 rd of a teaspoon is plenty for me . Every few hours . I tried at first with 1 teaspoon and was totally miserably high and it took many month for me to try again . So be careful with your dosage and start slow …I am a 120 lbs woman and definitely a bit of a lightweight .

  2. Diana

    Hi my name is Diana I am on pain meds and I want to get off of them do I quit taking the pain meds to take the kratom can you please tell me what I need to do thanks

    1. Ann Shepherd

      I’d like to know the same thing but I see no reply to your question.

      1. Kevin

        You can just try it, it helped much people to get off of pain meds. You have to find your dosage, a red strain would be the best for that, I think. Borneo Red Vein is a good alrounder.

    2. Allison Browning

      Yes ma’am!! You should stop taking your pain medication up to 4-6 hours before you start kratom. If not, the are known to cancel each other out.

  3. Davia Martin

    Hello Editor,

    I hope you’re doing great!
    I’ve got few guest post topics that you may like to publish on your website, here:

    1. Kratom Leaves: Benefits vs. Risks
    2. Drug Facts: 3 Dangers of Kratom You Must Know About
    3. Kratom: Drug Facts, Addiction Claims, And Call For The Ban
    4. 6 Medicinal Herbs You Can Use To Benefit Your Health

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    David Martin

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