Kratom History

What is Kratom?

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.

Researching The Power of Mitragynine

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.

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.


The Beginner's Guide To Kratom

In the United States and Europe, kratom has started to grow to be a powerhouse. As a result, the global science community has begun to study kratom closely.

Our beginner’s guide will report on those findings and provide both the kratom tea and kratom strain newbie with a balanced, comprehensive guide to kratom throughout the world. Additionally, this kratom guide will answer popular questions about the safety of kratom, its benefit, and effects.


Who Should I Buy From?

The most important consideration when purchasing kratom is to ensure that the product has been tested for chemicals and dangerous metals. You should never take kratom that has been altered in any shape or form. Make sure those who you are buying from are reputable with a good track record.


Picking the Right Strain

With so many different kratom strains, its important to understand which strain is right for you. Unlike synthetic opioids, kratom’s chemical composition is complex, and the effects of this composition are dynamic.

Research and testimonials agree that at low doses (< 1 gram), kratom “can boost energy and enhance mood,” whereas at higher doses kratom is sedating, and may have anxiolytic qualities.

The following page will guide you as a comparative base for some of the most popular strains of kratom on the market. 


Measuring Your Dose

Perhaps the most general rule of thumb in the kratom world is that, “Less is More.” That is, you do not need to take much kratom in order to receive your desired effects, especially when starting off. You can look at our dosage conversion chart by clicking the button below.

A good starting point for beginners is around 1-2 grams of powdered leaf. 2 grams is equivalent to about the amount of a teaspoon. At this amount, you can see how you react to the kratom. For some, you may find this to be too little. If that’s the case go up in .5 – 1.0 gram increments to find your desired amount. Others may find that they may need to take a little bit less. Both are okay! No two people are the same so you will have to find what works best for you. 

Taking too much kratom at first may be overstimulating or bring on nausea, so always be mindful. Factors such as body weight, genetics, food intake and age may impact someone’s recommended dosage as well.


Methods of Preparation

This is where kratom allows you to be creative. There are literally hundreds of different ways to take kratom, so make it enjoyable! Know beforehand that some do not care for kratom’s taste, so it would be a good idea to find something to easily mask it. Popular methods include:



Dose Length

When taking kratom, you should pay close attention to when you are receiving your doses. Kratom’s effects are long-lasting in nature, and can last anywhere from 2-8 hours depending on the amount taken. The average length is between 3-5 hours (if you take between 3-5 grams of powdered leaf).

You do not want to stack doses in risk of consuming too much at once and/or developing a high tolerance early on. If you want to take a second dosage for the day, do so whenever you know the kratom is out of your system. Note that consuming multiple times a day over prolonged periods of time will eventually lose your current dose’s effectiveness. Use on a per need basis.

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Should I Take With Food & Water?

How fast you feel the effects of the kratom are dependent on factors such as weight, metabolism and whether or not there is food in your system. We recommend taking kratom with some food in your system. On an empty stomach, you will feel the effects much quicker (10-15 minutes), but you risk your stomach getting upset. On a full stomach, kratom’s effects can take up to an hour to be felt, and may not be as effective since it will be digested along with the rest of your food. You will be much more satisfied if you take your kratom with a light meal or snack.

Secondly, always make sure that you are staying hydrated when taking kratom. Common side effects of kratom are dry mouth and dehydration. Drinking plenty of water will take care of this.

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The timing at which you should take your kratom relies on the individual and certain situations. For instance, if you are taking a Green or White Vein strain, you should avoid taking it close to bed. This will keep you up and make it hard to fall asleep. Instead, use them to kickstart your day. On the other hand, Red strains can be very relaxing and effective sleep aids for those who are restless. Reviewing your purchased strain properties below can help you better understand when you should be taking your batch of kratom. 

Again, make sure that you are properly spacing out your dosages if you are taking kratom more than once a day. It may be helpful to make a chart for yourself, recording the time you took the kratom at, how long it lasted, and what kind of effects each strain brought on. 




The most important thing to monitor when taking kratom is one’s tolerance. Obviously, you are bound to build some sort of tolerance over time, and this small increase is perfectly normal. What you want to avoid however, is taking high, frequent doses of kratom over prolonged periods of time. Like it’s family mate coffee, you can gain a dependence on kratom’s alkaloids. Or in other words, it’s “caffeine.” Having a cup or two of coffee to start your morning is fine, but continually drinking numerous cups throughout the rest of the day, everyday is where you start to see cravings arise. The same goes with kratom. 

You can do a few things to counteract this. For starters, remember that, “Less is more.” Start your doses small and increase in small intervals if need be. Secondly, give ample time between doses if you’re taking within the same day (a log will help with this). Third, try different strains. Each strain contains a different combination of alkaloidal properties that will affect you differently. Instead of increasing your dosage, simply try something new at your previous amount. You can cycle strains daily or weekly. Both are extremely effective. Lastly, it is okay to take a break. Using kratom on a per need basis will not only help your tolerance stay low but also save you some money! If you’re taking kratom every day for stress/anxiety, try switching to the likes of CBD or herbal teas for a short amount of time to bring your tolerance back down.

Besides gaining a high tolerance, too much kratom can lead to addiction, withdrawal symptoms and adverse side effects. Addiction and withdrawal can occur whenever one takes over 10-15 grams per dose more than 2-3 times a day over prolonged periods of time according to recent scientific research. Be mindful and have control. Kratom is an amazing plant that needs to be taken responsibly.

You can learn more about kratom tolerance, tapering, side effects and addiction below


Keep Exploring

The kratom community is one of the most welcoming and outspoken groups you will find out there. Here is our go to picks for staying active in the community.

The kratom community is one of the most welcoming and outspoken groups you will find out there. Here is our go to picks for staying active in the community.

The Kratom Science Podcast

The Kratom Science Podcast is your source for all things kratom. Each week Brian Gallagher, writer for, talks to kratom consumers, advocates, and experts. We talk about the latest kratom research, news, legislation, and the fight to #KeepKratomLegal. #FollowTheScience and listen to the Kratom Science Podcast. Available on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Youtube.


On the forum you can find an abundance of kratom information, news, recipes, and personal stories waiting to be explored. 

Social Media

Lastly, stay connected with us at Kratom Science! We are active on Twitter and Facebook, and even have a Kratom Science EU site and Twitter account as well.

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31 thoughts on “What Is Kratom”

  1. 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. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. Hi Diana, this is a very good question. Kratom is ineffective to people taking pain medicine. You wont likely feel the Kratom if taken with pain meds but you could cause yourself complications including overdose. The best way to look at Kratom is as a healthy approach to pain. You have to stop ALL pain meds 1st and any illicit drug use as well to take Kratom. Then and only then can Kratom successfully treat your pain, low energy, or depression without complications. It is it’s own answer to everything so dont combine it with other drugs. Once you experience Kratom ALONE, you will never go back to prescription pain meds. 🙂

      1. Oh and dont forget that Red Kratom treats pain most effectively. It goes like this:
        White Kratom- High Energy , slight analgesic , up to 2 hrs effectiveness
        Green Kratom- Longer smoother energy source, slight analgesic, up to 5 hrs effectiveness
        Yellow Kratom- Pain relief without the drowsiness that some reds cause. More of a daytime pain relief, lasts up to 5 hrs
        Red Kratom- The King of pain relief. Can cause sleepiness in new users, up to 5 hrs effectiveness

  2. Hello Editor,

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    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

    I am certain your audience would love reading about it.

    Would you like to have a look at it please?
    In the case, you’re not satisfied with the topics mentioned above, I can write on any other topic of your choice.

    David Martin

  3. Great website with really good information about Kratom. I like how you have a range of different articles on here from user experiences to the basic science. Keep up the great work. Thank you!

  4. I was on hydrocodone for seven years when the opiate scare started and my doctor cut me off so I tried kratom it is great for me there was no withdraw symptoms at all. works great for me I use two rounded teaspoons every five or six hours and I feel better than those opiate drugs they were handing me somebody needs to spread the word this stuff is great I worry about long term effects since there don’t seem to be many studies of it. but so far it works for me and that’s all that matters to me.

  5. Kratom has saved my life. I am in chronic pain from a back injury my doctor just gave me pain meds. I became addicted, I quit taking those meds and broke the addiction that had set in. I lived for 5 years in some of the worst pain ever. I was told about Kratom and figured what did I have to loose. After 2 days of the toss and wash method I moved to the gel tablets bought a machine to fill and make my own. I found out the the strain that works for my body is a mix of a green and red strain. They were Plantation Green Mang Da and Red Mang Da. I have my life back. I take 4 capsules of the mix in the morning and then 2 at lunch. I have my energy back and can now say my pain which was around a 7 or 8 on a good day is now a 1 or 2. Kratom has given me life and happiness again.

  6. 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?

      1. really depends on type of kratom , but usually start out with 2 to 3 grams and wait and see the effects on you,wait 1/2 he. to 45 minutes if no results try 1 gram more until you find what best works for you.
        kratom is a wonderful plant that got me off pain meds with no withdrawals,off meds over a year,God bless kratom.

  7. 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!!

  8. Kratom works.i suffered chronic pain@anxiety 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…….

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  10. 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 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.

      1. I’m interested in using kratom, but cannot afford the sedating effects. I lead a very busy life and this is what has stopped me from successfully ridding myself of other drugs (2 yrs on suboxone , currently 2 – 4 g daily). I want to be rid of this once and for all and have read about the various strains of kratom. The information is overwhelming. You mentioned working out at the gym. What strain do you take and how much per day to start? What do you consider a good *maintenance* dosage?

    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.

    3. Red Bali strain. It has the highest concentrations of the alkaloids in kratom, highest pain killing properties, and anti anxiety properties. Start out @ 4-6 grams then increase 1 gram as needed .

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