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Mitragyna Speciosa: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning

You’ve probably never heard of mitragyna speciosa, but you have almost certainly heard of Kratom, the herbal substance which is made from its leaves.  Kratom is used by millions of people around the world to relieve chronic pain, to calm, to stimulate, and to achieve a pleasant high.

It goes by a number of names, including biak-biak, katawn, madat, krathom, kedemba, thang, gratom and many more.  Most commonly known as Kratom, it is one of the most commonly used pain-relieving and recreational substances in the world.

The History Of Kratom Use

For centuries, people in South East Asia, where mitragyna speciosa grows wild, have chewed its leaves, made herbal teas from them, and have dried and powdered them.  Kratom helped people get through their hard working days, eased their aches and pains, made them feel alert and engaged, and gave them pleasant relaxation at the end of the day.

It was also used as a local anesthetic, for coughs, diarrhea, to reduce fever, it was chewed and packed into wounds to heal them, and in fact, it was almost like the local village pharmacy. Before modern medicine was easily available, and to this day, Kratom was a reliable source of help to rich and poor people alike.  In Thailand, Kratom was used as a small treat to greet visitors.

The Botany Of Mitragyna Speciosa

The mitragyna speciosa or Kratom plant is an evergreen tree and a member of the coffee family. The alkaloids in this plant are what give it its opioid-like effects, although it is not in itself an opioid.   It’s a very large tree, which grows up to eighty feet tall or more.  The leaves are oval in shape, a glossy green and can grow up to about eight inches long and five inches wide.    The tree does flower of course, but the flowers are not used medicinally.  It’s the leaves that are made into Kratom.

The tree became known to science in the early 19th century, and it had a few changes of name until it was finally identified as mitragyna speciosa.  It grows naturally in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea.

The Science Of Kratom

The main “active ingredients” in Kratom are two alkaloids, mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine.  (There are around twenty-three other active alkaloids in Kratom which are considered less important, but which probably contribute to the varying effects which different strains of Kratom offer.) When suppliers check the quality of the product which they are selling in the laboratory, it is these two substances that they are mainly looking at. 

Fresh Kratom should have a high content of both of these, but the alkaloid content of Kratom declines with age.  It also decreases if the Kratom is stored in conditions which are too hot or too bright – which is why it is not a great idea to buy Kratom from your local store or gas station – the people there simply don’t know how to look after the Kratom correctly.

How Is Kratom Produced?

Unfortunately, a lot of Kratom still comes from wild mitragyna speciosa which are cut down in the forest.  The leaves are stripped off and the timber is used for furniture and other purposes.  Although the whole plant is used, and so there is no waste, this is not really sustainable.  Also, those suppliers who are offering this kind of wild Kratom really have little control over the product they are offering.

The best suppliers are growing their own Kratom and planting thousands of new trees, and have been doing this for many years. They are also developing and experimenting with new strains of Kratom which show exciting promise for the future.  Kratom produced by these suppliers is of excellent quality and purity.  Years of experience and investment have meant that they can be sure of the actual strength and alkaloid content of their Kratom. 

Is It Possible To Grow Your Own Kratom?

Bearing in mind that this is a tropical tree which grows in rain forests, so most parts of the world will not be hospitable to growing Kratom.  However, if you can get hold of some fresh seeds, there is no harm in trying.  It might be fun to grow in a greenhouse.  Seeds are available fairly easily online, but you do need to ensure that the seed is as fresh as possible.  If you can find a fresh seed supply, your chances of success will really soar. 

Kratom seeds are very small and delicate.  They have about a 10% success rate even when they are fresh, so plant a lot more seeds than you think you need.   As the seeds are so very tiny, you need to cover them with just a minute layer of earth.  Use a good nitrogen-rich potting compost and make sure the temperature stays at around 75 degrees F. They can’t tolerate any kind of cold or frost.  Make sure they have lots of sunlight, but they also need a time of shade during the day.  A breeze growing across the growing plants seems to help them do better.

When the seedlings are small, make sure that you keep the soil just damp – don’t give them too much water.  Once your sapling trees start to grow, they will like it if you give them lots and lots of water.  On the other hand, the soil should be well-drained – these trees don’t like wet feet.  They also like a humid atmosphere – about 75% humidity is what they get at home – so you need to pay attention to this also.

The trees will probably never get really big, as you will very likely be growing them in a pot, but they are an interesting plant to have around, and you can even get a few fresh leaves to chew.

If you can get Kratom cuttings, these will be more successful.  Any reasonably sized stem will very likely grow.  You can use a hormone root powder to stimulate growth, although they will grow quite readily without this.  So if you know someone with Kratom plants, better get very friendly with them right now!

You can find Kratom plants for sale online, but at the time of writing, there is not enough information to recommend any particular source as being reliable.

The difficulties of growing Kratom are such that most people are not going to be able to be successful at it.  It really is not a substitute for obtaining high quality, laboratory tested Kratom from a reputable supplier.  That way, you know exactly what you are getting, and you will also have a wide choice of varieties that you can select from, to suit your needs exactly.

It’s really not at all easy to grow mitragyna speciosa, but it’s a fun challenge for those who enjoy greenhouse gardening in particular.  In the right conditions, your tree can grow 20ft in two years!  But those right conditions are extremely hard to copy, outside of South East Asia, where the tree comes from.

What Can Kratom Do For Me?

All of us have problems to deal with.  It might be chronic pain, for example, from arthritis or back injury.  We might be addicted to opioids, alcohol, or drugs.  We might suffer from simple shyness or extreme stress.  There might be times when we need a lift to get us through a difficult day, or when we need to be calmed for a good night’s sleep.

Amazing as it might seem, Kratom can help with all of these very different problems.  Different strains of Kratom have stimulant, energizing effects, or calming, soothing effects.  Depending on the dose you take, the very same Kratom can energize, calm, or even create feelings of happiness and euphoria in a Kratom high.

Although the subject seems complex at first, there is a lot of very good information available to you right here as well as elsewhere online.  You can learn what the different types of Kratom can help you with, the correct dosage for you, the different ways that you can take Kratom, as well as sensible precautions to ensure that your Kratom use is safe and beneficial to your health and wellbeing.

Doctors and researchers are increasingly interested in the benefits of Kratom, and in particular, in its pain-relieving properties, as well as its use in getting people off opiates.  Kratom is not an opiate, but it acts in similar ways to opiates.  With care, it can be very helpful in weaning people off of dangerous, life-threatening addictions. 

Millions of people throughout the world are discovering that Kratom helps them in their daily life.  Young and old, professional and blue-collar, men and women – people who are by no means drug users in the old fashioned sense of the word.  They are people who are looking for non-medical answers to life issues like pain, stress, and anxiety.

Used sensibly, Kratom is offering solutions to issues that people have struggled with for years.  In most of the United States, Kratom is legal to buy and use.  A plant that grows in the rain forests of faraway South East Asia is becoming a mainstream answer to health and wellbeing issues around the globe.

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