Kratom: What It Is and How It Works

If you follow health news or visit vitamin shops, you may be familiar with kratom. Kratom refers to Mitragyna speciosa, a Southeast Asian tree. The items are derived from kratom leaves and sold as herbal supplements. Its leaves contain several chemical substances (known as bioactive alkaloids) that have the potential to impact the body. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are the most well-studied compounds.  

Kratom veins are classified into three types: 

  • Red vein kratom: A kratom leaf needs fully mature before it may develop red veins. Each vein has a distinct alkaloid profile, contributing to various specific effects. Red Sumatra Kratom has the most balanced alkaloid profile, which provides it with the highest efficacy. 
  • Green vein kratom: If a product is classified as derived from green vein kratom, it suggests it was picked from medium-mature leaves. Green veins had attained a specific maturity at the time of leaf harvesting (the point at which all the positive qualities are at their highest).  s effects should be mild but long-lasting. 
  • White vein kratom: White veined leaves are harvested at an early stage of development.  Kratom strains from the white-veined leaf family are well-known for their calming effects. White veined strains are unusual and difficult to find, making them more expensive than others.

Educating oneself on what to expect from each strain and product is critical. It all relies on your preferences, the outcomes you wish to attain, and your tolerance level. Kratom is commonly consumed by making tea from the leaves, swallowing raw plant matter in pill or powder form, adding kratom powder into food or drinks, or taking liquid kratom extract. It could be used to treat withdrawal symptoms from heroin, morphine, and other opioid narcotics, as well as cough, depression, anxiety, and other conditions.  

According to anthropologists, kratom has been used for several centuries in Southeast Asia as a multi-purpose cure in traditional medicine to boost alertness and energy while working and during social events. hile estimates of kratom use in the United States vary, the growth of kratom suppliers and increasing case reports indicate that kratom use has been more frequent in the last two decades.  

How It Works 

Kratom leaves contain various chemical compounds (known as bioactive alkaloids) that affect the body.  


Mitragynine is present in kratom leaves and, when digested, breaks down into 7-hydroxymitragynine in the body. It is the leaf’s most common alkaloid and was initially isolated in 1921. It is the primary active ingredient in kratom and is responsible for the drug’s effects on the body. Additionally, it stimulates opioid-like activity in the brain and, like opioids, can reduce pain sensation.  


7-Hydroxymitragynine Is an Active Mitragynine Metabolite and a Significant Modulator of Its Analgesic Effects. It is an opioid agonist that differs structurally from previous opioid agonists and exhibits intense analgesic action when taken orally. The brain reward thresholds are raised by a high dose of 7-hydroxymitragynine (3.2 mg/kg). 

According to some research, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine may not produce harmful side effects associated with opioid use, such as respiratory depression (difficulty breathing) that can occur during a life-threatening opioid overdose.  t is advisable to speak with your health care professional or doctor before you consume it or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what dose of kratom is right for you.  ever delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice in case of adverse effects. 

Researchers are still studying how kratom and kratom chemicals affect the body and how short and long-term kratom use may affect human health. While the evidence is rapidly shifting, early studies have revealed important information about how medicine works.  

  • Effects may vary: Like all drugs, the results of kratom vary, depending on the amount consumed, potency (concentration and strength), application, method of consumption, other drugs in a user’s system, underlying medical issues, and experience with the substance, among other factors. 
  • Kratom contains narcotic and stimulant-like properties: People who consume kratom experience stimulant-like effects (increased energy, alertness, and high heart rate) as well as opioid and sedative-like effects (relaxation, pain relief, and confusion). Many users claim that lower doses provide stimulant-like effects, whereas higher amounts cause opioid or sedative-like effects. The research has yet to show that these effects depend on the amount or method of kratom consumed. 
  • Drug combinations may influence effects: The liver modifies and breaks down several drugs. Kratom may alter the rate at which the liver breaks down these drugs. The results and side effects of certain medications may change as a result. 
  • The study of kratom’s potential medicinal properties is ongoing: Despite its use in traditional medicine, researchers have not confirmed kratom to be safe or effective for any medical purpose. Many users claim to use it to relieve pain, anxiety, sadness, tiredness, and drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms (primarily related to opioid use). 


Kratom is widely used as a relatively safe herbal supplement in West and Southeast Asia for self-treatment medical problems, such as pain and OUD. However, before consuming it, it is critical to understand what it is and how it functions in our bodies. The above information should help you learn the fundamentals to consume it safely. This information, however, is intended to supplement rather than replace advice from your doctor or healthcare professional, and it does not cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions, or adverse effects. 

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