Other Names: Ketom, Biak, Mabog, Mitragyne
Related To: [Rubiaceae] Coffee, Noni, Guarana
Main Uses: Psychoactive Stimulant
Growth Rate: Moderate to fast.
Mature Height/Spread: Small to large tree; more than 50 feet tall
in the tropics.
Flowering/Pollination: Yellow, clustering.
Tolerance: Intolerant of both salt and drought.
Soil/Nutrition: Moist, acidic soils rich in organic matter are
very beneficial to the health of this species, which is native to
tropical marshlands. Plant this species with a bale of peat moss, or
another acidic soil medium. Pay special attention to maintaining
sufficient iron and nitrogen, as kratom is a heavy feeder of these
Light: Shade to full sun (when older). This is an understory
Wind: Moderately sturdy tree. Light winds fix the desirable
active components in the leaves.
Temperature: Can take temperatures down to freezing, with some
leaf and green stem damage. Should be protected from frost if
possible. Tree bounces back easily from damage.
Dangers: Mild possibility of addiction, as alkaloids are
stimulating to the central nervous system, it's effects being more
profound than those of caffeine. It's effects can compel one to use
it frequently, but upon stopping there are no withdrawal symptoms.
To be safe using this herb, do not take in conjunction with other
stimulants, prescription drugs, or caffeine. Mitragynine is a
monoamine compound and cannot be mixed with MAO inhibitors.
Bearing Age: Indefinitely, as leaves are produced. Mature leaves
on a healthy tree are as large as 9-10 cm diameter on cultivated
varieties. Wild specimens often produce significantly smaller
leaves. Older trees produce stronger, more consistent strength
leaves for psychoactive use.
Fruit: The seed pods form as yellow to red spheres.
History/Origin: Kratom is native to Thailand and Malaysia, but is
also found in Borneo, Papua New Guinea and on some Pacific islands.
Propogation: By marcot (air-layer), cuttings, and seeds. Seeds
are recommended, as the other methods produce weak and sparse trees.
Container Culture: Easily grown in a container for some time, but
will eventually need to be planted in the ground.
Medicinal Uses: Kratom is a stimulant for hard-working people who
wish to be in good spirits where there is demanding, repetitive
physical work to be done. As with caffeine, it is mentally
stimulating, providing wakefulness and alertness. With kratom there
is also a psychological sense of being warm, at ease, and
unfettered. Large doses are bracing and sedating, but usage on this
level is not recommend by the author. Despite mitragynine being very
low in toxicity, high dosages would likely have a detrimental effect
on the nervous system.
The psychoactive leaves are constipating in large doses, and are
used to treat diarrhea. If constipation is a problem with usage,
take some salt with the leaves; this is a common practice in
Malaysia. Kratom is used to treat harmful addictions to more serious
drugs, being especially useful in curbing the cravings and
withdrawal symptoms of opium, heroin, and sedating medicines / pain
relievers of the opioid family.
Nutritional Information: Ursolic acid, flavonoids, chlorophyll.
Contains numerous indole alkaloids, which give the leaf it's bitter
flavor; 66% of the alkaloid content is mitragynine. The most
psychoactive alkaloid is 7-hydroxymitraginine.
Preparation / Food: Kratom leaves are chewed fresh in it's native
tropical regions. A single dose consists of about ten mature leaves
which are chewed and held under the tongue. The alkaloids enter the
bloodstream through the mucous membranes of the mouth, it's effects
being felt within 10 minutes. Ingestion of the raw leaves will often
cause stomach upset, and is not recommended. To prepare for
ingestion, the leaves should be dried, ground and encapsulated
before being taken on an empty stomach, which enhances their
potency. The effects can be felt within 1/2 hour, but will intensify
after 60-90 minutes. The psychoactive alkaloids can be easily
extracted into alcohol tinctures. The dried cut leaves can also be
boiled into teas, as the alkaloids are not easily destroyed by heat.
Kratom is sometimes smoked or chewed in quids with betel nuts.