With changing times, the outlook of the general population towards medicines, treatment, and therapy is also evolving. Unlike most other aspects of life, the focus has now shifted towards nature-based, herbal, and traditional practices. One such natural product that has been making news in the medicinal and wellness circles is Kratom. The potent powder extracted from the leaves of the evergreen trees traditionally grown in Southeast Asia has taken the entire community of health experts by storm due to the curiosity surrounding its potential health benefits. However, with around 5 million users of multiple strains of Kratom in the USA alone, it is crucial to understand the active ingredients, properties, side effects, and correct dosage of Kratom.
What is Kratom?
Kratom is an evergreen tropical tree with a potent compound located in the veins of its leaves. Traditionally grown in Southeast Asia and used for its medicinal and recreational properties, the use of Kratom can be traced back to over 150 years. The tree is grown in various parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand as the climatic conditions and fertile soil play a crucial role in the quality of the extracted product.
How does Kratom work?
As Kratom is a natural ingredient, it has a safe profile as far as tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal are concerned. As mentioned above, the veins of the leaves of the tree contain several ingredients that give Kratom its properties; apart from that, the process of extraction and drying further enhances its potency and effectiveness. The main active ingredients found in Kratom are alkaloid compounds named mitragynine and narcotic 7-hydroxy mitragynine.
According to research, Kratom is a partial agonist that interacts with and binds to the mu-opioid and delta receptors in the brain. The alkaloid compounds mitragynine and narcotic 7-hydroxy mitragynine also play a crucial role in reducing pain perception in the body. Furthermore, a survey found that people in the USA use Kratom for pain management, insomnia, and arthritis and help quit drugs and deal with opioid withdrawal symptoms.
What are the different strains of Kratom?
Depending on the exposure to the sun and climatic conditions, the vein of the leaves change color and can be either white, green, or red. When the leaves are cut, dried, and crushed to powder form, the final product is formed and can be of different colors based on the color of the veins. Based on how and where the tree is grown and the stage at which its leaves are harvested, dried, and crushed, the kratom product will have its individual and unique physical and physiological properties. Thus, the strain’s color, the region where it is cultivated, and the properties mentioned earlier determine the various kratom strains.
Properties of Kratom:
The different strains of Kratom have been used in Southeast Asia for various medicinal and recreational purposes for over 150 years now. These historical accounts further lead to multiple types of research and studies on the effects and potential benefits of Kratom. Even though the research has not come with any conclusive results, it has led to some promising shreds of evidence.
- Pain-relieving properties of Kratom: The active ingredients found in the veins of the kratom tree’s leaves offer crucial help in pain management and helping people deal with mild to chronic pain. 7-Hydroxymitragynine, the active alkaloid found in Kratom, binds with the delta and mu-opioid receptors present in our body which helps suppress the body’s sensitivity towards pain. In addition, evidence suggests that Kratom selectively activates and deactivates specific signals, which play an essential role in increasing pain tolerance in the body. Thus, Kratom can help deal with and manage cases of migraines, chronic joint pain, etc.
- Kratom helps enhance brain performance: It is believed that ancient Southasians used to consume kratom leaves to enhance the cognitive abilities of their brain. Research also suggests that Kratom helps in improving memory, provides clarity of thought, helps in better focus, and improves overall brain performance. In addition, Kratom has a tremendous impact on a person’s energy level. By causing better blood circulation, it helps fight fatigue due to its interactions with the delta and Mu receptors, which leads to better cognitive performance. As a result, a substantial number of Kratom users drink it as tea in the morning to stay energized throughout the day. Additionally, the effect of Kratom lasts for around 5-6 hours, and a small dose goes a long way in a single day.
- Help in diabetes control: Kratom has a substantial impact on digestive performance and has the potential to manage blood sugar levels. Since the rise and fall of blood sugar levels can lead to several health complications, Kratom can help people struggling with diabetes control and manage blood insulin and glucose levels by interacting with the satiety receptors and reducing sugar cravings. Even though the research is preliminary, several pieces of evidence have shown that Kratom can play a vital role in managing cases of diabetes.
Side effects of Kratom and ideal dosage:
Depending on the dose, Kratom can have several effects on the body. You and your medical expert need to discuss and consider multiple factors before figuring out the correct dosage of Kratom. Your age, underlying mental or physical health condition, and overall body constitution must be considered. Since one dose does not work universally, you must start with a low amount and gradually work your way up till you get the desired effects. However, do so only after consultation with your doctor. Even though there have been no significant cases of any severe side effects of Kratom, yet any unwarranted and unsupervised dosage may lead to complications. Patients have experienced mild symptoms like insomnia, numbness, itching, headache, nausea, dry mouth, constipation, loss of appetite, and drowsiness after taking a higher concentration of Kratom.
A final word.
Kratom has gained immense popularity, and the interest in its properties and potential benefits is increasing every day. However, with a substantial increase in the number of people using it in the USA and Europe, people must be aware of its properties, side effects, and dosage. Even though the usage of Kratom has not given rise to any life-threatening condition, it is always better to have a word with a medical expert before consuming it or recommending it to anyone.