So, what is kratom?

Mitragyna speciosa, better known as Kratom, has been lauded as a highly beneficial botanical product. Sourced from a species of hardwood evergreen tree in Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar,  its health benefits and medicinal properties have been long established in its native cultures; but it is just recently that western medicine has become more aware.

It is so well integrated into the culture in its native habitat that is has been commonly used to give farm workers more energy and focus while working. Because of its components including alkaloids and compounds, this tree’s leaves have been used in various forms to treat a wide range of illnesses, ailments and conditions. Western medicine is still catching up to all its medicinal properties which is why much of the uses for Kratom are still in need of studies and scientific evidence to back it. However, proponents and users of Kratom have been using to remedy a wide array of affliction. 

What is Kratom Used For?

Here are 5 common health benefits of Kratom:

Increased Focus

One of the main uses for Kratom among those who already do has been its ability to effectively increase focus. It enhances productivity and results in a more intense focus by interacting with the opiate receptors in the brain and the periphery via its 7-hydroxy mitragynine and alkaloids. The release of acetylcholine has a calming effect on the restlessness of the mind, helping it get back on track.  In addition, it releases serotonin and dopamine in the brain which are both feel-good chemicals that help increase focus, motivation and attention span for whatever task is in front of you.

Pain Relief

In the past, Kratom has been used as a morphine substitute to help patients dealing with severe pain to gain relief. The alkaloids present in it give it its powerful pain relief abilities. They interact with the opiate receptors in the brain’s central nervous system and aid in the release of endorphins and enkephalins – 2 chemicals that have a numbing effect on the brain’s pain receptors. This is how patients diagnosed with conditions like osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteomalacia, osteoarthritis, joint pain, chronic backaches and other afflictions gain relief from their otherwise constant or frequent pain through Kratom’s potent abilities.

Reduces Inflammation

Those who suffer from conditions that result in inflammation, such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other like ailments can benefit from Kratom. Kratom is known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory due to its main active alkaloid, mitragynine, having been found to help reduce inflammation.

Helps with Addiction

One of the most important benefits of Kratom giving it its popularity and attention, especially considering that the Americas are undergoing an opioid crisis currently, is Kratom’s ability to help with addiction. Kratom is not an opiate but interacts with the opiate receptors and the supraspinal mu and delta  in a similar way to opiates. This interaction is what helps recovering opiate addicts curb their urges for the harmful drug they’ve become addicted to and are attempting to give up without risking permanent dependency on the new substitute. The similarity in the way that Kratom reacts with the body is part of why many have mistakenly called it a harmful opiate itself and why the media and some governments have made ill-advised, quick judgements on it – it is why there is such controversy surrounding its use.

Kratom also helps reduce symptoms of opiate withdrawal, including but not limited to cramps, nausea, insomnia, vomiting, and pain; it’s dopamine and serotonin releasing effects also help lift users’ moods and resulting in anti-depression and anti-anxiety effects. It has been lauded for helping heroin, opium and other drug users with overcoming their addictions to harmful, life threatening substances.

Helps Relieve Anxiety, Stress and Depression

Another common use for Kratom has been to alleviate anxiety, stress and depression. Since it’s a psychostimulant, it can help enhance and lift your mood. Kratom acts by releasing serotonin and endorphins in the brain – your happy chemicals. It helps calm the racing mind which reduces tension and can make those that suffer from social anxiety experience relief, feeling more confident and sociable. Some users of Kratom do so for its ability to help with symptoms of anxiety like heart palpitations, hyperventilation, sweating, muscle cramps and mood swings. Those dealing with chronic stress, depression, panic attacks and even PTSD have found relief with Kratom.

It’s important to know that the effects of Kratom have a high dependency on the dosage amount and the type of Kratom that is used. There are different strains that contain varying intensities and strengths. When used properly and as recommended, in small dosages, it is known to have little to no side effects which is another reason it has taken western medicine by storm and is gaining more and more support and interest.