What is Kratom?

Due to FDA threats to US kratom vendors, please take note that the following article was “written for entertainment purposes only and
does not constitute medical advice. Depending on where you live, our products are not intended for human consumption and are not meant to
diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or condition.”

An Introduction to Kratom

Mitragyna speciosa korth, or kratom, is a medicinal herb that belongs to Rubiaceae family, along with coffee (Koehbach & Gruber, 2015). This type of tree is native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of Southeast Asia and Africa. Kratom’s medicinal properties have a long-established history in its native East Asian countries of Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Each type of kratom is comprised of its own distinct alkaloid profile, which is responsible for kratom’s many beneficial effects.

M.speciosa contains more than 40 compounds. The major portion is of these are indole alkaloids, which are bioactive compounds which elicit various pharmacological actions (Kukula-Koch & Widelski, 2017). More than 25 alkaloids have been extracted from M. speciosa with mitragynine being the most abundant at approximately 66% of total alkaloid weight. This alkaloid is primarily responsible for the stimulant and analgesic effects of kratom as it is a partial mu-opioid receptor agonist. (Al-Hasani & Bruchas, 2011)

Traditionally, the leaves of the kratom tree have been used to treat muscle pain, intestinal infections, cough, and diarrhea. In addition, Asian laborers have long used kratom as a productivity aid when working long hours in hot and humid climates. On top of its well-known analgesic effects, the compounds found in kratom show antipyretic, antidepressant, anxiolytic, antiviral and antidiabetic effects – just to name a few. Kratom’s alkaloids are also attributed with strengthening the immune system and regulating blood pressure (Agrawal, Nandini, & Sharma, n.d.).

Kratom and it’s Alkaloids

Kratom contains up to about 66% mitragynine, which is responsible for a great deal of the plant’s analgesic, antitussive, antidiarrheal, adrenergic and antimalarial properties. It acts as weak opioid receptor agonist that has high affinity for the µ-opioid receptors. Although the FDA continues to spread fabricated stories about the dangers of kratom, studies following a dose-adjusted protocol have found mitragynine to be no more than one-tenth the strength of morphine (Kikura-Hanajiri et al., 2009). Its effects slightly vary from person to person and mostly depends upon one’s individual sensitivity and internal chemistry.

Is Kratom Safe?

Pure, organic kratom is safe and has generations upon generations worth of heavy usage to prove it.  No one has ever died from pure, unadulterated kratom alone without pre-existing factors. One would become violently sick long before reaching such a level of toxicity in the blood. The following is a short snippet about kratom’s alkaloids and what they do in vivo (“Kratom Alkaloids & Effects | Kratom Science,” 2018):

  • Paynantheine (9%) & speciogynine (7%) show smooth muscle relaxing effects.
  • 7-hydroxymitragynine (2%) also shows analgesic, antitussive and antidiarrheal properties. Its most common effects are modest pain relief, which helps opioid-dependent patients during opiate withdrawal. It is believed that 7-hydroxymitragynine is 30 times stronger than mitragynine and 10 times stronger than morphine.
  • Speciogynine (1%) is a weak opioid agonist.
  • Mitraphylline (<1%) acts as a vasodilator, antihypertensive agent, smooth muscle relaxant, diuretic, antiamnesic, immunostimulant and anti-leukemic agent.
  • Isomitraphylline (<1%) works as an immunostimulant and anti-leukemic agent.
  • Speciophylline (<1%) is beneficial in leukemia.
  • Rhynchophylline (<1%) has major role in blood pressure as it acts vasodilator, antihypertensive agent and calcium channel blocker. It is also exhibit anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, anti-arrhythmic and antithelmintic properties.
  • Isorhynchophylline (<1%) improves the immune system.
  • Ajmalicine (<1%) works as a cerebrocirculant, antiaggregant/anticoagulant, anti-adrenergic, sedative, anticonvulsant and smooth muscle relaxer.
  • Corynantheidine (<1%), corynoxine A (<1%), corynoxine B (<1%), mitrafoline (<1%), isomitrafoline (<1%), oxindale A (<1%) & oxindale B (<1%) are opioid receptor agonists, some of which act as calcium channel blockers and anti-locomotive agents.
  • Speciofoline (<1%), isospeciofoline (<1%), ciliaphylline (<1%), mitraciliatine (<1%), mitragynaline (<1%), mitragynalinic acid (<1%) and corynantheidalinic acid show antitussive and analgesic effects.

The content of each individual alkaloid inside the kratom leaf varies with the geographical location and age of the source tree. Older plants are richer in alkaloids, which is why our people are so picky during harvests. The curing process can also heavily influence the leaf’s constituents. One study found that roughly 8% of a leaf’s mitragnine can be converted to 7-hydroxymitragnine by the sun alone (Kruegel et al., 2016). Given the exponential relative strength of the latter alkaloid, this means that there is a major variance in psychoactive effects between a hastily-harvested leaf and one that is properly cured – even from the same tree.

Handling can indeed make or break raw materials in this business. Our suppliers have consistently stressed the importance of maintaining a constant soil pH level between 5.5 and 6.5. When we claim that we offer only the highest quality kratom one could find anywhere, it is because we take heed to the experience of many generations and we work iteratively on process optimization.

Health Benefits of Kratom

Pain relief:

The analgesic, or pain killing, effect is due to interaction of alkaloids with opioid receptors present in the central nervous system (CNS). The result is an enhanced release of enkephalins and endorphins, effectively numbing the pain receptors of the body (“Leu-enkephalin,” n.d.). This effect is useful for mild to moderate pain relief and is the target for patients with cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fractures, or for post-operative procedures who choose to avoid prescription medications

Stimulation:

The stimulation that is produced by M.speciosa occurs when it partially acts on mu-opioid receptors in the brain (Boyer, Babu, Adkins, McCurdy, & Halpern, 2008). This activates the body and mind in such a manner that one becomes more motivated, better focused. Additionally, some claim that the kratom leaf, when used in the right amounts, enhances cognitive ability,

Uplifting of mood and reduced depression and anxiety:

The alkaloids present in the leaves of the kratom plant are good for euphoria, depression and anxiety. It soothes the nerves and elevates the mood in such a way that someone forgets all their worries and tensions and enjoys a feeling of contentment. This effect is due to its action on the opiate receptors, which causes a release of sympathetic neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin (“Mitragynine”, 2019.). It is also useful in other symptoms of anxiety like insomnia, heart palpitations, sweating, muscle cramps etc.

Help in overcoming opioid addiction:

Kratom helps in opioid withdrawal as it eases the period of withdrawal symptoms, allowing one to taper off these drugs. It reduces the typical symptoms of opioid withdrawal like; cramps, vomiting, pain, anxiety etc. Its alkaloids are not opioids, but can bind with opioid receptors in place of opiate drugs and thus help in easing the effects of addiction (Greene, 2013).

Immune system modulation:

The kratom leaf helps to improve the immune system as it helps to rid the body of free radicals and harmful microbes. Many of the alkaloids of kratom work as immunostimulants (Rojas-Duran et al., 2012), which improve the immune system and combat against infections.

Improved focus:

The alkaloids 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine help users to work harder for longer with a focused intensity. Essentially, one becomes more satisfied with the task at hand. This happens with the release of neurochemicals like serotonin and dopamine that help to improve focus, attention span, aand motivation. Also, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine relaxes the ruminating mind (Janowsky, El-Yousef, & Davis, 1974) and is thus also helpful in improving focus.

Increased motivation:

The activation of opioid receptors helps one to stay motivated and energetic to get the things done. It happens because of adrenaline rush that activates the sympathetic nerves with the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline. These effects are elevated with the drastic increase in dopamine and serotonin.

Improved heart health:

The alkaloids present in kratom leaves are beneficial to the body’s hormonal balance, and blood vessels and are thus also helpful in lowering blood pressure. The alkaloids work as vasodilators, calcium channel blockers, antihypertensive agents, and diuretics. All of these properties collectively help to improve heart health and reduce blood pressure.

Anti-inflammation:

The major and primary alkaloid of kratom is mitragynine, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. (Mossadeq et al., 2009). This property is similar to over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) in that it reduces pain, inflammation, swelling and redness at the site of inflammation. Because of these properties it is used in patients suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis.

Antioxidant properties of kratom:

Some researchers claim that kratom leaves contain certain antioxidants that are helpful in protecting users against cancer. These antioxidants have an effect similar to your body’s natural antioxidants like superoxide dismutase and glutathione, which are helpful in preventing the formation of free radicals. This is associated with a lower risk for several forms of cancer.

There are several other health benefits of kratom leaves and much remains to be learned about this special leaf.  In December of 2018, the University of Florida received a $3.5m grant to study the potential benefits of kratom’s alkaloids (UF College of Pharmacy, 2018.). There is a lot more yet to be studied about kratom constituents and its tremendous benefits. Despite the smear campaign that the FDA and NIDA have launched against it, pure, unadulterated kratom remains an incredibly beneficial compound with a plethora of benefits and generations upon generations of usage history.

 

 

 

References

Agrawal, M., Nandini, D., & Sharma, S. C. (n.d.). (18) (PDF) Herbal remedies for treatment of hypertension. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from Research Gate website: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/266372360_Herbal_remedies_for_treatment_of_hypertension

Al-Hasani, R., & Bruchas, M. R. (2011). Molecular Mechanisms of Opioid Receptor-dependent Signaling and Behavior: Anesthesiology, 1. https://doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0b013e318238bba6

Boyer, E. W., Babu, K. M., Adkins, J. E., McCurdy, C. R., & Halpern, J. H. (2008). Self-treatment of opioid withdrawal using kratom (Mitragynia speciosa korth). Addiction (Abingdon, England), 103(6), 1048–1050. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2008.02209.x

Greene, S. L. (2013). Chapter 15 – Tryptamines. In P. I. Dargan & D. M. Wood (Eds.), Novel Psychoactive Substances (pp. 363–381). https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-415816-0.00015-8

Janowsky, D. S., El-Yousef, M. K., & Davis, J. M. (1974). Acetylcholine and depression. Psychosomatic Medicine, 36(3), 248–257. https://doi.org/10.1097/00006842-197405000-00008

Kikura-Hanajiri, R., Kawamura, M., Maruyama, T., Kitajima, M., Takayama, H., & Goda, Y. (2009). Simultaneous analysis of mitragynine, 7-hydroxymitragynine, and other alkaloids in the psychotropic plant “kratom” (Mitragyna speciosa) by LC-ESI-MS. Forensic Toxicology, 27(2), 67–74. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11419-009-0070-5

Koehbach, J., & Gruber, C. (2015). Rubiaceae – an overview. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from Science Direct website: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/rubiaceae

Kratom Alkaloids & Effects | Kratom Science. (2018). Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://www.kratomscience.com/mitragyna-speciosa-kratom-alkaloids-effects/

Kruegel, A. C., Gassaway, M. M., Kapoor, A., Váradi, A., Majumdar, S., Filizola, M., … Sames, D. (2016). Synthetic and Receptor Signaling Explorations of the Mitragyna Alkaloids: Mitragynine as an Atypical Molecular Framework for Opioid Receptor Modulators. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 138(21), 6754–6764. https://doi.org/10.1021/jacs.6b00360

Kukula-Koch, W. A., & Widelski, J. (2017). Alkaloids – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from Science Direct website: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/alkaloids

Mossadeq, W. M. S., Sulaiman, M. R., Mohamad, T. A. T., Chiong, H. S., Zakaria, Z. A., Jabit, M. L., … Israf, D. A. (2009). Anti-Inflammatory and Antinociceptive Effects of Mitragyna speciosa Korth Methanolic Extract. Medical Principles and Practice, 18(5), 378–384. https://doi.org/10.1159/000226292

PubChem. (2019, March 10). Mitragynine. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/3034396

PubChem. (2019, March 20). Leu-enkephalin. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/461776

Rojas-Duran, R., Gonzelz-Aspajo, G., Ruiz-Martel, C., Bourdy, G., Doroteo, V., Adelaida Albàn Castillo, J., … Deharo, E. (2012, July). Anti-inflammatory activity of Mitraphylline isolated from Uncaria tomentosa bark. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from Research Gate website: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/230588166_Anti-inflammatory_activity_of_Mitraphylline_isolated_from_Uncaria_tomentosa_bark

UF College of Pharmacy. (2018). UF College of Pharmacy receives $3.5 million NIDA grant to bolster kratom research. Retrieved April 12, 2019, from https://pharmacy.ufl.edu/2018/12/10/uf-college-of-pharmacy-receives-3-5-million-nida-grant-to-bolster-kratom-research/