Veteran Health: Kratom

Kratom is a word derived from the Thai name for the tall tree species, Mitragyna Speciosa, of the Rubiaceae family that is native in South East Asia. The tree is abundantly available in marshy or wet areas in South East Asia including Thailand, Malaysia, New Guinea and Burneo. The Kratom tree has a very tropical appearance with dark green oval shaped leaves and clustered yellow flowers. Kratom leaves have traditionally been used for medical purposes in South East Asian cultures like Thai and Malaysian for centuries. The Kratom tree’s scientific name, Mitragyna Speciosa, was given by the Dutch botanist Pieter Korthals.

History of Kratom

The traditional use of this tree originated in Thailand and dates back many centuries. It was used by Thai farmers, peasants and laborers to overcome burdens of their hard work, and many communities view it as part of their daily life. Research has indicated that in certain communities, over 70% of the men use Kratom on a daily basis. However, despite this cultural importance of Kratom, the Thailand government banned the plant and the use of its leaves in the 1940’s. The ban had a limited effect on the access to the tree and its use, but it prohibited its cultivation as a crop and the Thai government even attempted to destroy its concentrations in the wild. As a result of the Thai government ban, which is still effect today, little research has been conducted to link Kratom use or a history of its use to health problems. In 2010, it was established by the Thai office of Narcotics Control Board that the initial ban in the 1940’s was informed by economic rather than health or social related concerns. In the 1940’s the Thai government was earning significant tax revenue from the sale and tax of opium. Since Kratom behaves as an opioid agonist, it represented a threat to that revenue stream hence the prohibition. After these findings in 2010, attempts are being made to legalize Kratom in Thailand and around the world. Where legal, Kratom can be bought online at Visit the vendors other vendors as well, and find the right choice for your research.

Kratom Use Outside Thailand

Other than in South East Asia, Thailand in particular, Kratom has gained little attention. In recent years, it has made substantial inroads in the United States. There are no prohibitions or regulations against the use of Kratom or Kratom related products in the US, and it is available from a wide range of vendors on the internet with the entire range of products. However, the history of Kratom in Thailand and its link with opium because of its chemical composition has caused Kratom to draw some stigma associated with other controlled substances. Attempts are being made in some States in the United States to put Kratom on the controlled substances list, and at least one legislative body has banned some of the main chemicals found in Kratom. This probation only applies to synthetic compounds and doesn’t affect Kratom. In traditional medicine, Kratom and its derivatives was used to treat opium addiction. It was also used to treat diarrhea, Diabetes Mellitus and small percentage used it to intensify or prolong sexual activity. Opium is a drug, and one of the important therapeutic uses of Kratom is in the treatment of opioid dependence. Kratom has been established to be effective in combating opium addition by offering relief when users experience withdrawal symptoms. Aimalacine an alkaloid of Kratom works as an anti-hypertensive medicine and is widely used in the treatment of High Blood Pressure.


Catechin, a compound found in Kratom, is beneficial to health as an oxidant. Anti oxidants fight free radicals produced during the oxidation process and which are very harmful. Free radicals are a major factor in the development of diseases such as cardiac stroke, cancer, and degenerative disease. Kratom’s effect as an anti-oxidant makes it a potent preventive food supplement.


One of Kratom’s common uses is as an anti-depressant. Studies have indicated that Kratom’s derivative known as Mitragynine has anti-depressant like effects and qualities. Clinical research as established beyond reasonable doubt the efficacy of Kratom leaves in treatment of depression.

Effects of Kratom

To understand the history of Kratom use means know of its health effects. The chemical composition of Kratom leaves is high complex as it contains over 40 unique compounds. The most effective of these are a variety of alkaloids like 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitraphylline . The chemical composition of the Kratom leaves mean that they function as an opioid receptor agonist in the body and as a result they have psychoactive effects that can improve mood and alleviate pain. The chemical composition of Kratom makes it quite unique because it is stimulating in lower dosages and works as a sedative in larger doses. Kratom’s stimulating effects can improve mood, boost energy levels, sociability, alertness, and in some cases increase libido. In large doses feelings of euphoria are experienced and there is an analgesic effect that subdues physical and emotional sensitivity. Kratom, as a sedative, has been used to manage anxiety, depression and insomnia. The specific levels of dosage needed to produce the desired effect depend on a variety of factors like the body weight of the user, size and potency of the dosage and other physiological characteristics.