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A Guide To Kratom’s Alkaloids

Jemi Fischbach

The active compounds found in Kratom are called Alkaloids. Even for many Kratom enthusiasts who have been using the product for many years, it is not easy to figure out just what is causing the effects. The best way to learn more about the active compounds in Kratom and find more about alkaloids is to conduct independent research.

By learning about the alkaloids present, you can better understand what Kratom does and how it might benefit your life. Outlined below is a brief guide to Kratom’s active alkaloids.

Alkaloids: What Are They?

Everything on earth is made up of elements, and all living organisms are built from natural chemical compounds. When looking at plants, specifically, they are made from phytochemicals, of which alkaloids are a specific type. Millions of plants contain alkaloids but sometimes in just trace amounts. Some common plants with active alkaloids are poppy, coffee, and of course, Kratom.

Through various research initiatives, it was discovered that Kratom is host to at least 26 different alkaloids, with two standing out more than any other.

Another commonly known alkaloid is caffeine, which is the chemical compound found in the coffee bean. Morphine is also an alkaloid that comes from a poppy. As you can tell from the above examples, alkaloids can have significant physiological effects when ingested.

The Two Prominent Kratom Alkaloids

The two alkaloids that stand out in the Kratom plant are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These alkaloids are the most known for inducing the so-called effects that many Kratom users claim to experience. These alkaloids are unique in that they act on the specific receptors in the brain.

Depending on the strain and the harvesting processes, the concentrations of each of these alkaloids will fluctuate. These variances in alkaloid makeup are what make the many different strains unique from one another.

Other than these two alkaloids, there are another 26, which have been identified. Evidence suggests that there could be more but none in concentrations high enough to identify.


Mitragynine makes up near 66% of the plant’s total alkaloid makeup, making it the most abundant alkaloid. The concentration of mitragynine will change strain-to-strain depending on the production processes involved and the target strain the farmer is attempting to produce. There is more mitragynine in green and white vein Kratom and less in strains that have been grown in Malaysia.


Making up much less than mitragynine, 7-hydroxymitragynine accounts for 2% of the alkaloid makeup, and while other alkaloids are more abundant, it is responsible for significant effects. This alkaloid is known to be found in higher amounts in red vein Kratom, with the most found in Red Maeng Da Kratom from Thailand.

Over time, these two alkaloid concentrations will shift. As the plant matures, the mitragynine levels decrease, and the 7-hydroxymitragynine levels increase. This is why white and green vein leaves, the youngest leaves, are harvested to produce strains with more mitragynine. The most mature, red plants are the ones with the highest amounts of 7-hydroxymitragynine.

What The Alkaloids Do

Most alkaloids can have significant physiological effects. Caffeine is known to stimulate the brain and body, whereas morphine can help reduce pain. However, abundant research is needed to substantiate the effects of the alkaloids so that people don’t get the wrong ideas when buying products. Research also ensures users are aware of the potentially harmful side effects.

When it comes to Kratom, the FDA has limited the amount of information that can be publicized or spoken about by vendors. Thus, Kratom vendors can not openly speak about the effects of the two potent alkaloids.

Despite the limitations on Kratom suppliers, there are places where you can find information regarding the effects. Some scientific journals have done studies, and there is lots of anecdotal information that can be found on the American Kratom Association website.

The Other 26 Alkaloids

There are two alkaloids, paynanthein and speciogynine, which have higher concentrations, with the first being at 8-9% and the latter making up 6-7%. The other 24 are all present at amounts less than 1%.

The internet is filled with lots of information on these alkaloids, should you want more information regarding their effects. They are as follows:

  • Mitraphylline
  • Isomitraphylline
  • Speciophylline
  • Rhynchophylline
  • Isorhynchophylline
  • Ajmalicine (Raubasine)
  • Akuammigine
  • Ciliaphylline speciosa
  • Corynantheidine
  • Corynoxeine
  • Corynoxine A and B
  • Epicatechin
  • 9-Hydroxycorynantheidine
  • Isomitrafolin
  • Isopteropodine
  • Isospeciofoline
  • Mitraciliatine
  • Mitragynine oxindoles A and B
  • Mitrafoline
  • Mitraversine
  • Speciociliatine
  • Speciofoline
  • Stipulatine
  • Tetrahydroalstonine

Many of these alkaloids also play pivotal roles in ancient Chinese medicinal practices.

How Quality Effects Alkaloid Concentration

The quality of the Kratom you buy can significantly affect the alkaloid makeup in the substance. If you are buying a product that has been cut with additives and synthetic ingredients, it will not be as potent and could be dangerous.

The best way to ensure you are getting the right amounts and purest forms of these alkaloids is by buying high-quality products from a reputable vendor. You can speak to the American Kratom Association, should you need assistance finding the right vendor for you.

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