From Seed To Shelf: Kratom Origins
- September 6, 2020
Sometimes it can be confusing to understand where your holistic treatments come from. If you see a naturopath or homeopath, many of the treatments they provide are derived from plants, minerals, or animals. Knowing where herbal medicine comes from can sometimes help you to understand why it is so popular.
Kratom, a holistic and therapeutic supplement, is refined from the tree, mitragyna speciosa. These trees lie in the rainforests of subtopic and topic areas like Southeast Asia. Abundant crops of mitragyna speciosa are scattered throughout Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. Over time as the leaves from these trees fell to the ground, local communities began to desire their medicinal properties.
The mitragyna speciosa tree can reach heights over 80 feet tall and thrives in areas where it is hot and humid. The part of the tree that is harvested to make Kratom is the leaves. When the leaves are in their prime, they are a healthy green color, and as they mature, they begin to shift to a darker red, green, and brown. Depending on when the farmers harvest the leaves, the Kratom will take on a different effect. As these are evergreen trees, the mitragyna speciosa will continue to grow the leaves year-round, casting mature leaves to the ground.
As this botanical requires such a delicate mixture of humid air and nutrient-dense soil, it can often be challenging for farmers to attempt to grow it on their land. While some are successful, the mitragyna speciosa tends to become the most healthy in the countries where it is native.
Throughout maturity, the leaves of the mitragyna speciosa trees will shift in color, shape, and appearance before falling to the ground. When it comes to harvesting the leaves for further processing into Kratom, farmers choose their harvest date based on several factors. As the maturity of the leaf at the time of harvest will affect the overall pharmacological benefits of the Kratom, some farmers will extend or shorten this period to have more control over the final product.
The reason the final product can change is that at different stages in maturity, there is a distinct alkaloid makeup within the leaf. The alkaloids found in the leaves of the mitragyna speciosa are what give Kratom it’s medicinal properties. The amount of sunlight they received throughout their growth and their curing time and process are all going to shift the effects of the final product.
As you may have noticed that when you see Kratom for sale, there are often several colors or strains that you can choose from. These strains come from the color of the leaf and its stem at the time of harvest. As mentioned above, when these colors change, so does the alkaloid composition and thus the effects and concentrations. If you speak to a Kratom vendor about their specific products, they will help figure out which strain will be best for you.
When consumers purchase Kratom it comes in a variety of formats, including pills, extract, and powders, but for these forms to become available, the leaves of the mitragyna speciosa need to be carefully refined. This refinement often includes many steps that must be carried out with utmost attention to detail so that no contamination occurs.
Once the leaves of the tree have been harvested, the refinement process begins. The farmers will collect the leaves and cure them. Before curing, they must make sure that all the leaves have been deeply cleaned, so there is no debris or dirt as it can cause contamination. They dry the leaves by hanging them on large racks either in the sun or indoors. Depending on how long and where the farmers leave the leaves to cure, the alkaloid makeup will change.
While this is the most common process for drying Kratom, it is not the only one. Some strains or types of Kratom are made from leaves that have undergone alternative drying methods. For example, fermentation is used in the case of Bentuangie Kratom. Fermentation can sometimes heighten the overall concentration of the alkaloids, thus making a more potent final product.
For the leaves to put into a format that consumers can easily ingest, it must be first ground into powder. Most farmers will use industrial size grinders so that they can process a large quantity at one time. Once the powder has been created, they move onto packaging and distribution.
Once the Kratom powder has been made, it is packaged into containers and bags that are airtight. This process ensures it can remain fresh on its journey to the many vendors worldwide. For the powder to be made easily accessible by consumers, companies will press their powders into an extract or encapsulate them into pill format. Capsules are one of Kratom’s most popular forms as they can easily be measured and transported.
To ensure that you are getting the best product possible, the Kratom supplier you work with should be ensuring that their processing is done with the utmost care. If they are reputable dealers, they will guarantee all their products are contamination-free and that fair trade business principles have been exercised. With the right product on the shelf, you can make a confident purchase.