Types of Kratom Products
Types of Kratom Products
The introduction of Kratom products in North America is causing a stir as researchers remain skeptical of its benefits. Historically, laborers used the plant as herbal medicine to increase productivity and relieve muscle pain. Today, Kratom catches the attention of certain researchers due to its rich complexity in compounds. There are about 40 compounds isolated from the leaves of Kratom. Some compounds are biologically active, while others are inactive. Researchers continue to explore the compounds in Kratoms, some of which are still misunderstood. At present, Kratom may only be used for research purposes in the USA. The following article provides information on Kratom and the types of products that are sold.
Kratom Geographic Names and Historical Uses
While Kratom is the common term used in North America to market its products, it also goes by other names tied to the plant’s native habitats:
Mitragyna speciosa is the scientific term for Kratom, signifying which group of species it belongs to. The overarching group is called the Rubiaceae family. Within this family are other well-known species, such as coffee and gardenia plants. Mitragyna speciosa is the second most common term you will see used when conducting your research on Kratom.
Biak, Ketum, or Kutum
In Malaysia, Kratom may be referred to as any of these above terms. The names represent regions in Malaysia where Kratom originated. Traditionally, the locals in these regions would smoke or make tea with Kratom leaves for their euphoric effects. It was also used in Malaysia to help with fevers and digestive problems.
Kakuan, Ithang, or Thomu
In Thailand, any of the above names refer to Kratom and represent geographical areas in the country. The residents of Thailand traditionally used Kratom for the same reasons it was used in Malaysia, for mood-enhancing and healing effects.
Kratom is known as Kadamba or Puri in Indonesia. Historically, Indonesians used Kratom to help alleviate pain. Along with Thailand, Indonesia continues to be one of the largest suppliers of Kratom.
Kratom is native to Vietnam and the Philippines, but these countries do not have as much influence on the production and distribution of Kratom as the other countries above. In Vietnam, Kratom is known as giam, and in the Philippines, they refer to it as mambog.
Kratom Colors and Strains
Kratom is categorized into three main color groups: white Kratom, green Kratom, and red Kratom. All colors contain many strains within each classification. Recently, yellow Kratom products have appeared on the market; however, they are rarer than the other three colors. The product colors are not arbitrary—a plant’s age determines the color of Kratom. If kratom has white veins, it means that the plant is still young. Green veins on a Kratom mean that the plant is maturing, whereas red veins mean that the plan has fully matured. The color designations are based on the veins of the leaves. Kratom colors are not predetermined; their colors change from white to green to red as they age. Other factors may affect their colors, such as genetics and the amount of sunlight received during their growing process. The veins of the leaves are the parts of the leaves that change colors. Once the leaves have reached their ideal maturity, they are picked. While the colors vary, they also relate to the overall alkaloid composition and concentration of the leaves. It’s these alkaloids that give Kratom its beneficial properties.
Harvesting and Production
Before Kratom makes its way to its final form, it undergoes a lengthy process starting with the tree. The leaves are the Kratom tree’s most sought-out part and they can all naturally vary in size, color, and potency. A Kratom tree can grow to be between 50 and 100 feet. Conditions necessary for growing high-quality Kratom are high-quality soil, water, and fertile soil. The leaves are ready to harvest normally a year after the seeds have germinated. Harvest season falls during the late summer or autumn months. The Kratom farmer monitors the color of the leaves by examining the veins and stems. If satisfied with what they see, the Kratom farmer picks the leaves off of the tree or collects them from the ground to be washed. Dirt is removed before moving on to the next step so that the leaves are clean for processing. The leaves are hung to dry, either indoors or outdoors, under the sunlight. The colors of the veins become more distinguishable while they are drying. Certain drying factors will be tailored to impact the level of compounds in the Kratom. After the leaves are sufficiently dry, leaves and stems can be kept in this form for certain uses, such as to chew or make tea. Otherwise, the leaves may be sent to distributors who use industrial grinders to prepare the Kratom to transform into the final desired form.
Health Effects of Kratom Products
Not only does the age of the Kratom plant impact the color, but it also impacts the potential effects when ingested. Its recent spike in popularity outside of the USA is due to the potential power to alleviate pain and provide energy.
Beyond the physical effects, others benefit from Kratom’s potential therapeutic effects. Certain Kratom strains can help put users at ease. As Kratom products are regularly new to the market, the FDA is still working towards regulating the plant’s uses.
Kratom Products and Forms
When the Kratom leaves are harvested, they are either kept in their raw form or processed and packaged to stay fresh and avoid any contamination. Contamination can occur at any point, such as during harvesting or production. Kratom can be taken in several different forms to reap its benefits. These are different ways of consuming Kratom. Some of them involve consuming the Kratom leaves and stems raw, while others manufacture the leaf into a product. The product to choose will depend on preference.
Full Leaves for Chewing, Tea Making or Smoking
This is the most natural form of consuming Kratom without any processing. Chewing and tea making are two of the traditional ways Kratom was consumed in Southeast Asia yet still practiced today. After the Kratom leaves are dried, they may be cut to chew or sifted to use for making tea. The Kratom leaves can be steeped in boiling waters. The longer the Kratom leaves steep, the more concentrated the tea. On the other hand, chewing is a direct method of benefitting from Kratom that first involves cutting up the leaves into smaller pieces. Kratom can be smoked by grounding the leaves, but this method is not as common as the other Kratom products.
Capsules are suitable for Kratom users looking for an easy way to yield the benefits of the plant. The capsules are measured and filled with the powdered Kratom. Alternatively, a user can purchase empty capsules and insert the Kratom on their own. They are swallowed like any other pill and are a good option for those wanting to avoid measuring out Kratom.
Some users prefer Kratom powder if they have difficulty swallowing pills. The powdered form is the most common method of purchase for Kratom products in North America.
Kratom extracts are concentrated powders that draw out the beneficial plant components. They are made by soaking the plant with boiling water. The water eventually evaporates and leaves behind a powder. The level of concentration is generally specified on the packaging to indicate its alkaloid strength.
As researchers seek methods to improve the quality of life, health and wellbeing products are more relevant than ever before, and Kratom products are no exception. In North America, users commonly purchase Kratom products in powders, capsules, or extracts though they may also purchase the leaves in raw form. Researchers should continue to gain a deeper understanding of Kratom’s effects and its active compounds. More research could provide insight that could lead to developing a more effective use of Kratom’s therapeutic agents. Given the extensive use of Kratom for its herbal remedies, researchers must continue to grow their knowledge of the plant’s chemistry. Since production is unregulated, make sure you are purchasing from a trusted vendor for your research. Most reputable sellers will have their products lab-tested to ensure they are suitable to sell to the public. Additionally, the best Kratom products on the market are all-natural, ethically-sourced, and free of additive ingredients.