Kratom is an indigenous plant to Southeast Asia. This plant, which has the Latin name Mitragyna Speciosa, is also known as ‘ketum’ or ‘biek’ (Malaysia) or also known as ‘khratom’ or ‘thom’ in Thailand. Kratom plants are found in Africa, Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia and in Thailand.
Historically, manual labourers such as fishermen, farmers and rubber tappers in Western Indonesia, Southern Thailand and Northern Malaysia used kratom leaves to increase their work productivity under the hot weather and to relieve fatigue. Rural people chewed kratom leaves to treat themselves from medical problems such as diabetes, diarrhea, fever and aches and pains. Kratom leaves are also often used for wound poultices.
Kratom is a psychoactive plant that has been used as herbal medicine and traditional medical ingredients in certain regions of Southeast Asia for millenia. Kratom is a type of coffee plant (Rubiaceae) which produces important alkaloids like caffeine. Alkaloids is a class of alkaline compounds that found in plants.
It is known that the active ingredients contained in kratom are alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. This active ingredient is believed to provide analgesic effects or relieve pain, relieve inflammation in the body or relax muscles, so kratom is often used to relieve fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is an intolerance to the body to pain and stress which is usually characterized by body aches, fatigue and sleeping issues.
Kratom leaves are usually processed into kratom powder. The most popular way to consume kratom is by brewing the powder or dried leaves into tea. Some oldsters in rural areas usually also use dried kratom leaves as traditional cigarettes. Kratom has a bitter taste, for people who do not like bitter taste, usually mix the kratom with sugar or honey. Some other ways to consume kratom are in pills or capsules.
In small doses, consuming kratom can strengthen energy and mood, like coffee users in the West. But when using in larger amounts, some people use it for pain or just for recreation, like beer or wine.
Kratom trees can grow to 4-16 meters tall. The average weight of fresh kratom leaf is 1.7g and the weight of dry kratom leaf is 0.43g. Kratom tree has yellow flowers and has flat, seed-shaped fruit.
The leaves of the kratom tree are oval or ovate-lanceolate in color, dark green and can grow up to 180mm and 100mm wide. Kratom leaf veins have various colors, some of the colors of kratom leaf veins are white and red. Kratom leaves with white and red veins are considered stronger.
The best leaves that are ready to be harvested and processed into powder are leaves that are the size of an adult palm or leaves that are old. Harvesting will be better if done in the morning. Harvesting on kratom trees can be done 3 times a year. But for the first harvest it can be done when the kratom tree is 6 months or one year old depending on the condition and level of soil fertility.