What is Kratom?



Pieter Willem Korthals

Born in Amsterdam in March 1807. Dutch botanist Pieter Willem Korthals was 32 years old when he became the first person to formally describe Mitragyna speciosa in 1839. In 1895 E. M. Holmes also referred to Kratom's use as an opium substitute, when he identified it as Mitragyna speciosa. Two years later H. Ridley documented that Kratom was used to wean people off of opium. In 1907 L. Wray sent samples of both Mitragyna speciosa and Mitragyna parvifolia to Edinburgh University. In 1921 Fray isolated the Mitragynine alkaloid from Mitragyna speciosa and gave it the name "Mitragynine".

 The scientific name for the kratom plant is Mitragyna speciosa, with the "mitra" prefix reflecting the shape of the leaves, which are thought to resemble a bishop's mitre.

The scientific name for the kratom plant is Mitragyna speciosa, with the "mitra" prefix reflecting the shape of the leaves, which are thought to resemble a bishop's mitre.

In 1859 George Darby Haviland provided the final official classification, officially naming the species “Mitragyna speciosa”. This is what we have all commonly come to know as Kratom, Ketum, Kedomba, Puri, Biak or Mambog.

Mitragyna Speciosa natural habitat is the flooded wetlands that occur near the big rivers that naturally flow and flood throughout this region.

For some the leaves of the Kratom tree are considered to be sacred and for others it’s a medicine. Kratom is used all around the world as a natural herb to relieve pain, treat opioid addiction, help moods & anxiety and to stimulate the immune system. Kratom has also been proven to be an extremely effective anti-bacterial medication for infections such as aspergillosis.

In addition to the medicinal attributes mentioned above there are many other conditions that can be treated with this herb and it’s many complex alkaloids and other components.


The map above shows the three main countries of South-East Asia that host natural wild populations of Kratom trees. These are Thailand (although mainly cultivated rather than naturally occurring in the wild), Malaysia, and Indonesia. A part from these three countries there are another six countries where wild Kratom also grows: Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and a small population in Southern China which was established there about 100 years ago for medicinal purposes at the time. This is a personal observation by kratom.com

The island of Borneo or Kalimantan seems to be the epicentre of the species Mitragyna speciosa. There are more trees here per square hectare than anywhere else in the world followed by Sumatra and Papua. This makes sense given how many big natural rivers there are in Borneo.

There needs to be more studies on the species from Papua as the trees are physically much larger and have much bigger leaves. They also have a different alkaloid profile.

The differences between trees from Borneo and trees from South Thailand for example are much less apparent. All trees also display the same characteristics of having all three coloured veins of leaves, Red, Green & White.

Maeng Da for example is a strong strain that grows in a small area in south Thailand. More importantly about this strain is the way that the trees are planted and harvested. This additional technique increases and causes certain alkaloid fingerprints which gives it it’s special characteristics.

Scientific studies have shown that there are certain changes between populations of Kratom depending on the geographical situation but the main differences are seasonal and the colour of the vein. Drying techniques can also greatly influence the color and aroma of the end product and most of the strains that the various vendors offer are almost all the same with little difference between them.

Benefits of Kratom

Kratom is best known as a very effective analgesic or Painkiller. This is mainly achieved through the alkaloid Mitragynine although other alkaloids also play a role too. Mitragynine is a partial opioid agonist which is very different from Morphine. There are pending patents and numerous scientific journals showing the tremendous medical promise.

How and where to buy kratom online? Check our recommended Vendors page.

Pain Relief

The Pain relieving properties of Kratom are not only effective for general conditions but also for conditions where the pain is much more intense or chronic pain. Many individuals have completely altered the way they take painkiller medicines in general and now favour using the natural rich herbal treatment that the Kratom has to offer instead!

Kratom can very effectively aid in diminishing pain from the following conditions:

  • Intensive Headache or Migraine
  • Backache
  • Minor Injuries (Including, Broken Bones, Scrapes, and Burns)
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Arthritis
  • Damaged Muscles
  • Neck Soreness or Strain
  • Scoliosis
  • Chest Pain
  • Abdominal Soreness

This is a rather general list of the conditions where Kratom can be used as an effective medicine. There are also many other ailments that the use of Kratom can successfully help and there are plenty of ongoing studies on Kratom looking into many potential areas for medicinal applications.

The two of the most powerful Alkaloids present in the Kratom for pain relief are Mitragynine & 7-0H Mitragynine respectively. Both of these Alkaloids have active opioid delta receptors that mitigate the body’s sensitivity to pain. Mitragynine is a partial opioid agonist which is very unique and different from Morphine. It does not cause respiratory failure like other opioids such as Morphine do. It’s abuse potential is also far less as well than the “traditional” opioids. 7-Hydroxymitrgynine (7-OH) on the other hand is only found in trace quantities in the leaf, usually only about 0.04% (Observation by kratom.com). Albeit that 7-OH is about 100 times more potent than Mitragynine and 13 times more potent than Morphine. As it is not available in sufficient enough concentration in the leaf to have any real effect. To extract it from the leaf is also extremely difficult as it would need to be specifically isolated and the amount is so small. Also because of it being available in such a small amount in the leaf there has been no real bio-data about how it reacts with people in higher amounts. Mitragynine on the other hand has been studied intensively and is the main and most abundant alkaloid in the Kratom leaf and is responsible for most of its effects. It has been used for centuries in Asia without bad health or social problems.

So generally speaking, for the best pain relief or for opioid withdrawals it is better to use leaf with the highest concentration of Mitragynine which is usually Maeng Da or White vein types.

More effective than leaf however are the enhanced leafs & extracts. With targeted Mitragynine amounts, concentrated extracts such as a Full Spectrum Whole Alkaloid Extract with a 40% to 45% Mitragynine concentration gives by far the best results. Easy and accurate to dose. Controlled amounts and quick effects. More information about this type of extract.

Depression, Anxiety, and Motivation

Many people fight light anxiety especially social anxiety with Kratom. Kratom can noticeably elevate your mood. It can also make mundane jobs feel fun and provide additional motivation. This is achieved by using smaller amounts only as needed. It is not a good idea to use Kratom in this way habitually but rather when needed. This way there is no tolerance build up and you can expect the same results from the same dose amount at a different time, time after time. Always monitor your use of Kratom

As far as the specific strain or type to use it can vary but generally the green and white vein types are preferred. A small amount, 75MG of Full Spectrum Whole Alkaloid Extract with a 40% to 45% Mitragynine concentration would give about 6 hours of relief if suffering from social anxiety.

Kratom and Drug Withdrawal Relief / Transitional Maintenance

Kratom has great pain relieving and mood-enhancing attributes as discussed above and it is also ideal for people who want to go through a controlled opioid withdrawal program.


There is one thing for sure, Kratom is very effective at dampening and alleviating typical withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal.

Recommended Strains to be used for Opioid Withdrawal Relief 

  • Any leaf with a high concentration of Mitragynine will work. It does not matter on colour as much as it matters on the amount of Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine present in the raw leaf.
  • Maeng Da, White Vein & Horned Kratom usually have slightly higher amounts of Mitragynine.
  • For best effects it is better to use Mitra-4 Full Spectrum Whole Alkaloid Extract with a 40% to 45% Mitragynine concentration or even a purer Mitragynine enhanced extract like the Mitra-6 which is about 60% Mitragynine.

See below for SUGGESTED opioid withdrawal program.

Kratom has an immensely productive immune system boosting capability. That is because Kratom leaves also have alkaloids that are known as Immunostimulants. These Immunostimulants strengthen the bodies defence system.

The four of the most significant Immunostimulants alkaloids often found in Kratom leaves:

  • Isorhynchophylline
  • Isopteropodine
  • Mitraphylline
    • Isomitraphylline           

      Kratom Dosage for Energy and Focus

      25mg to 50mg of Mitragynine is a good amount for most people to get a noticeable increase of energy and focus. Results vary from person to person. For energy and focus it is not recommended to use daily rather it should be used only when needed. Try to limit use for once a day for no more than two or three times a week. Kratom or Mitragynine is not chemically habit forming at this low end of the dose range.  

      Kratom Dosage for Anxiety and Pain

      50mg to 100mg of Mitragynine has been proven as an extremely effective amount to treat anxiety and pain, depending on the severity of the individual. It is a good idea to start with the lower end of the dose suggestion working upwards to find the favourable dosage amount. For chronic pain Kratom should be used as needed similar to prescribed medicine. Mitragynine concentrated extracts work the best for chronic pain being much easier to dose and using much smaller amounts.

      Kratom Dosage for Opiate withdrawal

      It is claimed that with a measured dosage which decreases in frequency one can wear of opiates completely with Kratom. To begin with, 70mg -100mg of Mitragynine from Kratom should be taken at least 2-4 times a day for three days. On the fourth day reduce the dosage to 50mg -70mg. On the fifth day further, reduce to 30mg -50mg for each time till on the sixth day you end up using only 20mg. On the 7th day stop taking Kratom all together. Mitragynine concentrated extracts work the best for chronic pain being much easier to dose and using much smaller amounts. 


      How long does kratom stay in your system? Find out here

      Kratom Side Effects

      Some people report feeling some side effects when taking Kratom. It is very possible. People can be allergic to certain medications including aspirin, paracetamol and penicillin. The same can apply to Kratom.

      Wrong dosing or if the individual had never tried Kratom have been known to cause some of the following effects:

      – Itchiness

      – Blushing

      – Excessive sweating

      – Stomach problems

      – Nausea, Dizziness

      – Tiny pupils

      – Tremors and jitters

      It is important to take note that these side effects are minor, manageable and generally go after a couple of hours.

      Kratom Long-term Effects

      No available established report concludes any damaging effects of Kratom use. Hence, its effects, short-term, and the long-term came from first-hand testimonies and comments of users and individuals who had a fair share of Kratom experiences. Moreover, there has been no available record of deaths related to Kratom use alone, (abusive or not) contrary to media reports.

      Kratom has been used as a cultural stimulant for hundreds of years in Thailand & Malaysia with any know diverse effects or negative effects to society. Like any stimulant and often medicine, Kratom is abused by some people in these countries but overall the abuse potential of something like alcohol is way more damaging.

      However, as said, some users encounter the following long-term effects in extreme cases:

      – Loss of weight; Anorexia

      – Darkening of Skin

      Some reports also suggest that long-term effects may include Psychosis. Although this rarely happens, in extreme circumstances, and remains invalidated until now. Furthermore, available resources indicate that there are no damaging effects to body organs associated with long-term Kratom usage. 

      Effects of Different Strains

      For a complete explanation of the various names of some of the original Kratom strains or varieties check here.

      Since 2012 the amount of different “strains” appearing on the market has snowballed. Not surprisingly, the number of farmers and vendors have also snowballed and competition is rife!! New tricks are learnt, the colour changes a little and bang we have a new strain!! Not surprisingly MANY strains are VERY similar. Kratom is NOT cannabis with all of its genetically bred cultivars. No. Kratom is a TREE that grows in the wild and is only very partially cultivated. Of course, there are differences in strains, but maybe not as many as a lot of the commercial vendors try and make out.

      Stimulating strains of Kratom if taken in the correct dosage would include White vein varieties and Maeng Da Kratom.

       Kratom Vein Colour Types: Research & Analysis

      Kratom leaves can come in three different colour types. These are Red Vein, Green Vein & White Vein. Outside we can see the colour difference, inside the leaf we can see different alkaloid profiles or fingerprints. Crudely speaking we can say that the different effects that are experienced from the different types of Kratom are mainly influenced by three main alkaloids, Mitragynine, 7-Hydroxymitragynine and Speciociliatine. It is the ratio combination of the mix (if any) of these three alkaloids that produce the effects that we are all familiar with. To a lesser extent there are some differences between trees of different geographical locations with additional amounts of trace alkaloids which may very slightly creating slightly different effects due to the montage effect. This can also be seen in Full spectrum Kratom extracts.

      Generally, every Kratom Tree produces all three colours but in seasonal variations. It is not uncommon to find trees with both Red & White vein leaves growing at the same time but changing throughout the year. Most trees are predominantly one colour or another but will still show signs of all colours within the tree.

      Red Vein Kratom


      The Red Vein is known for harnessing a powerful sedation. Generally Red vein leaves have a slightly lower concentration of Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine (7-OH) and higher concentration of Speciociliatine which along with some other trace alkaloids is probably responsible for the red veins more sedative effects.

       White Vein Kratom



      White Vein varieties generally have a higher concentration of Mitragynine and 7-Hydroynmitragynine Alkaloids. White vein Kratom is well known in low doses to help alertness, and motivation and against stress and depression.

      This is a great strain for the morning.

      Green Vein Kratom

       The Green Vein is known to be the most moderate vein color type of the Kratom leaf. Green Vein tends to provide an experience of multiple effects at a medium level of strength.

      The Green Vein is thus ideal for those who do not want to focus entirely on dedicated effects that the White or Red Vein have to offer (specific effects Stimulation and Sedation respectively).

      Overall, the Green Vein provides with modest and neutrally pleasing attributes to its users.

      The Green vein type also delivers well-rounded and stable effects of nootropic enhancement and has a higher rate of compatibility amongst most of the individuals, more commonly than the White Vein.

      Green Vein Kratom is often used for social anxiety and also for recreational purposes before heading out for a night on the town. Using Green Kratom can make you more inclined to engage in socially by helping you to relax and feel comfortable in social settings as well as making you more talkative.     

       Kratom Extracts 

      Traditionally Kratom has been chewed as a fresh quid or consumed as a dry tea. The plain leaves of Kratom are generally quite effective one their own but often it is more advantageous to make a more concentrated extract. Kratom Extracts offer improved potency for more extreme conditions like ‘chronic pain’ or drug withdrawal and help to make it even more effective!

      Kratom Extracts are available in many different variety types. Each type of Kratom Extract has a specific level of potency. A lot of the extracts sold on the market are sold as 15X or 25X or sometimes even more. In most cases, it is unclear what this is referring to. It could be that they are trying to say that the extract is 15X or 25X stronger than the same weight in leaf. It could also be trying to say they it took 15KG or 25KG of plain leaf to make 1KG of the extract. Either way, very confusing and not clear. Over the last few years we have been looking at the inconsistency of the kratom industry. There are no real guidelines or units of measurement as to what the kratom is that you are buying. By measuring the Mitragynine content in kratom, we can establish a measurement system for strength & quality. Since Mitragynine is the most abundant alkaloid found in all types of kratom and responsible for most of its effects,

      Ethanol Based Kratom Extracts

      One of the most common Kratom Extracts available in the market today are Ethanol Based Extracts. Ehanol Based Extracts are usually obtained through the following procedure:


      • Ground or powdered Kratom leaves are soaked in Ethanol of hours.
      • The liquid is then strained.
      • The ethanol is thoroughly evaporated.
      • A brownish material (more richer and concentrated in Active Alkaloids than the plain leaf) is left as the residue

      The potency of the Ethanol Based Extract is determined derivatively as ‘X’ (i.e. 5X, 20X)

      In most cases, it is unclear what this is referring to. It could be that they are trying to say that the extract is 15X or 25X stronger than the same weight in leaf. It could also be trying to say they it took 15KG or 25KG of plain leaf to make 1KG of the extract. Either way, very confusing and not clear. Usually concentrations of no more than 3% to 6% Mitragynine is what you find with most of these extracts if they were tested for Mitragynine. 

      Kratom Resin

      Kratom Resin is manufactured by boiling fresh Kratom leaves for many hours in large amounts of water until it eventually all evaporates leaving only a thick resinous tar like substance.

      What is interesting is that the main active alkaloid Mitragynine is not soluble in water and so this means that there is actually not much Mitragynine in the extract. Weight by weight resin is not very strong compared to even the basic dry powder extracts. The effects are caused by an increased amount used since it is easy to dissolve in hot water thus giving some Mitragynine plus the additional effects of the combination of other alkaloids. 

      Kratom Tincture

      Kratom’s Tincture is made by diluting a Mitragynine based extract into ethanol or alcohol. It is used for a different variety of options (i.e. tropical usage).

      If manufactured qualitatively, Kratom Tincture can serve immensely effectual and soothing effects. 


      Enhanced Kratom

      Enhanced Kratom is made by taking a predetermined amount of extract and dissolving this extract in ethanol until it completely dissolves. The predetermined amount of powdered leaf is mixed into the solution with the extract until it is completely mixed up and saturated with the extract solution. Once this has been done the product is slowly evaporated and dried until there is no more ethanol left at all and all of the extract has been infused into the plain leaf.mixture solution renders an immensely rich and potent extract of the Kratom.


      The main advantage is that it is similar to a Full Spectrum extract. It is usually an easy amount to consume and can be dosed accurately.  

      The Alkaloids of Kratom

      The main reason behind the variability of effects that each type of Kratom Strain and Vein colour depicts uniquely is because of the change in the balance of the Kratom Alkaloids. Kratom leaf hosts numerous different types of Alkaloids that are naturally enriched in offering distinctive and effective medicinal attributes. The following is a brief list of some of the most popular Alkaloids present in the Kratom along with the precise details about their particular characteristic, concentration, and composition in comparison to their actual mass:

      Isomitraphylline C21H24N2O4

      : A Primary Stimulant of the Immune System and is also ani-leukemic. <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Speciogynine C23H30N2O4

      An Smooth Muscle Relaxant.

      >11% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Mitragynine C23H30N2O4

      An indole based opioid receptor agonist. It is also an Anti-tussive, Anti-diarrheal, Anti-malarial, Adrenergic and a moderate Stimulant.

      > 66% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Isomitrafoline C22H28N205 : No information available

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Corynantheidine C22H28N2O3

       Studies have shown that this compound does not show any Opioid agonistic effect at all. It binds to the μ-Opioid receptors and has been proven to have an antagonistic effect.

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Epicatechin C15H14O6

      An important alkaloid also found in the leaf of Green Tea. It is anti-mutagenic, anti-leukemic, anti-oxidant, anti-viral and anti-diabetic improving insulin sensitivity and regulating blood sugar levels. It also stimulates muscle protein synthesis and Improves brain and heart health. It Increasing nitric oxide production for improved vascularity, blood flow and endurance.

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Isorhynchophylline C22H28N2O4

       This alkaloid shows great therapeutic potential for cardiovascular and central nervous system diseases https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22406453.


      It also stimulates autophagy in neuronal cells, thereby exerting preventive and therapeutic values against neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22113202

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      7-Hydroxymitragynine C23H30N2O5

      A Terpenoid Indole Alkaloid. 7-Hydroxymitragynine is an oral analgesic and an extremely effective painkiller. It is a partial agonist at the μ-Opioid receptor and therefore causes significantly milder side effects than Morphine. It is only found in trace amounts in the leaves (about 0.004% of the weight of the dry leaf) but it has a potency of about 30 times higher than Mitragynine and 17 times higher than Morphine.

      0.01% > 0.2% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Isopteropodine C21H24N2O4

       Neuroprotective. Has immune stimulating activity. Exhibits antibacterial activity against Gram positive bacteria.

       <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

       Ciliaphylline C23H30N2O5

       An efficient anti-tussive analgesic

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Mitraphylline C21H24N2O4

      Has antiproliferative effects and is a new and promising agent in the treatment of human neuroblastoma and glioma.

      Effective Anti-inflammatory agent.

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

       Ajmalicine C21H24N2O3

      Also known as δ-yohimbine or raubasine, Ajmalicine is an antihypertensive drug used in the treatment of high blood pressure It is marked under many brand names and found in a variety of other species of plants. Like corynanthine, it acts as a α1-adrenergic receptor antagonist with preferential actions over α2-adrenergic receptors, underlying its hypotensive rather than hypertensive effects. (Wikipedia)

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Corynoxine A C22H28N2O4

      A Natural Autophagy Enhancer which may mean that is has a potential application in the prevention or treatment of Parkinson’s Disease.

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Rhynchophylline C22H28N2O4

      This is an alkaloid found in certain Uncaria species (Rubiaceae), notably Uncaria rhynchophylla[1] and Uncaria tomentosa.[2] It also occurs in the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa (kratom),[3] a tree native to Thailand. Chemically, it is related to the alkaloid mitragynine. Wikipedia. This alkaloid is a candidate for several cardiovascular and central nervous system diseases; however, few clinically relevant studies have been conducted.

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Corynoxine B C22H28N2O4

      As a Subsidiary Dopamine Stabilizer, it aids in amplifying the effects rendered by Corynoxine A

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Speciophylline C21H24N2O4

      Anti-leukemic. Not much more information.

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Speciociliatine C21H24N2O4

      One of the only studies on this alkaloid was a journal in 2004 by Hiromitsu TAKAYAMA a Professor in the Chiba University Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Speciociliatine is A C3 stereoisomer of Mitragynine and moderate Opioid Antagonist and contributes to a part of Kratom’s overall effects albeit to with lesser influence than 7-Hydroxymitrgynine.

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Tetrahydroalstonine C21H24N2O4

      An Efficient Blood sugar stabilizer and an Anti-adrenergic <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Mitrafoline C22H28N2O5

      Inactive alkaloid, no information available.

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Akuammigine C21H24N2O3

      Inactive alkaloid, no information available.

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Speciofoline C22H28N2O5

      This was an interesting study done on this alkaloid in 1963 showing that it also acts as an analgesic. It must have been effect since a patent was also made on the discovery of this by Arnold Heyworth Beckett from Bromley, England, assignor to Smith Kline & French Laboratories, Philadelphia, Pa., a corporation of Pennsylvania No Drawing. Filed Aug. 10, 1964

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Stipulatine C22H28N2O5

      Originally isolated by A.H Beckett, Calvin M. Lee and A.W. Tackie at the School of Pharmacy, Chelsea college of Science and Technology in London in 1963. Found in sporadic cases in Malaysian & Philippine trees   Structurally similar to Speciofoline.

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

      Mitraversine C22H26N2O4

      Along with Mitragynine, this alkaloid was the first Kratom alkaloid to be studied. It is also found in the leaves in Mitragyna rotundifolia.

      <1% concentration of the total alkaloid Fingerprint

       All the above values of the concentration percentages of each of Kratom’s alkaloids listed above is based on random research in scientific literature. There is a lot of between the mix of these alkaloids between different populations of Kratom trees even within the same country or geographical area. The Alkaloids that are mainly responsible for the effects from Kratom are Mitragynine, 7-Hydroxymitragynine and Speciociliatine, in that order of influence since all the others are not opioid agonists or are only found in minute trace amounts.

      Kratom Dosage 

      Making sure that the dosage is correct is often difficult considering no brands are allowed to sell for consumption or advise or claim medicinal benefits. Also since there are no regulation guidelines it means that the quality and strength of all the Kratom products on the market today are largely unknown and undocumented. This is not good for the person who is looking to benefit his health and medical condition by trying to find the correct dosage for any type of Kratom product.

      The table below attempts to show how much average quality (@1% Mitragynine by volume) plain leaf is generally used by people for the various reasons described. It also explains how much this is approximately in mg of pure Mitragynine. You can see the advantages of using either a Full Spectrum Alkaloid extract like Mitra-4 or something even purer like Mitra-7. A part from the accuracy of dosage being a pure compound it is biologically absorbed much better and produces much longer and cleaner effects. 

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