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What is Kratom? Everything You Need to Understand About this Misunderstood Plant


Kratom is rapidly gaining popularity, but it’s still relatively unknown amongst America’s herbal medicine fans. And kratom news seems to change day-by-day, with new information about its potential applications constantly evolving. 

That’s why we’ve decided to break down your most frequently asked kratom questions, including its varieties, popular consumption methods, and how you might make kratom part of your wellness routine if you feel like it’s a good fit for you! 

So keep reading if you’re interested in exploring the world of kratom. 


What is Kratom?

Let's start with the basics—where does the herb kratom come from? 

Kratom is an informal name for Mitragyna speciosa, a species of tree used in South Asian plant medicine traditions for centuries.

Although it has been traditionally enjoyed as part of religious and cultural ceremonies and as a recreational substance and medicinal plant, today, kratom is consumed chiefly as alternative medicine or an easy way to perk up or unwind.


What is the Kratom Plant?

As we mentioned above, Kratom is sourced from the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree. This tropical evergreen can grow up to 82 feet high in the right conditions and has bright yellow flowers that look like tiny fireworks. However, they aren’t the part of the tree used for traditional medicinal applications.

Instead, the usable part of the plant is the kratom leaf, which is dark green and glossy. An easy kratom drink can be brewed by submerging the leaves in hot water, or the leaves can be dried, treated, and refined to create kratom extract.


What is the Main Component of Kratom?

The main component of kratom is mitragynine, an alkaloid present within the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree that gives kratom its medicinal effects.

While mitragynine is present in the raw leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree, most medicinal kratom products will refine the leaves to obtain higher concentrations of this active ingredient.


What Does Kratom Do?

So what does kratom do to your body? What is kratom used for? Here are some of the common folk medicinal uses for Mitragynine:

  • Soothes and relaxes
  • Relieves occasional headaches
  • Reduces soreness from daily exercise or daily activities
  • Provides clarity
  • Boosts energy 


What is Kratom Tea Good For?

Kratom tea has traditionally been used to help support manual laborers in their daily routine.

For example, they would use the tea to soothe aching muscles at the end of the day and stimulate them as they perform repetitive tasks.

These days, many people are turning to kratom tea to address the modern version of similar complaints, helping themselves wind down after a long day of work or providing a little energy boost to get them through a midday slump.

How Is Kratom Consumed?

If you’re interested in exploring kratom, you have many options. But, first, let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular ways to consume this intriguing plant:

  • Tea

One of the most traditional ways to get your kratom dosage, kratom tea is made by brewing the plant’s leaves in hot water. You can purchase kratom tea bags or try loose leaf blends.

  • Drink

If you’re not a tea fan but still prefer your kratom in drinkable form, there are many other ways to experience kratom, including sodas, energy drinks, and powders you can mix with your beverage of choice.

  • Powder

We’ve said you can use powder to mix a DIY kratom drink, but what is kratom powder? The plant’s dried leaves are crushed into a fine powder, typically with nothing added or removed.

  • Extract

If you purchase kratom capsules, they may be filled with extract refined from kratom powder. The powder or leaves are boiled for a long time then strained to concentrate the alkaloids and make a more potent blend.

  • CBD

Last but not least, there’s kratom CBD. Because this one’s a little more complicated--not quite traditional kratom or traditional CBD--we need a little more room to break it down--let’s do that below:


What is Kratom CBD?

Kratom CBD has become one of the latest buzzwords in the kratom world. However, while both kratom and CBD have similar effects, they’re not the same thing. 

Unlike kratom, CBD is sourced from the hemp plant. However, there is some overlap between the two substances. Both are used to:

  • Promote deeper, more restorative sleep
  • Alleviate minor anxiety
  • Help boost mood
  • Help relieve aches and pains


What is the Difference Between Kava and Kratom?

Just like CBD and kratom, kava and kratom are often mentioned in the same breath. This is because they’re both plant medicines with similar effects--although they’re sourced from different plants.

Kava comes from the kava plant’s roots, a plant from the pepper family native to Indonesia and Fiji. 

Like Kratom, Kava is traditionally used for social consumption, herbal medicine, and spiritual practices. Other than that, the two are entirely unrelated!


How is Kratom Classified?

For the past few years, kratom’s classification has shifted within the US. The FDA initially classified it as an opioid, but these days it’s an open question. 

Is kratom bad for you? Much of the controversy surrounding kratom’s status is over this question. But is kratom safe? We believe so. This plant has been used for traditional medicinal and recreational applications for hundreds of years, and we think it can be consumed safely and effectively by modern consumers.


Is Kratom Legal? 

While the question of kratom’s legality is still in progress, there are six states where buying and consuming kratom is explicitly prohibited. 

So if you’re in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, or Wisconsin, kratom isn’t legally accessible for you.

Kratom is explicitly legal in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Utah, so you’ve got the green light if you live in those four states. 

All other states in the US don’t have explicit kratom laws, so your experience may vary depending on the laws of your city and county. But it’s always worth a Google! With kratom’s popularity quickly spreading, it may be coming soon to a state near you.



Click here to explore Kr8om’s lineup of high-quality, safe, and consistent kratom products. 


An Abridged History of Kratom in America (and More)

Here’s everything you need to know about kratom’s history and influence in the West.

Used in traditional medicine throughout Indochina and Southeast Asia for thousands of years, kratom, sourced from the Mitragyna speciosa leaf, is gaining popularity in the United States as a tool for general wellness. 

Depending on how it’s manufactured and consumed, kratom can act as a relaxant or an energizer. Today people are increasingly consuming kratom throughout much of the US. But what is kratom, and how did it get here? 

Let’s dive into the history (and more) of this fascinating plant.


How do you pronounce kratom?

Before we define kratom, we need to address the controversy surrounding its pronunciation!

Some say KRA-tom, rhyming with atom, and some say KRAY-tum, rhyming with Channing Tatum, but which pronunciation is correct? No disrespect to Magic Mike fans, but both pronunciations are correct according to the Oxford dictionary. So use whichever form feels most natural to you.


What is kratom?

Kratom’s botanical name comes from Mitragyna speciosa Korth, a tropical evergreen tree. You might find this mentioned if you search “kratom medical name.” 

So what is Mitragyna speciosa? The kratom tree can grow up to 82 feet under the right conditions and has dark green, glossy leaves, which is part of the kratom herb used for wellness. The flowers are yellow, resembling tiny fireworks, although they aren’t put to traditional medicinal use.


Is kratom part of the coffee family?

The Mitragyna speciosa tree is indeed part of the coffee family, but that doesn’t mean your morning cup of joe is similar to kratom tea. There are almost fourteen thousand species in the coffee family--some others of which have been, like botanical kratom, put to use in traditional medicine. 


Where does Kratom originate?

Kratom was most commonly cultivated and consumed throughout South Asia for many years (long before the colonial era).

There’s a long history of kratom cultivation and consumption in countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar, where kratom is considered a valuable part of traditional plant medicine. 


What is the history of kratom?

In countries where kratom grows in the wild, the kratom leaf has long been used in traditional folk medicine (as we previously mentioned). 

Since the pre-colonial period, people in many countries of South Asia and other tropical regions where the plant thrives have used the plant medicinally, either to treat specific ailments or as part of a treatment protocol recommended by a plant medicine practitioner. 


What is kratom’s traditional use?

Kratom is considered helpful for many ailments - and has been for centuries. For example, people would chew its leaves to fight off exhaustion when performing laborious or repetitive tasks. 

It was also used non-medicinally. For example, Thai kratom was used during many wellness rituals, given as a snack to receive guests and enhance spiritual traditions.


When did kratom come to the USA?

It’s hard to determine precisely when kratom arrived stateside, mainly because it occurred gradually. The first American kratom source was likely immigrants of the South Asian diaspora, who brought the plant from their countries of origin for use within their communities.

Once the legal discrimination against Asian immigrants mostly ended in 1965, kratom’s steady introduction to the United States expanded. Kratom consumption grew outside of these communities due to its energizing and relaxing reputation. 

Still, interest in kratom has grown most dramatically over the last two decades, as the plant’s popularity increased among alternative health and wellness communities across the United States.


How is kratom being consumed in the United States?

Your ability to purchase and consume kratom in the United States depends on where you live. 

States where kratom is illegal include: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin, so if you’re in any of those six states, kratom isn’t legally accessible.

While kratom laws might be slightly confusing, the herb’s popularity has continued to grow in states where it’s legal. Here’s a short-list of things people like to address with kratom:

  • Energy Regulation 
  • Restful Sleep
  • Relaxation
  • General Pain Relief 
  • Digestion Support 

While the official medical establishment hasn’t yet decreed kratom suitable as a treatment for any particular ailment, the plants’ long history within traditional medicine means that many people are interested in researching its applications for the conditions of modern life.

Kratom without compromise. 

Kr8om is ethically and sustainably sourced from the finest kratom leaves available in Southeast Asia. Our proprietary extraction method results in a premium leaf extract that is pure, potent, and performs. 

Click here to learn more.