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.