Kratom is an herbal leaf from a tree of the Rubiaceae family. It was first documented by Pieter Korthals, a Dutch colonial botanist. Korthal gave the genus Mitragyna due to the similarity of the stigma of the plant to a bishop’s mitre.
The Mitragyna speciosa or kratom trees grow as tall as 12-30 feet and 15 ft wide. Its dark green colored leaves can grow up to 7 inches long and 4 inches wide. All throughout its flowering stage, the growing florets are completely surrounded and covered by copious overlapping bracteoles. The leaves fall or grow depending on the season. During the rainy season, the leaves grow abundantly while in the dry season, the leaves fall.
Kratom contains alkaloids including mitraphylline, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These alkaloids act as a mu-opioid receptor antagonist. Due to this function, the kratom is used as an alternative to opiates for those people suffering from opium dependence. The therapy starts at a low dosage then gradually decreasing and then finally withdrawn. Symptoms of withdrawal from kratom are milder compared to opium.
Mitragyna is also used as stimulant and depressant. It is used as a sexual enhancer to improve sexual activity. It is also used as a treatment for some illness such as diarrhea and pain. The kratom leaves are either boiled or used as a tea or chewed and smoke. It can cause calmness of mind.
Due to its effects, kratom is a controlled substance in some countries including Thailand, Australia, Bhutan, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Myanmar and Malaysia. There are some countries that are still studying the properties of the plant and its effects. Some include Kratom in their laws such as the Regulation Laws. According to Thai books, kratom is a milder substance compared to morphine and less harmful than cocaine.
Kratom is also known by the following names: Kakuam, Ithang, Thom, Ketum
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