It is important to note that Kratom which is also known as Mitragyana Speciosa, belongs to coffee family and has naturally grown in Southeast Asia since time immemorial. This tree grows in many parts of this region including countries like Myanmar, Thailand, and Malasia. It also goes by the names Kratum and Ketum, and this is based on specific areas in this region where its found. The leaves of this deciduous tree have been used for medicinal purposes by natives of this region for a relatively long period of time, but in the recent past has found its way across the globe.
A mature tree will have an average height of 12-30ft and a width of 15ft. However, some can grow up to 70-ft in height. Note that while in many cases these trees are evergreen, variable factors like climatic conditions can make them look a little bit different. In a much better environment, the dark-green leaves can grow up to a total length of 7 inches. Kratom contains either red or greenish white veins, which is a unique trait of this plant. The flowers of Mitragyana Speciosa can be as long as 5 cm, but in many cases they average 3 cm. It all depends of the fertility and environment where the tree grows; and of course, variable factors like how it is catered for during the growth period.
Chemistry and chemical composition
There are well over 40 compounds in Mitragyan Speciosa, and 25 alkaloids that have been successfully been isolated from it. In 1921, mitragyinine was successfully separated leading to a breakthrough on the research that was being undertaken. It is one of the most prevalent chemical compounds found in Kratom. In year 2002, a group of motivated Japanese researchers were able to successfully separate hydroxymytraginine, and since then it is the most dominant chemical in the plant known. It also contains epacatechin, which is not only known for reducing pain and preventing development of cancerous cells, but also helps prevents arteries blockage. Epacatechin, has also been known to help regulate blood sugar levels in the body.
There are additional chemical compounds that have been scientifically proven to be contained in this plant. These include; raubasine, Corynantheidine, and also rhynchophylline. There is a significant difference in the percentage of these chemicals especially metragynine, based on where the tree grows. Those that grow naturally in the South East Asia are found to have high levels of the chemical components, compared to those that are grown in the other parts of the world. Overall, research shows that kratom can be used for medicinal purposes or combat signs and symptoms exhibited by persons suffering of different medical complications.
Kratom: Research in Medicine
There are some valuable research reports made by a number of different medical researchers that prove Kratom has medicinal chemical components. Based on traditional use of the plant, it is clear that it comes in handy in treatment of signs and symptoms of certain conditions. For instance, it is know to be effective and used as anti-depressant, anti-bacterial, and to counter anti-inflammatory effects. It is also known to have anti-oxidant capabilities, which is vital in combating diarrhea. Note that this plant has been proven to be a reliable pain killer, and for this reason its used in treatment of different maladies and ailments that fall in the same range. It has also been scientifically evaluated and proven to be muscle relaxant that can be used by persons of different age groups. However, research is still ongoing in major learning institutions and research centres to know how best it can be used as medicine.
Current Legal Status
There are many legal issues surrounding the use of Kratom both in US and other countries around the globe. This plant is not regulated by the federal government in the United States; however, and import alert was given by the FDA (Food-and-drug Administration) way back in 2014 banning importation malaysian kratom and related products. Furthermore, individual states within the US have passed bills banning the use of Kratom in one way or another. It is equally important to note that in Thailand, it’s illegal to possess the leaves of this plant. Nevertheless, there has been agitation for change of this law but nothing much has been achieved so far. Malaysia, one of the countries that Kratom grow naturally, also has stringent laws that ban the use of Kratom in any form. If found guilty of breaking this law, you will receive heavy fines and even spend some years in prison.
Overall, there has been many debates in different countries concerning legal issues surrounding the use of kratom. However, as many reports on medical research continue to be made public, there might be a change in law that will allow this plant to be used freely. Based on this reason, the use of this plant is projected to gain popularity in the near future.