Like cannabis, kratom –– a long-used natural pain relief substance found in Southeast Asia –– is believed to bring about medical breakthroughs. Some liken it to herbal valium or Tylenol, but it’s a remedy say those from the wellness fringes, that deserves more respect.
It’s quite remarkable really how cannabis or medicinal marijuana is taking over alternative and now mainstream news headlines a potential cure for all from pain relief to cancer tumor shrinkage. Ask anyone who has seen a loved one suffer from pain with little alternatives and then the after effects of opioids and you will be surely happy to welcome some new alternatives into the fray.
There are an estimated 300,000 different species of plants in the plant kingdom, and cannabis and now kratom, from the genus Mitragyna Speciosa, an evergreen tree, are just two that are making headlines away from the Burning Man playa.
Kratom comes from a leaf, much like gat, or kat, chewed in many parts of the Middle East, especially Yemen and hipsters in Tel Aviv. Kratom can be prepared in a capsule form from extracts or powder or made into a tea. Its effects are said to be mildly psychotropic, and the feeling is a general sense of well-being, not really a full blown out “trip”. Some say it’s great for boosting your mood, others say it helps them with chronic pain relief, post-traumatic stress disorder, or against depression and anxiety. It’s facing lashback from governments who claim that kratom may be as dangerous as legal opiates.
If you watch the Netflix move a Leaf of Faith, you will see how many adherents are cheering for the plant which as been used as a natural medicine in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand for centuries. There they use the leaves, chewing them to chill out or help them get through the dullness of long hours of manual labor. Maybe that’s why the Thai people are so happy?
Those who defend kratom say it is just as addictive as sugar and coffee and it should not create criminal abuse or behaviours in people.
If you manage to get some kratom in powdered leaf format, the common approach to trying it at first is toss and wash. That is prepare it with food and eat the powder along with your pasta, or make it as a tea. This method gives you the most powerful effects. If you plan on spooning bits of powder into your mouth without food, take it slow.
According to folk traditions of the Far East where kratom has been consumed like a cup of hot tea and chicken soup, it is believed to help with diarrhea, muscle cramps, coughs, infections of the intestine and more. It is credited for helping Thai workers be motivated to build up their rice paddies and develop the land. So, let’s say, a Far East shot of espresso. And in fact the kratom leaves are related botanically to coffee and the coffee plant Rubiaceae, so that’s probably the best answer as to why it works.