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Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a beautiful hardwood tree native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. It is a member of the Rubiacae family along with other medicinal plants such as coffee, yohimbe and cinchona. Different species of the genus Mitragyna are found throughout tropical regions of the Old World and are used for traditionally by peoples from Africa to Asia for a variety of colorful traditional purposes.The leaves of all Mitragynine species contain a variety of indole compounds some of common in closely related taxa in the Rubiacae family and others unique to kratom. Of the compounds found only in kratom, at least two (mitragynine and 7-hydroxy-mitragynine) have been of particular importance to researchers for explaining some of kratom’s purported effects but efforts to isolate or extract them result in products with few of kratom’s unique properties.Like many other natural botanicals however, kratom’s subjective effects are probably due to the activities of many different compounds, the relative proportions of which determine the qualitative character of a particular strain. Thus the exact chemical basis of kratom’s effects are murkier than it might seem and isolated alkaloid extracts have been shown to be less effective than the raw plant. For this reason, we believe that kratom extracts fall short of the magic of plain, unaltered kratom leaf.
The characteristics of kratom leaves varies depending on age and growing conditions such as moisture and temperature. Seasonal variations are commonly observed in non equatorial locations. Genetics plays a part as well since distinct populations of kratom can differ quite dramatically from other nearby populations resulting in an amazing abundance of distinct varieties and strains with unique aromas.In it’s native South East Asia, Kratom use is widespread in Southern Thailand and is rooted in traditions that date back beyond antiquity. It is also used in other neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia as well where local traditions are as interesting and diverse as the kratom plant itself.
Throughout Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand today, fresh kratom leaves are chewed by manual laborers in order to increase endurance and motivation. Interestingly enough, though use of the plain leaf is widely tolerated, extracts and concentrates are stigmatized as being harmful especially in Thailand. In contrast to its long history in the East, kratom has only in recent years become widely available in North America. In that short time, it has managed to earn a uniquely loyal following.
(Information courtesy of wikipedia)