Mitragyna speciosa is a tree that comes from Southeast Asia and is commonly known as Kratom. It has recently been gaining popularity in the West, with some people claiming its leaves have important health benefits.
Although scientific research is lacking, there appears to be some evidence to support these claims, as well as numerous risks that come with the consumption of Kratom tea.
Keep reading to learn more about Kratom, including its benefits and risks, as well as some alternatives.
As one study explains, Kratom is an evergreen tree from the coffee family. It is native to Southeast Asia, and is cultivated in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Kratom goes by a variety of other names, such as ketum, biak-biak, and Maeng Da.
People have used Kratom in Southeast Asia for at least 150 years. Traditionally, workers would chew on the leaves for its stimulant effect. People would also brew kratom leaves into a tea, in order to relax and relieve pain.
To this day, Southeast Asian people still use Kratom for its stimulant and pain-relieving effects. Southeast Asian people also use Kratom:
- to suppress muscle spasms
- to treat diarrhea
- as a muscle relaxant
Recently, people in the West have started consuming Kratom, with Kratom concumption growing steadily. Some people do so for medicinal reasons, whereas others use Kratom recreationally.
Learn more about Kratom here.
Although some health bloggers have suggested that Kratom tea carries health benefits, there is very little reliable scientific evidence to support such claims.
One 2017 survey suggests that Kratom use may alleviate pain, and might relieve the symptoms of mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
However, surveys are based on self-reporting. This makes them inaccurate and more easily prone to bias.
Learn more about Kratom for depression here.
Others have claimed that Kratom tea might help with symptoms of opioid withdrawal. This is because Kratom leaves contains mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, chemicals that interact with the opioid receptors in a person’s brain.
Animal studies have shown that Kratom may improve opioid tolerance in mice. However, this does not necessarily mean that similar effects would occur in humans.
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