Kratom is a huge buzzword these days in the holistic medicinal community. Advocates have fought strongly for deregulation of Kratom while at the same time the federal government has worked to limit, regulate, and even criminalize it. With such a raging battle swirling around the legality of it, you have to wonder exactly, what is kratom and what are kratom uses?
Kratom Uses | A Brief Look
Put simply, Kratom is another name for Mitragyna Speciosa, which is a tropical tree indigenous to Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. In its native lands, Kratom has been used for centuries (with some reports saying thousands of years!) as traditional medicine, before its leaves found there way into popular consumption in the United States as an alternative to addictive (and profitable) pharmaceutical drugs.
The first official recorded mention of Kratom in Europe came in the mid-1800s, though descriptions of the leaf were observed in Dutch trading records as early as the 1600s, and had been used in Asia for thousands of years before that. While banned in Thailand, Kratom is as common to countries in which it grows as coffee is in the United States, or tea in England. And while, like coffee, Kratom can give a little boost, the similarities stop there.
What is Kratom Used For?
The DEA claims that Kratom has no medicinal uses whatsoever, and is strictly for recreational use, which is why they are fighting to ban Kratom. However, Kratom has been shown to have many medicinal benefits, and been used for centuries specifically because of its medicinal uses. Those include:
1. Mood management
Kratom is commonly used for mood management across the world. In fact, in Asian countries to which Kratom is indigenous, many locals chew the plant’s leaves to elevate mood. Sometimes, this can be construed as drug use, though there have been no confirmed overdoses from Kratom.
2. Pain management
Kratom has long been popular in Eastern medicine, but has only recently creeped into Western medicine as a holistic alternative to prescription drugs for pain management. Kratom leaves can be chewed to relieve muscular and skeletal pain. And the leaves and extract can be used to treat coughs, diarrhea, and intestinal infections, as well as being used to heal wounds and as a local anesthetic.
3. Helping opiate withdrawals
Kratom has been hailed as a miracle for many opiate addicts, ranging from prescription meds to heroin. With Kratom’s medicinal qualities for mood and pain management, and the fact that it has no addictive qualities, Kratom is a perfect candidate for helping addicts overcome their crippling dependency on addictive narcotics.
4. Boost immune system
Ongoing research is currently being done on animals, though not on humans (yet) regarding Kratom’s ability to boost immune systems. But given Kratom’s effect on individuals regarding strength and stamina, as well as its revered position in Eastern medicine, researchers are optimistic that Kratom can be a major boost to human health and immune systems, in Eastern and Western medicine, alike.
What’s next for Kratom?
Kratom is currently illegal in Australia, Myanmar, and Malaysia. Interestingly, though native to Thailand — where Kratom naturally grows — the plant has been illegal there since 1943. In fact, the Thai government actively looks for and cuts down Kratom trees.
That fact may have something to do with Kratom’s US status as the plant is experiencing its own legal battle here domestically in the United States. The DEA continues to combat Kratom’s growing recreational popularity. However, Kratom is currently classified as food, which means that the DEA doesn’t really have much say… at the moment, at least.
Just like with anything, Kratom can be abused. But the same goes for tobacco, alcohol, and prescription drugs, too. Though unlike those legal things, Kratom has no addictive properties, meaning it’s physically healthier.
Perhaps part of the backlash against Kratom is that there’s no “industry” lobbying for it. In fact, a free and unregulated Kratom industry challenges Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, AND the Alcohol industry. And that’s concerning, because those industries will throw money at trying to criminalize (or at least regulate) Kratom. But it falls to us the people to ensure that our voice are heard in the defense of Kratom. Anti-Kratom bills can be introduced at the state level, so keep an eye on your state news and let your local congressman know how important free access to Kratom is to all our well being.